I have a guilty pleasure of reading the daily reports on the election, monitoring which candidate said what, going to Atrios and Kos and reading the comments, and following the polls. I really think there is no difference in doing this than following sports. Listening to a sports announcer say "Mike Piazza needs to change his stance at the plate" isn’t a whole lot different than hearing Mark Shields say, "Kerry needs to stay on message."
The stakes are higher, obviously, but pundits aren’t much better than political sports commentators. They both nitpick every moment and then make broad proclamations about what will happen, which usually are wrong. But I am still enjoying the election, just like I enjoy watching baseball--although I haven’t for a while since the Mets turned to shit, again. Just like sports, it’s up and down. I see a pro-Kerry poll and I feel good about my team’s chances. I see Bush speak and I feel pessimistic again.
I’ll say it again: Kerry’s got a real uphill battle. The fact that anybody supports Bush is troubling. He's dumb, he's untrustworthy, he's chickenlike. There is some sense of inevitability about a Bush win. Kerry is not just campaigning against a candidate. He's campaigning against Wal-Mart, and sit-coms, and bloodlust. He's campaigning against ugly America itself. This may be unwinnable. Perhaps America needs to fail utterly in order to learn from its failure. Still, I hope.
Kerry can only improve and recently he has been. His main problem is Iraq and terrorism, but if at some point he lays out a cohesive and coherent plan, people will listen. One giant thing working against Kerry is that in these times of fearing death he looks like a gaunt mortician. This is not helpful. Also, he is fundamentally uninspiring. I read a quote which seems like a good thing to say, but then when I see footage of him actually saying it the message falls flat. He was much better in the convention when he joked and smiled.
I nitpick the candidates just like the pundits. I am part of the problem. I know it’s wrong but what can I do. Perhaps I should be a monk and spend all of my time focusing on more important matters, forget the TV forever, but I enjoy both sports and Presidential campaigns. I am trivial, a fraud like a newscaster.
"Remain in Light" is a good record.
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