According to the latest poll, I'm tired of this presidential election. The survey of 1 registered voter, conducted by Michael Luciano Opinion Research, has a margin of error of 0.0%. The poll clearly indicates that this race is so played. Barack Obama has been in office for nearly four years. Mitt Romney has essentially been running for president since 2007 when he declared his candidacy for the 2008 election. If it seems like this campaign has been ongoing for five years, that’s because it has. I’m a political junkie, but this is too much — even for me. If politics were dope, I’d be lying motionless on the floor suffering respiratory arrest. It takes a real sicko hardcore addict to want more of this shit.
We are less than a week from the election.
At this point, I just want it over. I want my life back. I’m worn out. I am struggling to still care now that I have cast my absentee ballot.
I think most Americans feel that way. The people of Ohio and Florida are begging for a return to TV ads for male enhancement drugs and self-lubricating catheters.
Being a member of online media, this election really has taken over my life. It’s there when I wake up in the morning and read the news; it’s in the stories I assign to our writers; it’s there when I edit those stories as they come in; it’s there when I go home and my politically-minded friends and relatives talk about it on Gmail chat or over the phone; it’s there when I go to sleep at night because it haunts me in my dreams. These are not mere nightmares, mind you; they are psychotic night terrors about potential real-life horror shows like a tie in the Electoral College.
It doesn’t have to be this way. It would be one thing if the media coverage was fueled by legitimate policy discussions on federalism, financial regulation, civil liberties and so on, but it doesn’t. Instead, this insatiable media beast feeds on a seemingly never-ending supply of polls which, taken together, are completely fucking meaningless. One glance at the myriad of latest presidential polls — both national polls and those in the battleground states — over at Real Clear Politics will bear this out. Using any combination of those polls, a case can be made for a victory by either Obama or Romney. That being the case, what good is all this “information”?
Polls do little good for the public. The reason behind our obsession with them is simple to explain: they furnish quantifiable data, which is easier to process than abstract but nonetheless important stories about policy. Furthermore, they’re easier to report.
As for the election itself — this horrible, soul-crushing election — my sense is that Obama will win; not because he’s been a good president, but because electing Romney would mean that Americans will have surrendered one of the last remaining unofficial prerequisites for the presidency: a semblance of consistency. Notice that I did not say “consistency,” because speaking about consistency in American politics makes as much sense as talking about circular triangles.
Although the majority of politicians are frauds of varying degrees, Mitt Romney is the ultimate political contortionist, pretzeling himself into a slew of opposing positions over the years without so much as wincing a grimace on his stolid visage. His flip-flops are well-documented, and available for everyone to see. And yet, here Romney is, on the cusp of winning the presidency.
I predict that Americans will stick their with long-standing tradition of not electing transparent phonies into the White House. Sure the American people have elected crooks, imbeciles, and cowards into office in the past, but those knaves and poltroons stood for something — or at least they tried to make it seem as if they did. As buffoonish as George W. Bush was, you knew what he believed, however idiotic and downright harmful his beliefs may have been. It was actually admirable — in a demented sort of way.
But Romney possesses no such trait. He slides into politically expedient positions as easily as he might slip into the hot tub at one of his houses, and everyone knows it. If Romney is elected president, it will signal that not only do Americans no longer demand consistency in presidential candidates, but they no longer demand the candidates try to portray themselves as something other than shameless opportunists.