3:05 AM EDT, October 5, 2012
The entire miserable presidential election season could be summed up by CNN’s coverage of the first debate between Obomney.
In shades of yellow and green, four unremarkable years and the expectation of four more of the same were distilled by a real-time metric of color-coded independent and women voters, whose approval and disapproval were gauged in running peaks and valleys triggered by positions expressed, statements rebutted and testy exchanges.
Those yellow and green lines moved about as much as a wheezy old man on life support. Through much of the 90-minute exercise in inanity, the all-important “undecideds” likely remained undecided and unaffected by anything said.
At some point I simply closed my eyes and dreamed of Bill Clinton, drifting off into a land of rainbows and gumdrops, where presidents weren’t limited to two terms and Puritanical mores.
When I awoke, I realized I couldn’t tell who had been speaking, as Mitt and Barry’s voices and convictions merged into the singular low-frequency hum of White House white noise, with neither cutting through the insecurity of their own message — Obomney, the political version of Brangelina or TomKat, had been realized.
I don’t know if I have it in me to watch another debate; maybe if MSNBC or Fox News shows a split screen with a cockfight or elderly oil wrestling. Until that happens, I’ll pray Barry bites a chunk out of Mitt’s ear, or that Romney rolls in with the rest of the sister wives.
What was made clear from the debate is a picture that had been forming for several weeks — this will be the most passion-less presidential election ever, a place holder for better, more inspirational figures or for the emergence of a true third party that can rise above the financial bottom line necessary to compete.
Romney was aggressive while being slippery, changing long-held positions, or simply shifting focus on the fly. Obama acted like he didn’t want to be there, aloof, tired of politics and the presidency, in no particular order.
The vibe given off by Obomney clearly did not engender hope, trust or anything remotely related to excitement. How can one be excited about choosing between death by electric chair or lethal injection.
November will be about settling, about marrying the only girl or guy who would accept your invitation to the prom, the only one who didn’t gag when you moved in for a kiss. Settling is a sad state to find yourself in, but for the first time in a long time, the feeling is being shared on both sides.
This idea was first explored at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., when the electric atmosphere ignited by Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, wunderkind would-be V.P. Paul Ryan, Sen. Marco Rubio and an empty chair got the delegates and gawkers more charged up than Romney himself.
But then it happened again a week later in Charlotte, N.C., at the DNC, where President Bill Clinton slayed the crowd, making many Dems long for his good ol’ days when the U.S. was flush, when America was more dependent of Chinese takeout than Chinese cash flow, when a blue dress was a blue dress and not the Blue Dress. Clinton started the other side’s spin toward 2016, talk of President Hillary and POTUS potentials like Andrew Cuomo, Elizabeth Warren and Tim Kaine.
The point is, nobody is happy with the choices given. Democrats aren’t jazzed about Obama; Republicans aren’t comfortable with Romney; and you can’t vote for Obomney because, like unicorn meat, it doesn’t exist and is kind of offensive to think about.
Now it’s about preserving a party victory for the sake of momentum, not an individual victory for the sake of change or building something, or any of those populist terms.
Barring a snap in the space-time continuum, this could be the longest rain check in the history of American politics. If only Jules Verne were running for president, we’d at least have the time machine option.
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