9.11.2004

Politics etc…

Political speech is by its nature boring. The role of any political speech is to promise that everyone will be fathappyrichandsafe under your watch and that the contra is true for your opponents administration. That’s it. There is no time for specifics in a politicians election stump speech. Promise. Attack. Meet and greet. Repeat.

This, if you can’t figure it out on your own, is numbingly boring. Once we’ve heard the promise and the attack one time we are done. And really the only interesting thing that they could possibly say would be stylistic, not substantive. Substantively it’s always the same. It has to be; I’m good and the other guy sucks ass and shouldn’t be trusted to sweep up at a tattoo parlor. There is no room for nuance in an election speech. If you grant that your opponent has a single redeeming feature you are opening the door to people choosing him over you. Conversely like a job interview, in a stump speech you are only allowed to admit to failings that make you seem noble and guided by strong ideals (I guess I just work too hard!).The choice has to be unambiguous for it to be effective.. If this was the complete history of political discourse in this country we would have shot ourselves long ago out of sheer boredom. Arrghhh! POW! SPLAT! (squishing noises)

Fortunately political discourse in this country pretty much ignores the boring identical shit that pours forth from our potential leaders to be an focuses on the trivial. Whether swift boats or Guard memos. We love the irrelevant minutiae. Why? Because it’s F’in interesting. It’s different and fun and exciting and we don’t know exactly what they will say. Perhaps they will cry. Perhaps they will scream. Perhaps they will even say something un-scripted. We can only hope.

Thus we get the wonderful treat of news commentators asking us rhetorically why don’t they focus on the issues. Because the issues are complex boring matters that are generally not clear cut in solution. They make for bad speeches and bad TV. Try watching only CSPAN for a month. Don’t get me wrong, its got its moments. Unfortunately those moments are lazily spaced, and buried deep in a soporific eternity of bland nothingness. If this was how all political debate went we’d sleep through the election.