Political chatter from DC and NYC, the amNewYork way

The winter of my discontent

(Credit: Politirazzi)


By Meg

I should be happy. Back in November, when I decided to cast my lot for Obama, I remember exactly what I said next: “If he’s still on the ballot in February.” Now he’s all but locked up the nomination. And his opponent ain’t too shabby, either! At the very least, I’m pretty sure that McCain won’t be any worse than Bush (it’s a low bar, but I’ll take it). I should be thrilled.

So why am I so unhappy? Let’s start with how the media, less concerned with journalism than ratings, continues to lament that this primary is cataclysmic for the Democrats and traumatic for voters. How, oh, how will the Dems ever come together after all of this intelligent debate on important issues? How can they possibly heal from these months of free publicity?? My mother talks about how sick she is of this election in the same tone she uses to describe how sick she is of Rachael Ray’s inexplicable overexposure. She’s not the first person I’ve heard make similar comments in similar tones (about the election and about Rachael Ray). It seems to me that we’re following this election the same way we follow American Idol: Here are a few contestants — let’s race ‘em! It’s entertainment! Except that it’s not. Entertaining, certainly, but not entertainment.

There are other things that have contributed to this Jacobean moodiness of mine.

(continued) Things I read; things I heard. Voters in West Virginia told exit pollsters that race influenced their votes. A friend from my teaching days is voting for whichever candidate has the “quieter” wife. My best friend’s mother told him that her co-worker met Barack Obama and swears that he told her he’s a Muslim. In that same conversation, my best friend’s father wondered aloud whether Obama might be the Antichrist. My co-worker is voting McCain because she’s still not convinced that Iraq didn’t help orchestrate 9/11 and, as such, she doesn’t think we should withdraw our troops. During brunch last Sunday, a guy at a nearby table told his date that he always just votes for the candidate who looks like he’s going to win. My mother said that she was tired of hearing about McCain’s POW ordeal because it’s clear to her that he’s using it to get votes. Over drinks, a friend told me that he sure likes how Obama sounds when he talks but, gee, he really hasn’t “said” anything. My brother forwarded me an email comparing Hillary Clinton to a psycho ex-girlfriend that just won’t leave you alone.

On this blog, David stabbed that poor dead horse with the flag pin Obama doesn’t wear. (There are good reasons not to vote for Obama. That isn’t one of them.) Another friend told me that she won’t vote for a woman or an African American for a reason that’s too irresponsible to write down.

These are smart people. I thought we were better than this. We are, as Peggy Noonan put it, hiring the CEO of America (love that analogy, Pegs), so of course we’re asking questions. We’re just asking the wrong questions. Of course we’re thinking critically; we’re just thinking about the wrong things. Of course we’re voting our conscience; we’re just not educating ourselves enough to be able to trust what our conscience tells us.

I know, you like funny Meg more.

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