Breaking news: Media shatters the record for too-early obsession with presidential race

REUTERS/Gary Cameron
The South Lawn of the White House is pictured in Washington Jan. 26, 2015.

Thank you Dan Balz.

Balz of the Washington Post and one of the senior members of the national political press corps wrote a piece for the Sunday Post headlined: “It’s 2015, not 2016: The presidential races won’t be decided today.” Of course that was yesterday. There are probably fresh poll numbers out since that story ran.

I don’t have data at hand, but there’s simply no doubt that the media mob has broken the record, and by a wide margin, for the earliest total daily obsession with the next presidential race. In the race for the Republican nomination, there is no frontrunner, so it’s safe to absurdly declare that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is the frontrunner because, although he is polling in the teens, he is — in Iowa — a couple of percentage points ahead of someone else, whose flavor of the month moment lies ahead. (That, by the way, was not a prediction that Walker will or won’t be the nominee or the next president. I don’t know and you don’t know and neither does anyone else.)

And, by the way, in case I haven’t mentioned it for a few days, how absurd is it that Iowa holds this permanent special status in the process?

Meanwhile, the actual holders of various national political office are facing some fairly weighty matters, and are showing few signs that they can deal with them rationally.

Comments (15)

  1. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 02/16/2015 - 09:19 am.

    Of COURSE They’re Obsessed with the GOP Presidential Field

    Because pursuing THAT obsession isn’t likely to make anyone angry.

    If they turn away from that subject, they’ll be forced to pay attention to the battles within the US House of Representatives between the Tea Party Republicans and the more pragmatic Republicans,…

    and between the GOP House and GOP Senate,…

    and that would, very likely, make a lot of VERY IMPORTANT inside the beltway “conservative” commentators and lobbyists,…

    and the wealthy owners of the mainstream media,…

    VERY ANGRY,…

    which could cause a commentator to get less air time or a columnist to be printed less often.

    Those commentators and on air bloviators definitely know which side their bread is buttered on. They’ll do NOTHING but play it safe by keeping information embarrassing to those who supply that butter out of the public eye as much as possible,…

    no matter how vital that information is to the public interest.

    The only solution, of course, is to ignore them and seek more accurate information and reporting elsewhere.

  2. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 02/16/2015 - 09:28 am.

    to the barricades

    There is always the possibility that we may have a revolution between now and then…

  3. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/16/2015 - 10:13 am.

    By focusing on the large republican field

    (it’s large because most republicans believe it’s a wide open race and they could win against Hillary) the media doesn’t have to focus on the foibles of Barack Obama all of the time. They have a ready excuse to change the subject from our embassy marines being forced to give up their weapons in Yemen or the 300 marines who are about to be over-run by thousands of ISIS fighters in Iraq.

    The press is vetting the republican candidates like never before. Maybe it’s because of the beating the press took when they failed to vet Obama in 2008. We never saw his college transcripts as we did with George Bush, for example, or read his fitness reports from his days in the military (… oh wait) or read his writings while he was president of the Harvard Law Review.

    Also, focusing on the republicans gives the 69 year-old Mrs. Clinton cover while she spends 2015 getting older, raising money and avoiding making embarrassing statements about Russia, or Iran, or Syria, or Yemen, or ISIS that can be re-purposed in a TV ad like her “Don’t let anybody tell you corporations and businesses create jobs” blunder.

    If I was a GOP candidate who was asked a gotcha question, my canned response would be “How did Hillary answer your question?” “I’ll answer that question when she does.” That would be real journalism.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/16/2015 - 10:42 am.

      Sounds like

      Scott Walker.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 02/16/2015 - 12:36 pm.

      I’m curious if Mr. Tester’s obsession with age

      applied to Reagan as well? Or what he thought of Mr. Reagan presiding over the ACTUAL murder of 241 servicemen in Beirut in 1983, of which Reagan did absolutely nothing about other than pull his peacekeeping force out of Lebanon completely. Or that George Bush never gave up his transcripts, because they were leaked instead, not to mention that historically, presidents rarely released college transcripts. Face facts…your definition of vetted is simply that no one found anything that resembles what you people would love to believe about Obama…much like the investigations of his “scandals” of which your win /loss record is at 0-5
      On the “embarrassing statements” front, I’ll remind you that your current crop of candidates for the nomination have provided more than enough fodder to fill numerous TV ads themselves and we’re only a couple of months into 2015.

  4. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 02/16/2015 - 11:32 am.

    Large field or small

    …Mr. Tester is on to something in his final paragraph. That last paragraph ought to be standard practice, regardless of the names or parties involved. If the goal is to inform the public, so that voters get real information from candidates upon which to base their vote, then the responses of candidates from all the political parties involved ought to be presented to the public.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/16/2015 - 02:08 pm.

      Daisy chain

      That is what Mr. Tester is proposing.
      If each candidate can get away with saying ‘I’m not saying anything until my opponent sticks her neck out first’ then no one will say anything.
      Journalism’s goal may be to inform the public (to impart information), but first their must be something to report.
      Lacking concrete statements by the candidates, journalists are left with reporting the candidates’ records and speculating about what this says about the candidates’ future actions.

      Again, this takes us back to our uniquely drawn out electoral procedure.
      If campaigning were (somehow) limited to six months before the elections, there would be more pressure on the candidates to actually say something, and for journalists to report it. If a candidate had nothing to say, it would be obvious.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/16/2015 - 02:10 pm.

      Why?

      This would be just another way to deflect attention from a candidate. If we ask, say, Gov. Brownback about his tax cuts and how they have affected the Kansas economy, do we have to wait until we ask every other Governor in the country about the effects of their fiscal policies?

      This is standard Republican thinking: Rather than defend their positions, they try to deflect the question and make it about someone else. Voters are not served by that kind of nonsense. They are served by candidates and politicians standing up and answering questions instead of sniveling that “You didn’t ask that OTHER person such a hard question!”

  5. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 02/16/2015 - 04:00 pm.

    This is why

    Mr. Kapphahn, can you tell me what other sources for information you are suggesting? I also wonder how your idea can be supported logically. If you say that right-wing commentators want to be paid and therefore do not want to talk about House-Senate Republican split, I can counter that they do not have to since they can always focus on Obama’s failures. And if they are left-wing commentators, they are paid exactly for discussing Republicans’ problems… I would say that for liberal media it is a way to deflect attention from Obama’s troubles… and a little bit from Hillary… And for conservatives, they just want to figure out whom they have to support.

    Mr. Myron, I believe Reagan won 49 states out of 50 in his second election with Mondale winning only Minnesota by just several thousand votes so Reagan’s age was not a problem for people. Clinton’s age looks to be a different matter considering how many people can’t stand her. And I am not even talking about her absolute lack of accomplishment in anything….

    Mr. Holbrook, what do you think about liberal tendency in the last 6 years to deflect any and all criticism by blaming Bush for everything? I am actually waiting for someone’s finding how Bush caused Libya to collapse now…. Unless, of course, it will be Reagan’s fault.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/17/2015 - 03:46 pm.

      The Liberal Tendency

      President Bush was President for 8 years. On his watch, we became embroiled in Afghanistan and (on pretexts that were flimsy, at best) in Iraq), and the economy tanked. His presidency was marked by a surprising success at accomplishing his legislative goals, except for immigration reform (defeated by the nativist elements of his own party), and privatization-not-really of Social Security.

      Presidencies have consequences, and some of those consequences reverberate for years. Claiming the liberals “blam[e] Bush for everything” is just more deflection, unless you believe his presidency should not be held accountable for failures.

      Incidentally, I have never heard anyone “blam[e] Bush for everything.” Some of President Obama’s failures are his fault (and the worst scandal anyone can come up with about Benghazi is repeating dicey talking points on the teevee), some are Congress’s.

  6. Submitted by jason myron on 02/16/2015 - 09:31 pm.

    Really?

    I guess you miss the point entirely. The conservatives that seem to be bringing up Ms. Clinton’s age are the same that deify Reagan who was elected at the same age that Clinton will be in 2016. As far as the people that “can’t stand her.” yours would hardly be an unbiased opinion now, would it? Not to mention the many polls that show Clinton with double digit leads over every potential GOP challenger.

  7. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 02/17/2015 - 09:29 pm.

    Presidents, past and present

    Mr. Holbrook, Bush was a president for 8 years and he was the one who had to lead the country through one of its most difficult times in history… Now, are you saying that he should have left Taliban alone? And bad economy was partially a result of 9/11 (remember what happened with Dow) and partially a result of Clinton’s trade agreements.

    Of course, Bush, as all others, should be held accountable for his failures, for example, for trying to build democracy in Iraq. But so should be Obama and when you say you have not heard anyone “blaming Bush for everything,” just listen to Obama and read any liberal media (which is about all of them).

    Mr. Myron, I am afraid you missed my point: Reagan’s age didn’t matter because about everyone voted for him. Clinton will never come even close to that (or anyone now for that matter) so her age is an issue. And yes, my opinion is not unbiased but my question is still open: what are her accomplishments?

  8. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 02/18/2015 - 08:14 pm.

    Predictions

    Mr. Myron, are you predicting that Mrs. Clinton will win 49 states? I would say that my prediction is more realistic based on country’s polarization… On the other hand, Reagan’s age was not an issue because people knew what he had done in his first term and they went on that basis. And this brings us back to Mrs. Clinton’s accomplishments because what you listed are not her accomplishments but her positions (except, of course, her position as Mr. Clinton’s wife when he was at power). Accomplishment, by definition, is “the successful completion of something.” So what did she “successfully complete?”

    • Submitted by jason myron on 02/19/2015 - 11:02 pm.

      First of all

      you’re doing all of the prognostication, not me. Second, Reagan was elected to his first term when he was 69…so people had no idea what his presidency would be like. Once again…either age is an issue or it isn’t. Lastly, If you don’t think that becoming a US Senator and Secretary of State is an accomplishment, I really think you need to look up the meaning of the word. Hillary Clinton accomplished more fresh out of Wellesley than most people in this country accomplish in a lifetime.

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