Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Give Me a Break!

(Parental discretion is advised. The maven is going to use the “O” word).

I’m sorry. I just don’t get it. Did I sleep through a whole year? Was tonight the election? Have we elected the next president? The media pundits and commentators and news anchors were so excited about the New Hampshire primary that I was afraid we would be watching mass multiple orgasms right on our TV screens.

What was all the panting and moaning about? Well, it seems that Senator John McCain and Senator Hillary Clinton pulled off the greatest comebacks in political history. I mean, just last week, everybody was writing them off as politically dead and now they have been reborn. We have rarely seen such political miracles. Hillary actually received about 95,000 votes. McCain got about 75,000. You heard me loyal reader. Those are not millions those are thousands.

Yes, the media world is going absolutely insane over a very small number of votes. New Hampshire, that wonderful Granite State, is the home for 1,314,895 people according to 2006 census estimates. In population it is the 40th largest state in this country. And a primary election in our 40th largest state is causing mass media hysteria. Only about 250,000 people voted in the Democratic primary. For the Republicans it was about 200,000 people who voted. Yet, the winning candidates and the media wizards would have you and I believe that political history was made today.

And, all of this comes only five days after equally momentous political history was made further to the west. On last Thursday, an equally small number of voters in Iowa created almost equal excitement by delivering victories for Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mike Huckabee. (I hope you haven’t forgotten those names from last week’s monumental political earthquake). As for Iowa, it is inhabited by 2,982,085 people according to 2006 census data. That makes it the 30th largest state by population.

Two weeks. Two “historic” votes. Each is more significant than the other. The excitement from each is almost unbearable.

Now, we are moving on to Nevada (2006 population 2,495,529-ranked 35) and South Carolina (2006 population 4,321,249-ranked 24). I assume that those two small state primaries will be equally historic. I really don’t know how our poor pundits and commentators and anchors will be able to keep their excitement level so high week after week. They might not have anything left for the primaries on February 5, which may actually be historic.

1 comment:

HEK said...

It's an odd place in which to find oneself; like standing on a beach and watching the tide roll away while taking away chunks of sand under your feet.

I'm interested in the process, but long ago lapsed into a bemused resignation about real and substantive and positive change occurring as the result of what happens in a polling precinct.

Each cycle, I think the media maelstrom can't get more self-absorbed and irrelevant. and annoying. I'm proved wrong; and this time, the major media having been surprised by Iowa and stunned by New Hampshire (both states with about the same population as the Richmond region) have no other course but babble and prattle about how surprised and stunned they were. None of this has anything to do with politics or substantive issues.

Of late, I've found it more instructive to watch one of these fervid in-real-time election shows with the mute on and the words marching across the screen. I can listen to music or somebody else discussing the situation, and not have to endure the whining and laughing of the egomaniacal commentators.

Or, I just turn it off and go about my life. I can read about it online or in the newspaper, at my own pace, without accompanying shuck and jive though even there I wince and rub my eyes.

Some days, I think I'd be better off just reading Russian novels and forgetting the whole mess, which, in the end, matters for an ephemeral period of time. Except that those elected choose to raise taxes or take the nation to war, and those decisions present longer range effects.