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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

When will they ever learn?

Jeepers, Mitt Romney has a 3-1 lead over his nearest rival in New Hampshire but Michele Bachmann is rising fast! Yes, silly season is back.

If you took a poll of most Americans -- that would be the ones who actually answer their landlines when "unknown" callers pop up -- you would likely discover that an overwhelming majority don't know or care who Herman Cain or Jon Huntsman is, let alone care.

But here we are with yet another early New Hampshire poll, showing Romney, who led Massachusetts for two years (out of four) and has a house at Winnipesaukee, holds a commanding lead over a field of names.

Bachmann's 8-point surge (!) -- all the way to 11 percent -- probably has nothing to do with the fact she formally announced her candidacy in Iowa on Monday after sparring with Chris Wallace on Sunday, all while the poll was in the field. Does it?

Yet the answers of 400 "likely voters" in New Hampshire's Republican primary next winter are having their thoughts rebound around the insular political journalism community as if they mattered.

Forgive them for they know not what they do. As a recovering political reporter myself, I know that polls are like crack cocaine -- highly addictive and bad for you.

And while I'm on bad analogies, polls, gaffes and scandals are the Chinese food of political journalism: satisfying for awhile but quickly leaving you hungry for more. And filling you up so you don't have room for serious topics like how a party can oppose all taxes, demand cuts everywhere except the military and keep a straight face.

Thankfully our political press corps is being sated on polls and gaffes aplenty and won't need to worry about policy stories for awhile.

As for the rest of us, we'll just have to figure out on our own what the Paul Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it really means. Then again, we weren't going to learn it from the political press corps anyway.

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