Globe’s Yvonne Abraham (who otherwise is decent) really put the capper on a season of media whining: This Senate race is so BORING! I can really do without this. Joan Vennochi, on the other hand, notes that something that matters has been discussed:
It’s not cowardly to insert the massacre in Newtown, Conn., into the country’s gun control debate. It’s cowardly to leave Newtown and its victims out of the discussion.
Well alrighty then. Sounds like this race matters. Can a race turn on a hot-button issue like assault weapons — and still be boring?
Seems to me that the paper of record should be asserting itself in the race — advocating for the public on behalf of a set of issues that the public — and perhaps even just the paper itself — deems important. That’s journalism that inserts itself into the political discussion, that makes certain issues unavoidable. It pains me to say it, but the Herald has done exactly that with regard to the EBT/welfare issue: Uncovering abuses, and confronting the political culture with them. There’s no reason why the Globe et al couldn’t have done this with any number of issues — driving the agenda, and really making the candidates respond. Instead, most of the campaign coverage revolves on what the campaigns are saying about each other. The tail wags the dog.
Let’s add a few more things:
- Ed Markey will vote and work to strengthen the Affordable Care Act. Gomez will vote to destroy it. Is this a big deal?
- Ed Markey wrote the global warming bill that actually passed the House in 2009. Gomez will do nothing; and if he’s anything like Scott Brown, he’ll actively work against legislation to deal with this immense problem. Does this matter?
So why are our jaded observers bored? Perhaps a couple of things:
- The guy with a 37-year record of legislating isn’t slick; and the good-looking fellow with the nice bomber jacket isn’t substantial. Therefore YAWN. I suppose this race have been less BORING if we had one candidate accusing the other of being, say, insufficiently Cherokee. Would it have been thereby more MEGA-STUPID? Yes.
- The substantial, non-slick guy supports majority positions in Massachusetts on a lot of the issues, and the nice-looking bomber jacket fella isn’t. This poses a problem for media types who are trying hard — properly — to reserve judgment and cover the race neutrally. But after a while there really isn’t that much to say: MA voters don’t like assault weapons; they like choice. If those are the issues that the race will turn on, then the arguments play themselves out pretty quickly.
Now, credit where credit is due. Here are WCVB’s Janet Wu (one of the best) and Ed Harding, acting like their work matters:
If you think politics should resemble the Jerry Springer Show, then yeah, this special election has been boring. On the other hand, we may be about to elect someone who is the most substantial, most experienced, most effective — and sometimes visionary — Senate candidate from our state in a few generations.
No, I don’t find that boring. In fact, I’m pretty damn stoked. Tuesday night can’t get here soon enough.