Dullest Campaign Ever

In David Brooks’s column in the New York Times today, he rattles off 10 reasons why this presidential campaign is so incredibly boring. He rightfully scolds Mitt Romney for running “the closest thing to  a policy-free race as any candidate in my lifetime” and criticizes President Obama’s proposals as “small and medium-size retreads.” I disagree with Brooks’s description of the President’s proposals – does he really consider the American Jobs Act small?

But I also think the reason he considers these ideas retreads is that Obama has been in office for four years. He hasn’t been keeping a secret agenda from the American public just to unveil it on the campaign trail. In addition, Democrats have been pushing many of the ideas he supports for years. Policy experts and the media have thoroughly dissected every policy proposal. There isn’t anything new to report.

And even if Romney did reveal which policies he supports, the media would only be able to do so much with it. In all likelihood, those policies would be conservative retreads as well.

But Brooks makes another point that I think is more important:

[T]echnology is making campaigns dumber. BlackBerrys and iPhones mean that campaigns can respond to their opponents minute by minute and hour by hour. The campaigns get lost in tit-for-tat minutiae that nobody outside the bubble cares about. Meanwhile, use of the Internet means that Web videos overshadow candidate speeches and appearances. Video replaces verbal. Tactics eclipse vision.

This is 100 percent true and it’s sad, as I’m not sure there’s much that will change either. If the media collectively decided to ignore the gaffes that attract viewers, then maybe we could break out of this technology-driven monotony. But the majority of viewers are strongly split between Obama and Romney. They want to see passionate  speeches from the candidate they support and gaffes from the candidate they don’t. They don’t want to see wonky, policy speeches. So if a media station decides to focus on policy over gaffes (ala The Newsroom), it’s just going to see viewership decrease (ala The Newsroom). Welcome to presidential campaigns in the 21st century!

Why I Am Sick of Brett Favre

This post isn’t really against Brett Favre, but it is more against the insane media coverage that hangs on every crazy rumor coming from Favre’s camp. I’m sick of the saga, of the endless waiting, of the rumors and lies. Favre stated that he was done playing football after the 2006 season. During that off season, the media spent countless hours speculating on whether Favre was actually done. They followed his every move and continued to try to predict his final decision. This dragged on for months as Favre continued to make up his mind. Why do we need to spend every waking second obsessing over a player’s decision to retire or to continue playing. Is it going to make him decide faster? Doubtful. Maybe it will influence his decision. Once again, doubtful. And that was just the 2006 off season.

Not that surprisingly, Favre chose to play in 2007. It took months for him to make up his mind, but I would expect nothing less from an NFL great on the brink of retirement. It can’t be easy for Favre to stop playing a sport that he loves and I understand that the decision must be agonizing. He can’t just make it in a day, a week, or a month. He’s not going to know in January how his body is going to feel in September. How can he make a proper decision without seeing how his body and how his mind reacts to a couple of months off. He absolutely should be able to and is able to take an entire off season to decide his future, but does the media coverage need to be so relentless? Continue reading “Why I Am Sick of Brett Favre”