Mid-Campaign Malaise

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I write about the stupidity of Blackberry politics, the AP writes about two candidates failing the authenticity contest, Jay Newton-Small has a piece today about how Obama may be acting like the “typical politician” he rails against. Now Dan Balz weighs in on the same theme, also hoping for better:

Gone in the early stages of this campaign is any sense of the uniqueness of the two nominees. McCain is certainly no garden-variety Republican and the historic possibilities of Obama’s candidacy cannot be overstated. But those realities have been submerged beneath a tactical shouting match that feeds the cable culture of contemporary politics. Don’t blame the media for this. The campaigns have deliberately adopted postures of hyper-aggressiveness to set the early tone. The testosterone levels appear extremely high. No charge however small or incidental can go unanswered. No proposal, no matter how innocuous or provocative, can be discussed calmly or intelligently. . . .

It is difficult to believe that Americans are enjoying all this — or even paying close attention to it. The attack-counterattack cycle is so quick that only the most devoted of political aficionados can keep up, and the tone is so relentlessly critical that only the most partisan will applaud it. . . .

The two candidates have the capacity to elevate their contest. Perhaps there will be town hall meetings or other forums before the conventions that will set them on a different course, although the idea is languishing for now. On a host of issues, the differences between the candidates are profound and should provoke a vigorous debate. Both candidates once promised that such a debate would be civil and respectful. But right now the presidential campaign appears to be more a rerun of the kind of polarized battles of the recent past than something that heralds something new.

Well said, me thinks.