The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

The Strategic Amnesia of Campaign 2012


I’ve had a variation of this Greg Gutfeld rant brewing in my head for a while now . . . he calls it the “Oh, never mind then” compromise. (Emily Litella!) I had been contemplating the term “strategic amnesia.”

After a horrific shooting in Tucson, Arizona, where the perpetrator has no known connection to any coherent political argument, Obama calls for a better, more civil public discourse in America, a “new tone” . . . and then Democrats in Congress label their opponents Nazis and “demons,” Scott Walker is labeled Hitler, Joe Biden concurs with a House Democrat that the opposition is acting like terrorists . . .

Civility matters! Hyperbolic, angry rhetoric is creating a culture of hate and violence! . . . Wait, never mind.

“War on women”? Forgotten when a $1 million check from Bill Maher arrives, or when Hustler magazine does awful things to S. E. Cupp.

The horrific deprivations of Bain Capital? They only apply to Mitt Romney, off running the Salt Lake Olympics at that time; the Obama bundler who was actually running Bain at the time is not relevant, we’re told.

Democrats tout and celebrate a column that asserts that because the rate of increase in the annual deficits has grown only modestly, the Obama “spending binge never happened” — as if a decline in a rate of increase is the same as a decline in actual spending; we’ve had four years of $1 trillion deficits in our history (even adjusted for inflation); 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Wisconsin Democrats and their union allies rise up in fury against Governor Scott Walker over public-sector unions’ bargaining rights . . . and then drop the issue once the polls indicate it doesn’t resonate with the public.

Issues rise, get magazine covers, and lead off news hours, and then, once facts arise that contradict the narrative . . . they disappear with a quick shake. (Ironic how many folks in the media laugh at Mitt Romney by comparing him to an Etch-a-Sketch.) Last week, there were quite a few developments in the Trayvon Martin case that complicated the narrative of an innocent teen shot by a dangerous, armed, self-appointed neighborhood watchdog. MSNBC’s prime time, which went wall-to-wall Martin coverage a few weeks ago, didn’t mention any of it.

Facts and issues pop up, and then evaporate into the media ether before we can grab them. I’m sure most folks in mainstream-media institutions roll their eyes when Rush Limbaugh or others call them the “drive-by” media, but it’s easy to get the sense that articles are written, talking points are issued, and speeches are given just to get certain words in a headline — say, “MASSACRE” and “ROMNEY’S FAITH” — hoping the proper subconscious impression will be left with the low-information voters.

Ah, those low-information voters, the oblivious kings of our political system. They’re the remaining demographic in this close election, and so we’re destined to endure six months of everyone in the political world desperately attempting to persuade people who don’t pay attention to the news, politics, or government, who are astoundingly uninformed about news, politics, and government, who really don’t care about news, politics, or government, and who will have as much say about who the next president is as you or I.

Our media culture and campaign-coverage environment somehow manage to feel repetitive and yet riddled with attention-deficit disorder simultaneously.

Tags: Barack Obama , Media , Mitt Romney


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