Comments & Curiosities: Enjoy the attacks and slant while you can

You're sad, aren't you? Be honest. You're all upset because Tuesday is Election Day and campaign season is almost over. You want the commercials and the campaign mail and the media coverage to just go on and on, don't you?

Political campaigns – you gotta love them. Yes, I know, you think it's all childish, mindless, meaningless drivel. But if you were a trained professional like me, you would realize that it is in reality childish, mindless, meaningless drivel. Worse yet, it's confusing. Don't worry.

Armed with the latest edition of the Official Certified Campaign 2010 Peter B. Election Handbook, you will never walk alone. In fact, when you walk through a storm hold your head up high, and don't be afraid of the dark. Great Rodgers and Hammerstein tune, although I never figured out why anyone would be out walking through a storm, let alone when it's dark. Where were we? Wait, I remember, the Campaign 2010 Handbook. Read it, memorize it; don't leave home without it. Seriously. This is important. The future of Newport-Mesa, the state and the nation depends on it, sort of.

"Section 1: How Do You Know Who's Telling the Truth?" I will never understand why people have such a hard time with that. It is so easy. Just read the campaign mail and listen to the commercials. Everything in them is true. It has to be. It's the law. It's not like politicians can just say outrageous things, drop sleazy innuendoes and spread distortions about each other. There are huge fines if you get caught doing that.

I find the commercials very helpful, especially in the races for governor and United States Senate. Try to watch as many of the Brown-Whitman, Boxer-Fiorina spots as you can. They are informative and uplifting, especially the spooky music and the pictures that make everyone's opponent look like a cross between Nick Nolte's mug shot and the Crypt Keeper.

I also would like to hear the phrase "big Texas oil companies" a few more times. Apparently, everything wrong in a state that is in free fall and has a $20 billion hole in its budget is caused by big Texas oil companies.

"Section 2: Local Races" This one is tougher because you don't have those excellent commercials to help you decide. You do get lots of mail though, thank God. Everything you see in the mail is true. It has to be. It's the law. Make sure you only vote for people whose mail has one or more of the following: a picture of a fire engine, with fire fighters if possible, a police car, ideally with police officer, a few senior citizens and/or kids, preferably their own, a spouse, if available, and a pretty nature scene.

Under no circumstances should you vote for anyone who doesn't promise to "protect our quality of life." That is critical. Make sure they say that. And pick someone who wants to "make our (city) (county) (state) a better place to live and work." The environment, very important, make sure they mention that because, as you know, if anyone can figure out complex problems like global warming and greenhouse gases, it's politicians. They have really good ideas, especially the ones in Sacramento. If they can get a budget done, every year, right on time, they can do anything.

And try to find candidates who are absolutely, positively against growth, development and business. Those are bad. Put people who know about things like growth and financial matters into office and pretty soon you have businesses hiring people and making a profit and it's just a mess.

"Section 3: Slate Mailers." Those are the big postcards with little pictures that suggest a "yes" or "no" vote on certain candidates and ballot measures. Those are very important. Before any candidate or proposition can be endorsed by an organization on their slate mailer, there is an intensive vetting process, which is called "writing a check." There are also strict requirements that have to be met. No one, and I mean no one, gets an endorsement until their check clears.

So there you have it. Everything you need to know about Campaign 2010, aside from the fact that what you really want is for it to be over. I know it's depressing but cheer up. The economy, or what's left of it, couldn't be any worse. Now that's a positive sign, no? Have a great Halloween and remember to vote, even though they're both scary. Boo. I gotta go.

PETER BUFFA is a former Costa Mesa mayor. His column runs Sundays. He may be reached at

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