Opinion Extra

Ann McFeatters: We’re not ready for silly season

The silly season is coming, and we’re not ready.

First of all, we didn’t get a long enough spring. It went from 50 to 90 degrees far too fast, even though the official start of summer is weeks away. But it also snowed 10 inches on Mother’s Day in South Dakota. What’s up with that?

But the real reason we tremble is the bevy of candidates coming our way. Really, we are not ready. This is such a busy time of year, what with graduations, weddings, reunions, school plays, concerts, finals and sports tournaments for 8-year-olds, but we have to take time to think about businesswoman Carly Fiorina, surgeon Ben Carson and preacher Mike Huckabee.

They won’t become president, but they might get into debates. Then we’ll have to listen to them explain why the fact that they are not from Washington and actually hate Washington makes them perfect to run (ruin?) the Washington bureaucracy.

We’re not ready to listen to months of speculation about what Bill Clinton would do if Hillary gets elected. Continue hobnobbing with international poohbahs? Have an office in the East Wing? The West Wing? Serve in Hillary’s shadow cabinet? Run it? Stand in for her on speeches? Take over Michelle Obama’s role scolding us to eat more fruits and vegetables since he has lost weight and is now very health conscious? Make diplomatic trips on her behalf? Give her foot rubs? Finally receive the elusive Nobel Peace Prize that was handed to Al Gore and Barack Obama? All of the above?

We’re not ready for endless bouts of advice for President Obama on how to burnish his legacy. With foreign leaders such as the Saudi king running away from U.S. diplomatic overtures and the Israeli government openly hostile, Obama is still desperate to get a nuclear deal with Iran, make a breakthrough in the turbulent Middle East, dismantle the Islamic State, expand trade, revamp the broken immigration system, restore the middle class, give hope to the poor, combat global climate change, prevent Obamacare from being dismantled, get his presidential library funded and make certain his daughters get into great colleges. What he calls his bucket list.

We’re not ready for regular rollouts of Texas angst. We’re still open-mouthed that some folks (thousands!) and even presidential candidates actually think U.S. military war exercises in Southwest states, including Arizona and Texas, dubbed Jade Helm 15, are a subversive effort to impose martial law. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the Texas state militia to monitor the eight-week, long-planned exercises. Sen. Ted Cruz, another Texas Republican who wants to be an anti-Washington president, is demanding explanations from the Pentagon over speculation that Special Forces want to take over Texas.

Even John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee and no fan of Obama, noting that military exercises have occurred in the Southwest for 200 years because of terrain similar to hot spots around the world, ridiculed the concerns as “bizarre.” Why would the military even care about seizing Texas? Most Americans spend almost no time thinking about Texas except for its unpredictable weather. Oh yes, former Gov. Rick (“oops”) Perry wants to be president. He’s the one who pondered having Texas secede from the union, but even he said Texas is safe from the military.

We’re not ready for a whole new late-night lineup, where we have to stay up past our bedtimes to see 20-some GOP candidates and Hillary perform charades or lip sync with Jimmy Fallon, stumble over the new pronunciation of Stephen Colbert’s name, try to ignore Chelsea Handler’s risque comments, banter with Jimmy Kimmel, wonder what Trevor Noah is talking about and pretend to laugh at Conan O’Brien’s jokes.

(Late-night TV officially became as much a part of the presidential campaign process as the debates when, in 1992, Bill Clinton played a saxophone solo for late-night host Arsenio Hall.)

Would that we could all just go to the beach and worry about global warming.

Contact Ms. McFeatters at amcfeatters@nationalpress.com.

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