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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The endless campaign

Being on vacation means getting your news fixes, such as they are, on cable. And right now, there's only one story -- the presidential primaries.

For a political junkie, it's heartening to see so much attention paid to the most important decision Americans will be making in at least a generation. But the wall-to-wall coverage in "Situation Rooms" with a gazillion talking partisan heads leaves a lot to be desired.

For starters, if any candidate not named Clinton had lost 11 straight voter tests, would that candidate still be receiving media attention? Or would he or she have gone the way of Rudy Giuliani?

Instead, you find the week between primaries and caucuses in Texas, Ohio (Vermont and Rhode Island) saturated by total coverage of live speeches, campaign commercials and every conceivable talking point crafted by tired staff.

That includes every crackpot mouthpiece, like Cincinnati talk show host Bill Cunningham, who got his 15 minutes of fame by offering a hate-filled tirade by doing his job as warm-up man for John McCain.

The Arizona senator may have rebuked him, but it was an object lesson of how the fall campaign will be run on the Elephant side of the House. And how much conservatives still despise their likely nominee.

Meanwhile Hillary Diane Clinton and Barack Hussein Obama fight hammer and tong over the barest ground of difference with John Sidney McCain looking on and taking notes. The Democrats' difference on health care are tiny in comparison to the yawning gap between them and the GOP. But you see that informational discussion on cable?

And the experience versus change debate is just a warm up too when the opponent is a 71-year-old man with two decades of elected responsibilities (and a one-sided resume that doesn't really show any depth of interest on domestic issues).

Don't get me wrong, it's heartening to see this level of interest, particularly among younger, first time voters. It's apathy that got us in the mess we're in.

But wouldn't it be nice to be dealing with substance rather than the usual slash and burn that generates talking heads that generates well, apathy?

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