Some Days I Hate Politics

Today is one of them, and mostly because it's fraught with nonsense about what one person said or what another one didn't say, who signed what and how loudly the noise machine can amplify it.

For example, David Plouffe didn't say the unemployment rate wouldn't determine the outcome of the 2012 election. This is what he said:

I would make a general statement, though, because there is a lot of attention focused on the unemployment rate. The average American does not view the economy through the prism of GDP or unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers.

In fact, those terms very rarely pass their lips. So it’s a very one-dimensional view. They view the economy through their own personal prism. You see, people’s — people’s attitude towards their own personal financial situation has actually improved over time. You know, they’re still concerned about the long-term economic future of the country, but it’s things like “My sister was unemployed for six months and was living in my basement and now she has a job.”

There’s a — a “help wanted” sign. You know, the local diner was a little busier this week. Home Depot was a little busier. These are the ways people talk about the economy. They don’t talk about it in the terms of Washington.

And so their decision next year will be based upon two things, okay, how do I feel about things right now, and then, ultimately, campaigns are always much more about the future, and who do I think has got the best idea, the best vision for where to take the country?

I would submit to you that a healthy percentage of Americans, far more than a majority, believe the president has a very sound vision for where the country needs to go.

So, you know, people won’t vote based on the unemployment rate. They’re gonna vote based on, “How do I feel about my own situation? Do I believe the president makes decisions based on me and my family?”

But of course, Mitt Romney jumped on it right out of the gate and said Plouffe should have been summarily fired for such a thing. It's all bluster, posturing, and playing to the base and it gets old and boring because it's fundamentally dishonest.

By comparison, however, we have Michele Bachmann signing virulently anti-gay statements while saying outright that she hopes the high jobless rate helps her get elected. Because this is what it all is for these Republicans. Politics. Never mind that the unemployment rate can be directly linked to the loss of public sector jobs. Michele Bachmann doesn't care, because she wants high unemployment to work for her politically in order to get elected.

I hate it. I hate that the media never calls these people out on their cynical, self-serving, made-for-TV hissy fits, I hate the distraction it creates, I hate the way gossip turns to truth and I hate the way it causes people to just disengage entirely from the process. Most people get tired of constantly having to filter the magnified crap out there to try and discern the truth, and so they just tune out entirely. Republicans count on that, hoping that if they just reinforce key messages they will win. Death panels. High Unemployment, etc. becomes a three-word slogan instead of reality. And god forbid there's anything like nuance involved, because the media won't decode it and the Republicans will run sixty zillion ads magnifying it.

Grrrr. Happy Friday.

PS: It's not just here. This is a stellar example of how ridiculous the media is here and abroad. This isn't a joke, but where is the interviewer looking this guy in the eye and telling him to lose the prepared sound bite and answer the damned question?

[h/t Andrew Sullivan]


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