Bored of Elections

Big Media is exhausted. Big Media is unhappy. Big Media is grumbling.

For a while Big Media enjoyed the early campaign. They could concentrate on the exciting horse race aspect of the campaign and ignore writing about issues. Issues after all are so mind numbing. Issues can be complex, in fact they usually are complex. Issues have advocates on all sides which complain about whatever you write. Writing about issues also requires thinking up a narrative, then doing the research to support that narrative – or at least that seems to be the process our journalism schools are teaching these days.

So, our Big Media friends, for a time, were happy to trot about the country like newborn colts, writing about the presidential campaigns. Then, trouble.

It turns out campaigns are exhausting. Every day candidates like Hillary are flying from city to city, from state to state, from event to event, giving speeches and speaking with voters. Big Media gets tired, then exhausted, then whiny, then petulant, then downright angry at all this work. What to do? Solution: dig up some voters who will say the voters are tired and write about that. Problem solved.

Here is today’s contribution from the Quad City Times:

“So do you have campaign fatigue yet? If so, contact your local political reporter immediately.

The New York Times carried a story Monday featuring voters from across the country, including Iowa, who are lamenting the unprecedented early intensity of the presidential race. It’s just the latest in a string of stories and commentaries exploring the idea that “too much, too soon” is not a good thing for voters.

On the other hand, as the article also asserts, interest in the election is high. Iowans are showing up in droves for campaign events, especially enthusiastic Democrats who like their chances in November 2008. There really is a palpable sense here that the election at hand is a crucial one deserving of extra time and closer scrutiny.

So which is it, an excruciatingly long, mind-numbing march or a judicious, necessary marathon that tests the mettle of candidates who want to be the nation’s leader at a critical moment? There are good arguments on both sides.”

As the Quad City Times noted, it was the New York Times that sounded the lunch bell for reporters. Yes, Adam Nagourney’s article notes the high level of voter interest in this election. The article also notes that voters understand the importance of this election. However, let’s also understand that this is usually how Big Media begins its “bored” routine.

The “bored” routine and blame the voter syndrome is best exemplified at the New York Times by the troubled Patrick Healy. Healy, in Paris (France, not Texas), overcame his exhaustion with Iowans by interviewing Parisians. Healy, still pretends that Americans are bored with this election in general and with Hillary in particular. Oh, but those Kerry loving French, they do love that Hillary.

I left the Iowa campaign trail last Thursday and headed further east, to Paris, where I’ve definitely encountered more how’s-Hillary-doing questions than I expected – from not only friends but complete strangers, ex-pats and locals and Europeans alike.

You tell someone here that you write about Mrs. Clinton and their eyes tend to light up rather than glaze over. The seemingly epic (and epically long) 2008 presidential campaign actually gets people’s blood boiling in cafes and bars in Paris, instead of inducing Valium-like torpor that I’ve seen out and about in Manhattan. (Then again, talking about the Hugo Boss sale on the Champs Elysees can also consume real minutes.

Our apologies to the French but reporters like Healy should stay in Paris. Let them drink bottles of champs on the Champs. They can amuse the French, expats and other Europeans with tales of bored Americans. Let them misinform the continentals. But leave us alone. Americans under Bush are downtrodden enough.

Americans are not bored. We are angry.

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In Iowa, “Out of Iraq”

Update: The Quad City Times once again quotes Obama declaring about Iraq, “We’re going to have to have a residual force there.” Hopefully this will end the attacks on Hillary’s reasonable position on the matter of residual forces from Big Blog supporters of Obama. Obama should get a clue from Iowa voters, including his own suporters and stop attacking other Democratic plans to end the war. “What’s happened in the past has happened in the past,” said Mulvihill, who supports Obama but does not believe his rivals’ Iraq votes are important now. “It’s just time to move forward, to get a plan together and to bring our troops home.” Stop being desperately divisive and instead support the Hillary plan Senator Obama.
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“I’m a veteran who knows war is hell,” said Haaland, of Ames. “I die with every soldier that gets killed.”

He tried to bring a hand-written sign up to the fourth-floor event, but was stopped by campaign staff.

It said “Stop the war” on one side and on the other: “Hillary, Hillary, she’s our plan, if she can’t do it, no one can.”

The veteran’s name is Juel Haaland, who was “in tears,” according to the Des Moines Register.

Stop the War[] [Full Text of Senator Clinton’s speech is HERE.]

The Des Moines Register summarized the Out of Iraq plan as follows:

Troop withdrawal: She would direct her secretary of defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and her National Security Council to draw up a “clear, viable plan” to start bringing troops home within the first 60 days of her administration.

Care for troops: She would direct the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense to prepare a plan for “the highest quality health care and benefits” for every service member, including National Guard members and Reserves and their families. She would make sure it’s promptly funded and implemented.

Stabilize Iraq: She would focus U.S. aid on stabilizing Iraq and helping its people, “not propping up the Iraqi government.” She would support the appointment of a high-level United Nations representative to help broker peace.

Diplomatic initiative: She would pull together key allies and people from countries bordering Iraq to mediate among sectarian groups in Iraq, and convince Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Syria from getting involved in civil war in Iraq, either directly or indirectly.

Refugees: Clinton would organize a multibillion-dollar international effort to address the needs of Iraqi refugees. It would be paid for by several countries and led by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Terrorism: She would “order specialized units to engage in narrow and targeted operations” against al Qaida and other terrorist organizations in the region.

The speech was a realistic appraisal:

The catalogue of miscalculations, misjudgments, and mistakes in Iraq shocks the conscience. From the unilateral decision to rush to a preemptive war without allowing the inspectors to finish their work or waiting for diplomacy to run its course; to the failure to send enough troops or provide proper equipment for them; to the denial of a rising insurgency and the failure to adjust the military strategy; to continued support for a government unwilling to make the necessary political compromises; to the adherence to a broken policy more than four years after the invasion began.

From the unilateral decision to rush into a pre-emptive war without allowing the inspectors to finish their work or waiting for diplomacy to run its course; to the failure to send enough troops or provide proper equipment for them; to the denial of a rising insurgency and the failure to adjust the military strategy; to continued support for a government unwilling to make the necessary political compromises; to the adherence to a broken policy more than four years after the invasion began.

As a result of these failures, the next President will inherit some of the greatest foreign policy challenges in our history. Rising terrorism and extremism. Frayed alliances. And the increasingly difficult task of restoring American leadership in a world that has come to view our nation with suspicion and mistrust.

These few lines are a strong case for making Hillary the 44th President of the United States:

America needs a president with the strength and experience to end this war. I will be that president. Our brave men and women who wear the uniform of our country deserve nothing less.”

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