Sunday, March 09, 2008

What makes us stronger

Who should select our nominee, the press or the people? It's clear that Democrats want the contest between Clinton and Obama to continue, so why should we allow the press to talk us out of it? Who benefits?

Ellen Goodman has an idea about why the press want this over, she thinks it's a fatigue factor. Press people who are as "weary" as the two candidates want this to come to an end. I think there is another factor at play as well. It's cutting into the mainstream media's bottom line. Flying reporters around the country, setting up satellite feeds from various cities is costing them money.

Think about it for a minute. I believe one of the reasons we don't really have "investigative reporting" in this country is because the MSM don't want to pay for it. It's easier to park a camera crew outside Britney's house, than to track down a REAL news story.

The media want this over because it's costing them money. My answer to that is: "tough."

And while I will acknowledge that it has caused some hard feelings, the campaign is also putting to rest some important issues. Namely, are we as a nation ready for a woman or African American president.

Ellen Goodman has more on all this in the Boston Globe:

In the end, the most memorable line of the primary season may belong to Bill Clinton. He told a church group last month: "I've been waiting all my life to vote for an African-American president. I've been waiting all my life to vote for a woman for president. . . . I feel like God is playing games with our heads and our hearts." [Acknowledging the concerns] ... allow me to offer the contrarian view that "playing with our heads and hearts" has been a good thing, and that the primary campaign may strengthen, not weaken the party's chances.

For openers, it's the "embeds" - the traveling press who look as weary as the candidates - and the party honchos who want it over. Two-thirds of the polled Democrats think it should go on.

A good part of the energy and excitement of this campaign comes - still - from having a woman and an African-American on the ballot. So far, Clinton and Obama have brought more voters to the polls than any primary campaign in recent memory.

A full 59 percent of the Ohio voters were women this year, up seven points from 2004. In Texas they were 57 percent, up four points. Obama engages younger voters. In Ohio alone there was a 10 percent increase in the under-30 vote compared with 2000. If it's good for Ohio, why not Pennsylvania? Indiana? [...]

We've put to rest the question of whether a woman is tough enough to be commander in chief. Clinton has been the tough guy in the race. Win, lose or draw, she has rewritten the common wisdom.

It's also put to rest the question of whether white Americans would vote for an African-American. In the whitest of states, such as Iowa and Vermont, Obama left the bias about bias in tatters. [...]

So to any Democrat in high gloom over an extended fight, take a deep breath. Then watch a rerun of the designated opponent, John McCain, giving his joyless victory speech on Tuesday night. There are many things worse than an extended race between history or herstory. You could, for example, get a Rose Garden endorsement from George W. Bush.
I've talked with friends in my home state of Indiana who are thrilled to get to be part of this decision. Let's play this out to the end, and not allow the MSM or party operatives to stop the process.

h/t to SueJ


John J. said...

I agree with most of this post, but I don't think the MSM is trying to pull this to a close at all. This is the easiest story they have had to cover in years. And the costs of flying teams around to the various campaign events (note that you see far less coverage of every one) is more than made up for in campaign dollars flowing in as ad revenue.

I think the general populace is getting tired of the wall to wall Clinton/Obama coverage - lord knows I'm starting to, and I am a political wonk. This campaign has gone on for one year and two months, longer than any previous presidential run, and most people are tired of presidential politics after the first month - August/September.

The problem is, it has become a catch-22. The longer the campaigns go on (especially with the "kitchen sink" tactics lately) the more people feel ostracized/insulted by the other campaign, weakening our overall unity in November. But if the campaigns call it off early the supporters of the candidate not chosen will feel left out and may not show up...

Nothing is ever easy...

mwb said...

I think there is definitely a problem with the media setting artificial time tables.

It's like the stories about a bitterly divided Democratic party. Yes there is a small vocal and often annoying segment of the on-line community that is practically rabid.

But national polls show nearly 3/4 of Dems can comfortably support either Clinton or Obama if they were the nominee. Sure they may prefer one or the other but not blindly and exclusively like it sounds in the prism of the on-line community.

dguzman said...

I've read a few autobiographies by people like Dan Rather, Ted Koppel, James Reston, etc. (sick fascination, I guess!), and all of them discuss the swiftly approaching end to true investigative reporting and the rise of the "expert" (who really knows nothing) in order to cut costs. That's what our corporate-owned media gives a shit about--money, not truth or facts or being the watchdog of democracy.

BAC said...

MWB and Dguzman -- I agree.