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by Doug McIntyre | Los Angeles I spent a couple of hours watching Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain talk with the Rev. Rick Warren on my television. I just got one of those giganto flat-screen HD TVs and it's taken over my life. I'm watching anything as long as it's HD. The other night, I spent an hour on some kind of miracle cure for an ailment I don't even have. I watched some of the Olympics; I watched a lot of baseball. I watched a couple of Mexican car-dealership infomercials because the girls had an endowment bigger than USC's and ... do I really need a second reason? I watched B-list celebrities milking the last 10 seconds out of the fame-teat and a cheaply shot commercial for a Persian restaurant not far from my house, which means I may have to move. So I guess it was inevitable I would stumble upon Obama and McCain. To be honest, I liked Obama and McCain more with Rick Warren than I've ever liked them with Wolf Blitzer or Fox or MSNBC. They seemed human, more real, even though they're politicians; which means they're not actually real. As a rule, politicians are human-like substances, sort of Cheez Whiz in pants. But as politicians go, I find Obama and McCain to be reasonably human, which is a step in the right direction for America, and would represent a quantum leap for Los Angeles. I defy anyone to remember the theme of any current L.A. officeholder's most recent campaign. Change? Hope? Destiny? Hygiene? Anything? Obama and McCain are both running as catalysts of change. When the "in" party has approval ratings lower than LAUSD graduation rates, bring on change! Hence, it's change, change, change! Hope in every pot with two aphorisms in every solar-powered garage! I have no idea who will be our next president, and even less idea if they'll actually do any of the things they're talking about, but I believe the thirst for someone to believe in is real. I'm envious of those of you who have been energized by the Obama candidacy. I've lost the capacity to invest emotionally in candidates. I'd now gleefully vote for simple honesty and competence - period. I no longer dream of some miracle hybrid savior - Winston Churchill meets George Washington meets Gandhi. Now I'm thrilled if we avoid George W. Bush meets Antonio Villaraigosa meets Randy "Duke" Cunningham. While the big boys running for president still speak of noble goals, the local crowd doesn't even pretend. They don't have to. Ironic, isn't it? We don't know who will be the next president, but we know who's going to win every City Council seat, every Assembly seat, and every state Senate race. There's a bumper sticker that encourages us to "Think globally, act locally." We've failed utterly, abandoning L.A. to unions, developers and the three C's: crooks, crackpots and cowards. We did this. We walked away from civic involvement and left L.A. at the mercy of political slumlords who neglect the basics while serving their moneyed masters. As voters, we continue to reward a one-party system that's metastasized into a cancer on the body politic. There is a cure. It's called elections. More accurately, legitimate elections - elections that offer actual choice. Actual choice requires actual candidates who represent genuine change rather than the status quo with a new necktie. It's asking a lot, but until we have citizen statesmen challenge the calcified incumbency, local elections will continue to recycle the same gaggle of incumbents who have authored national embarrassments like the LAUSD dropout rate, gang murders, homeowners treated like ATM machines, and a council so contemptuous of the public, it left citizens waiting four hours while saluting fellow crony Fabian Nu ez for his years of great and good service. If Nu ez was so terrific, why is California in crisis? Wasn't he speaker of the Assembly? If Tony V and the rest of the Spring Street crowd are competent, why are we issued a dire warning du jour? L.A.'s one-party system has produced a government of perpetual shortages, deficits and blue-ribbon task forces that solve nothing. In the absence of candidates who represent real change, we're doomed to more of the same, squared. Run for your lives, ladies and gentlemen. If you've ever had an inkling of elective office, any office, run for the life of Los Angeles. CRO first appeared at L.A. Daily News copyright 2008 Doug McIntyre

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