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.