Washington Babylon — August 24, 2008, 7:49 am

The “Crescendo” Recedes: Public indifferent to Biden’s selection

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.

Share
Single Page

More from Ken Silverstein:

From the November 2013 issue

Dirty South

The foul legacy of Louisiana oil

Perspective October 23, 2013, 8:00 am

On Brining and Dining

How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy

Postcard October 16, 2013, 8:00 am

The Most Cajun Place on Earth

A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits 

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

September 2014

Israel and Palestine

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Washington Is Burning

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On Free Will

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

They Were Awake

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
Arab artists take up — and look past — regional politics
“When everyday life regularly throws up images of terror and drama and the technological sublime, how can a photographer compete?”
“Qalandia 2087, 2009,” by Wafa Hourani
Post
“There was torture by the previous regime and by the current Iraqi regime,” Dr. Amin said. “Torture by our Kurdish government, torture by Syrians, torture by the U.S.”
Visiting His Own Grave © Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Article
The Tale of the Tape·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Heroin isn’t the weakness Art Pepper submits to; it’s the passion he revels in.”
Photograph (detail) © Laurie Pepper
Criticism
The Soft-Kill Solution·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Policymakers, recognizing the growing influence of civil disobedience and riots on the direction of the nation, had already begun turning to science for a response."
Illustration by Richard Mia
New Books
New Books·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

 
“Almond insists that watching football does more than feed an appetite for violence. It’s a kind of modern-day human sacrifice, and it makes us more likely to go to war.”
Photograph by Harold Edgerton

Chance that a movie script copyrighted in the U.S. before 1925 was written by a woman:

1 in 2

Engineers funded by the United States military were working on electrical brain implants that will enable the creation of remote-controlled sharks.

Malaysian police were seeking fifteen people who appeared in an online video of the Malaysia-International Nude Sports Games 2014 Extravaganza, and Spanish police fined six Swiss tourists conducting an orgy in the back of a moving van for not wearing their seatbelts.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today