Something for Mick’s late night panel to consider, perhaps… The Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, had a reasonably successful convention in Tampa by most accounts, and has followed up by stealing a march on the current president. But I’d tend to agree with most of Glenn Greenwald’s take on the US presidential election process. [If not the sub-editor’s? – Ed] Indeed. From Glenn Greenwald’s Comment is Free post
But mocking CNN is to pick low-hanging fruit. The real issue is that CNN’s vapid fixation on the dreaminess of our political leaders and “their beautiful families” dominates political discourse generally, especially during the nation’s presidential election cycle, which drags on for a seemingly interminable 18 months – more than one third of the president’s term – and drowns out virtually all other political issues.
The reason I write so little about the presidential election is that it’s the ultimate expression of the CNN-ization of American politics: a tawdry, uber-contrived reality show that has less to do with political reality than the average rant one hears at any randomly chosen corner bar or family dinner. That does not mean the outcome is irrelevant, only that the process is suffocatingly dumb and deceitful, generating the desire to turn away and hope that it’s over as quickly as possible.
I happened to be traveling last month and was involuntarily subjected to a television showing President Obama speaking in Maumee, Ohio as part of his “Betting on America” campaign bus tour. He was wearing a regular-guy plaid short-sleeved shirt, and speaking (literally) in front of a house draped with a huge American flag and framed by a white picket fence. The “Betting on America” sign was printed in a font of vintage 1950s Americana. I recall marveling at the level of sheer cynicism one must wield in order to be a successful American campaign consultant.
It was with good reason that the advertising industry chose the 2008 Obama campaign as the recipient of its most prestigious awards, including Marketer of the Year and various advertising honors. The brand – Obama – was expertly crafted and packaged.
Strong and rational though it may be, the temptation to ignore entirely the election year spectacle should be resisted. Despite its shallow and manipulative qualities – or, more accurately, because of them – this process has some serious repercussions for American political life.
Read the whole thing.