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A vote for Oscar to clean up America

Variety editorial

The 2004 election is over. And while it’s customary for pundits to do post-mortems on the dubious merits of the Electoral College, there is one other angle that is unexplored. Hollywood can teach something about democracy to the Washington plutocrats: In the future, federal elections should be put in the hands of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

Each year, the Acad refines its regs on campaigning, in an effort to ensure a dignified season. For example, a new rule says that no ad can contain negative statements about another candidate.

There’s a sweet irony that this rule takes effect in an election year when Swift Boats got far more attention than concerns such as the economy and health care.

The “Academy Standards” booklet, issued last year, firmly states that voters “should not cast votes in categories in which they do not feel knowledgeable enough to make sound judgments.” So take that, all you undecided-until-the-last-minute voters!

In addition, PricewaterhouseCoopers has been tallying up Oscar votes for seven decades, and there’s never been a demand for a recount, never been confusion over hanging chads or charges of vote tampering. After the lamentable 2000 presidential election, which made Americans nervous and made foreigners suspicious of American democracy, it seems clear that Frank Pierson and Bruce Davis are the people to clean up the country.

And if the Acad can survive Cinea and the Screener Wars, it can get America through anything.

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