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During the past few weeks, thousands of reporters and commentators have produced countless stories feverishly speculating about who Barack Obama would pick to be his vice presidential nominee. “Obama Veep Speculation Reaches a Crescendo,” ran a headline in the Wall Street Journal. “Who’s No. 2? Obama Keeps Everybody Guessing,” said the Washington Post. “Speculation over VP picks hits fever pitch,” Reuters chimed in.
Of course, as Chris Lehmann pointed out in an interview here the other day, the obsessive interest in the VP picks, and the accompanying analysis about whether it would help or hinder Obama or McCain, was largely limited to Washington political reporters and cable-news producers. “Not only do reporters write about what they’re talking about, but they’re writing about each other,” Lehmann said. “Notice the passive construction in these stories about ‘rampant speculation’ and ask yourself, ‘Who’s doing the speculating?’ It’s the reporters who are; most voters, being sane people, might think about it for a second but then they move on to the next thing in their day.”
Now the Washington Post has published the results of a survey about the Biden “impact,” and it turns out there isn’t one. A full 75 percent of respondents said Biden’s selection would make “no difference” to their chances of supporting Obama this fall. Thirteen percent said it would make them more likely, ten percent said it would make them less likely, and two percent had no opinion on the matter.
So to sum it all up, impolitely: Despite the saturation news coverage and week after week of talking-head blather about the topic, the public just doesn’t give a shit.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Commentary — November 17, 2015, 6:41 pm
The Clintons’ so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich family friends.
i. stand with israel
I listen to a lot of conservative talk radio. Confident masculine voices telling me the enemy is everywhere and victory is near — I often find it affirming: there’s a reason I don’t think that way. Last spring, many right-wing commentators made much of a Bloomberg poll that asked Americans, “Are you more sympathetic to Netanyahu or Obama?” Republicans picked the Israeli prime minister over their own president, 67 to 16 percent. There was a lot of affected shock that things had come to this. Rush Limbaugh said of Netanyahu that he wished “we had this kind of forceful moral, ethical clarity leading our own country”; Mark Levin described him as “the leader of the free world.” For a few days there I yelled quite a bit in my car.
The one conservative radio show I do find myself enjoying is hosted by Dennis Prager. At the Thanksgiving dinner of American radio personalities (Limbaugh is your jittery brother-in-law, Michael Savage is your racist uncle, Hugh Hewitt is Hugh Hewitt) Dennis Prager is the turkey-carving patriarch trying to keep the conversation moderately high-minded. While Prager obviously doesn’t like liberals — “The gaps between the left and right on almost every issue that matters are in fact unbridgeable,” he has said — he often invites them onto his show for debate, which is rare among right-wing hosts. Yet his gently exasperated take on the Obama–Netanyahu matchup was among the least charitable: “Those who do not confront evil resent those who do.”
Average number of Americans who are injured by chain saws each year:
A farmer in Kenya bit a python who tried to eat him.
A former prison in Philadelphia that has served as a horror-movie set was being prepared as a detention center for protesters arrested at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fired his campaign manager.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”