Romney perspired and Obama bullied and other observations: Now the debates belong to the ages!
We’re left with Frank Bruni’s instant column, which helps us see how deeply fatuous our mainstream press culture is:
BRUNI (10/23/12): So that’s it? The last of the presidential debates? No, no, no. I’m already in mourning, can’t quiet my hankering for more and am not being remotely sarcastic. In a political culture as stage-managed, focus-grouped and airbrushed as ours, these debates gave us rare moments of rawness, not to mention Big Bird.Elsewhere, as Obama and Romney debated, the Bears were opposing the Lions. In the NFL, animal totems pervade—as they do in the small, sad minds of New York Times pseudo-journalists.
Irish setters and dressage horsies and shot-up coyotes and Big Bird oh my! The typists who people this sad brigade can barely produce a paragraph without enlisting some animal figure.
They assume such citations will keep us rubes reading. They pretty much prove that these silly hooks are all they themselves really have.
Bruni goes on to give us the highlights of last night’s debate. In our recollection, it has been quite a while—twelve years, in fact—since somebody saddled this warhorse:
BRUNI: Obama repeatedly reminded television viewers that he alone was familiar with the responsibilities of the commander in chief. He clearly wanted Romney’s experience as a mere governor to sound, in comparison, like a job running a curbside lemonade stand.Jesus wept—but Romney perspired! It has been twelve years since insider pundits complained, in scripted succession, that Candidate Gore kept perspiring too much. (By the edicts of Hard Pundit Law, this let them compare him to Nixon.) But when a pundit has nothing to say (or a war to conduct), a pundit will grasp at such straws.
And though Romney perspired and occasionally stammered, he wouldn’t surrender. He insisted that Al Qaeda wasn’t really “on the run.” He claimed—yet again—that Obama had begun his presidency with “an apology tour,” and faulted him for skipping Israel. It was a barb tailor-made for Florida’s many Jewish voters.
As Bruni continues, so does the theater criticism. Even as Romney perspired, we are told, Obama was playing the bully! Finally, we arrive at this, the saddest of Bruini's laments:
BRUNI: These debates did in fact give us truth. I don’t mean that the candidates themselves spoke honestly. Hardly. In fact we should pause to note how sad it is that we’ve come to regard a post-debate fact-check—a report card on who told the most and biggest whoppers—as an inevitable and unremarkable part of the process. In campaigns these days, dishonesty is both an art form and a given.In this instance, Bruni leaned on those binders to keep us amused. Before that, in the highlighted passage, he laments the idea that we need fact-checks in the wake of such exhibitions—even implying that this is new somehow.
But the debates revealed each candidate for who he really is: the good, the bad and the binders.
Please. In the very first of our White House debates, Dear Jack employed that famous missile gap, using this invented claim to pummel perspiring Nixon. (Or so the fact-checkers have said.) Only a Potemkin pundit could offer Bruni’s highlighted piddle, in which we pretend that struggles for power will ever be free of the misleading, bogus or imperfect claims our pundits refer to as “whoppers.”
Like Big Bird, Seamus and Romney's binders, that highly entertaining term is designed to amuse us too.
Bruni writes respectable columns about gay issues, has nothing to say about anything else. As we say good-bye to Boca, his silly column helps us look back on the wasteland of the current campaign—the wasteland of the current campaign as described in our emptiest newspaper.
By now, the Times is at heart a charade. It’s very hard to miss that fact if you actually read this newspaper.
Next: Nocera on taxes!
Previously in the New York Times: In his previous column, Bruni complained that the candidates are too superficial!
Did we mention the fact that Jesus wept? Well so did our idealistic young analysts, every single one.