Matt Taibbi writes in his latest Rolling Stone post that 2012 is the most boring Election year ever. I would argue it’s one of the most important election years ever. We have an electorate that identifies as 20% Independent and polls that show the Presidential candidates are neck and neck. The constitutionality of Obamacare hangs in the balance and could be determined by the Supreme Court in the very same year that its chief architect is up for re-election. The unemployment rate is still high, the economic recovery sluggish and Americans want solutions. They’re tired of politics as usual. Who they blame isn’t entirely clear. I would say this is actually a very exciting year. The Taibbi article is representative of the kind of mentality that can crop up in the press that than gets “reported” as news. Talk about inconsistencies. Matt Taibbi writes,“I don’t know any campaign journalist out there who thinks that Romney has a legitimate chance to win. I’m not making a value judgment about either candidate.” (Umm, Mr. Taibbi, that sounds like a value judgement.)
CNN talked with Taibbi on the “boring” election, what’s ahead for the candidates and why he thinks 2012 is feeling a lot like 2004. Here’s an edited version:
Q: What do you think about polling that shows President Obama and Mitt Romney are neck and neck?
TAIBBI: “You know, I saw that poll. I don’t believe it. I don’t know any campaign journalist out there who thinks that Romney has a legitimate chance to win. I’m not making a value judgment about either candidate.”
“I just think that in the press, there’s this general feeling that this election is a foregone conclusion. You have a relatively popular incumbent, the economy is not doing terribly, and traditionally, the candidate who has a major fundraising advantage almost always wins, and Obama has raised a lot more money than Romney has.”
Q: But didn’t you hear James Carville the other day? He said that many people feel similar to what you described and that’s dangerous because he thinks Democrats could lose.
TAIBBI: “Yes, that’s possible. But one of the things we have to remember [is] I think we all in the media get caught up in this. There are very few political taboos in American journalism. But there are a lot of commercial taboos, and one of the big ones is you can never say that something is a foregone conclusion. It’s our job in the media to try to drum up interest in this. We have to sell advertisers and we have to get viewers and ratings.”
“So we can’t just come out and say that this thing is over six months before it happens. So there’s a strong incentive by all the pundits, including people like me, to come out and say “Well, this could happen, that could happen.” Romney has a legitimate chance – it’s just a subconscious poll that works in all of us in the media that drives us to make those kinds of comments, I think.”
“[But] it’s still the presidential election, it’s the most powerful office in the world. There’s always going to be some kind of drama about it. And there’s quite a lot at stake and I’m sure we’ll come up with something that will make it interesting before the end.”