In his July 30 New York Times article, columnist David Brooks quotes Peggy Noonan and agrees with her when she says about this year’s presidential election: “It’s incredibly consequential and incredibly boring all at the same time.”
Brooks gives the following reasons why he concurs with this observation:
- Intellectual stagnation: “…our big government/ small government debate is back where it was a generation ago. Candidates don’t even have to rehearse the arguments anymore; they just find the gaffes that will help them pin their opponent to the standard bogyman clichés.”
- Lack of any hint of intellectual innovation: “…the ideological climate has ossified. Candidates know that they’d be punished for saying something unexpected — by the rich, elderly donors and by the hyperorthodox talk-show hosts. Instead of saying something new, now they just try to boost turnout within their own demographic niches and suppress turnout in the other guy’s niches.”
- Increased focus on the uninformed: “The prevailing view is that anybody who would pay attention to such a speech is already committed to a candidate. It’s more efficient to focus on the undecided voters, who don’t really follow politics or the news.”
- Lack of serious policy proposals: “President Obama’s proposals are small and medium-size retreads, while Mitt Romney has run the closest thing to a policy-free race as any candidate in my lifetime.”
- Negative passion: “Both parties are driven more by hatred than by love. Both sides feel it would be a disaster for the country if the other side had power during the next four years. Neither side is propelled by much positive enthusiasm for their own side.”
- No enactment strategy: “To avert catastrophe, the next president will have to rally bipartisan majorities around a budget deal and many other things. That will require personal and relationship skills neither has demonstrated.”
- Ad budget myopia: “Both campaigns fervently believe that more spending leads to more votes.”
- Technology is making campaigns dumber: “The campaigns get lost in tit-for-tat minutiae that nobody outside the bubble cares about.”
- Dishonesty numbs: “It’s impossible to take ads seriously. They are the jackhammer noise in the background of life.”
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Friends, that’s about as accurate as it gets. The only thing I’m getting from either party these days is why I should hate the other party. Would somebody please give me some good, positive reasons to vote FOR one or the other?
Where’s the leadership? The vision? The ideas? The proposals? The kind of character and relational skill that wins our hearts and minds?
A plague on both their houses. At this point, I’m seriously considering sitting it out and filing this election under “Same Old Bull****.” Don’t blame us for being cynical when this is what you offer the American people.