Two months. 32 days. A little less than 800 hours. That’s all we have left of this latest presidential campaign. And the left, the right, the center and the outsiders all seem to be sick of it.
The main reporting crew definitely is. Many have expressed depression at dealing with these two candidates and their respective posses. Mark Leibovich of the New York Times Magazine spoke of the joylessness of this current grinding campaign, lamenting “how am I ever going to get through it?” Walter Shapiro of Yahoo News decreed that this go around is much worse than before, a lack of enthusiasm on all sides.
The problem, it seems, is that in the world of spin, candidates are much more guarded with the press. Everything is pre-planned with as little actual policy statements. As Dylan Byers of Politico wrote, “both campaigns have decided to run out the clock with limited press avails, distractions, and negative attacks, rather than run confident campaigns.”
It certainly does feel like that. Obviously taking out one’s own personal politics, 2008 was pretty amazing. The inspiration of Barack Obama’s campaign was matched by the zeal of an unknown like Sarah Palin on the Republican ticket. Back in 2000, John McCain ran the “Straight Talk Express” where he rode the buses with reporters, giving them juicy tidbits they could have never dreamed of before. Something like that would never happen today.
What we have now is a president who is not very popular against an opponent who has been around the block before. He gives us no zip or flavor. Sure, there are interesting side stores such as rapper Nicki Minaj expressing her support for Mitt Romney in song or Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair. But for the most part, this is not the fun, frolicking time that we remember.
Candidates need to be more confident in themselves, less prone to tearing the other side apart and more adept at convincing the middle why their ideas are best. By the way, where are those ideas?
Forgive us if on Nov. 6, we check the numbers once or twice and then find out what we rented from Redbox. Sounds like more fun than the alternative.