Generally Awful

image of Mitt Romney standing at a podium in front of a backdrop with Oklahoma Republicans logos all over it, to which I have added a dialogue bubble reading: 'First of all, let me say it's real nice to be with you all here today in Arkansas.'

GOOD MORNING! (Or whatever!) Please tell me with the ardent passion that this election deserves that you are still maintaining maximum enthusiasm for all the goings-on leading up to November! Like: Mitt Romney being terrible! [applause] And: President Barack Obama being less terrible! [cheers and applause] Also: Whoever Mitt Romney's white dude sidekick running mate will be! [laughter] Thrills and chills, y'all! Thrills. And. Chills. [standing ovation]

For those of you who haven't previously followed a US presidential election in any sort of detail, let me tell you where we are in the campaign: Yawntown. Both candidates have been effectively (if not officially) chosen. Everyone knows pretty much exactly who they are. (Hopey McChangey is all: "Forward!" and Lord Roboto is all: "Gleep glorp money!") And, basically, we could all save ourselves a lot of time and money by letting them shake hands on national television and then STFU until a week before the election, because very few voters are going to fundamentally change their minds about which candidate will get their votes, and generally what decisions are made late in the game are not about the individual candidates as much as they are about individual voters' personal circumstances.

BUT! Ha ha BUT! The US is a nation with a for-profit private media and fully one million 24-hour cable news channels, all of which need to fill airtime. So no one is taking any naps and we're all going to obsessively talk about polls that won't matter for six months and ad hominem attacks by surrogates and a bunch of other stupid, irrelevant, and frequently juvenile bullshit to fill in the void where serious policy analysis would be if the only meaningful difference between the two parties anymore weren't their position on whether people other than straight white cis able-bodied US-born wealthy men with fancy bootstraps collections are fully autonomous rights-bearing human beings.

(Republicans: NO! Democrats: Yes?)

Also: There is lots of free speech incentive in virtually every direction—politicians, strategists, lobbyists, corporations, but not voters—to obfuscate the full extent to which money now influences elections.

"Pay no attention to the stacks of cash behind the illusion of democracy!"—That is a quote from my favorite film, The Wizard of Ugh.

The other thing is that the entirety of Washington D.C. (by which I mean the rich white assholes who run the place, and not the poor brown people who actually live in the actual city which is their actual home) goes on vacation for, like, the whole summer. And so does most of the mainstream media. Because nothing says professional rejuvenation like watching David Brooks play so many pranks on Saxby Chambliss in the Hamptons, or whatever.

So summertime in the US brings political news like, "Look at all these fucking sharks!" True Story: The summer of 2001 saw so many stories about shark attacks, shark near-attacks, and shark sightings on cable news that everyone was laughing and pointing at the cable news and calling it The Summer of the Shark. (I'm pretty sure Nero composed CNN's shark segment opening jingle.) Then some people blew up some buildings in New York. And that was the end of Shark Summer.

But not philosophically. We still act like important news only happens when the kids are in school, or something. So whatever important election-related news there might be over the next few months will probably be eaten by a shark.

So to speak.

All of which conspires to create a lull in the election which will last pretty much until Labor Day, with brief interludes of "OOH SHINY!" during each of the conventions, in late summer. And there will be a flurry of "walla walla" when Romney announces his new BFF. But otherwise it's gonna be a lot of:

Obama Campaign Does Damage Control After Dems Question Anti-Bain Strategy.

Talking About Jeremiah Wright Is the Wrong Way to Beat Obama.

Poll: Obama, Romney in Dead Heat on Economy.

This guy! That guy! Poll. This guy! That guy! Poll. This guy! That guy! Poll.

And I will bring you news about This Guy! and news about That Guy! and maybe even mention the occasional poll. And you will DEFINITELY get pictures of Mitt Romney standing in front of so many things! But in the next few months, it's gonna get grim, news-wise. I'm just saying.

We can only hope that Foster Friess says something soon.

Talk about these things! Or don't. Whatever makes you happy. Life is short.

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