Matt Taibbi on the 2012 election: Two calculating centrists, fighting for the right to serve as figurehead atop a bloated state apparatus
Matt Taibbi has an excellent post on the 2012 presidential election, focusing on how boring and apathy-producing it is, particularly compared to the 2008 election, and how this threatens to undermine one of the prime purposes of American elections — distracting citizens’ attention from what is actually being done:
Meanwhile, Obama has turned out to represent continuity with the Bush administration on a range of key issues, from torture to rendition to economic deregulation. Obama is doing things with extralegal drone strikes that would have liberals marching in the streets if they’d been done by Bush. . . .In other words, Obama versus McCain actually felt like a clash of ideological opposites. But Obama and Romney feels like a contest between two calculating centrists, fighting for the right to serve as figurehead atop a bloated state apparatus that will operate according to the same demented imperial logic irrespective of who wins the White House.Then there’s one more thing – Obama versus Romney is the worst reality show on TV since the Tila Tequila days. The characters are terrible, there’s no suspense, and the biggest thing is, it lacks both spontaneity and a gross-out factor. In Reality TV, if you don’t have really sexy half-naked young people scheming against each other over campfires in the Cook Islands, you need to have grown men eating millipedes or chicks in bikinis drinking donkey semen. And if you don’t have that, you really need Sarah Palin.This race has none of that. . . . The presidential race is always a great illusion, designed to distract people from the more hardcore politics in this country, the minutiae of trade and tax and monetary policy that’s too boring to cover. When the presidential race is a bad show, people might not have any choice but to pay attention to those other things. And this year’s version is the worst show in memory. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.
Digby dissents from that last point on the ground that political strategists and media mavens are adept at keeping interest levels high by manufacturing the appearance of meaningful conflicts: “It’s like one of those Housewife reality shows where everyone is obscenely wealthy and they create phony feuds and stage screaming fights and then magically become bffs the next season. It’s kind of a trainwreck that you can’t keep your eyes off of at first, but then you just end up falling asleep in front of the TV.”
and, lest we forget, this incredibly shallow, superficial reality show has been pushing its way onto our television screens and nagging us from every conceivable media outlet for the past 18+ months... beam me up, scotty...
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