I love this time of year?

The weather is getting colder, soon the leaves will start to change and I’d bet dollars to donuts that the Mets are about to break my heart. Sure technically things aren’t over yet. With five games left in their regular season, they play the Cubs and Phillies. The Phillies play the Mets and Nationals. Nice. The Mets are 1.5 games out and a game ahead in the wildcard race. If they blow it this year, I am done with them. Done I say, done!

Until next April when the process of getting my hopes up just to be crushed will start all over again. Why do I do this to myself every year? How did anyone ever think raising me a Met fan was a good idea?

Having it both ways

Senator John McCain is one piece of work. I used to respect him, anyone who gives as much as he has for his country deserves a lot of respect. The irony for me is that I used to feel that way about Ralph Nader. Now I think they are both full of crap. I wonder if they recognize the hypocrisy of their actions, even if they refuse to admit it, but suspect they do not because they would never sleep if they did.

In light of recent events in our financial markets McCain blamed, and you know what’s coming, the Washington establishment caused all of this. I got this quote from his web site (www.johnmccain.com):

We’ve heard a lot of words from Senator Obama over the course of this campaign. But maybe just this once he could spare us the lectures, and admit to his own poor judgment in contributing to these problems. The crisis on Wall Street started in the Washington culture of lobbying and influence peddling, and he was square in the middle of it.

Come again? For months we have been told that Barack Obama didn’t have enough experience in governing, that he had spent only a few years in the Senate and yet he is also responsible for one of the biggest crises in recent memory? I repeat what I said once before: If Obama has this much power and can do this kind of thing from the Senate, or the campaign trail, we need to elect him. Just think of what he can accomplish if given some real power. Seriously, dude, make up your mind.

But let’s get back to John McCain for a moment. Let’s think back to the McCain who admitted to Meet the Press that he didn’t really know that much about the economy. He said it was not his strong suit that and he ‘needed to be educated.’ He also opposed the Dubya tax cuts before he wanted to make them permanent. McCain promised to run an honorable campaign that would be based on issues and he has done anything but. He said he would ‘rather lose and election than lose a war’ and said that both the presidential and vice presidential candidates need to be ready to serve on day one. Had he done any of these things his candidacy would have retained some legitimacy but he has backed out on each of these statements. Most candidates’ positions change – one could argue that they evolve (or change because of ‘intelligent design’?) – over the course of a career or campaign. When Democrats do this it is pointed out until we are all sick to death, does anyone not know that John Kerry voted for a certain bill before he was against it?

John McCain has taken this ‘flip-flopping’ to an extreme. He went from admitting his understanding of the economy wasn’t great to saying it was. He said we should not bail out failing companies, then we should. He said the Bush tax cuts were until he decided he liked them. And because I am redundant, he said Barack Obama was not experienced enough to lead until he was so experienced that he caused our current economic crisis.

People’s attention spans may be short but seriously, get it together. I don’t agree with anything McCain ’08 has said and that is a sad thing because the McCain that ran in 2000 would never had gotten my vote but he would have had my respect.

What do we learn from current press coverage? Not very much.

Recently I was watching Derek McGuinty on WUSA9 and he read messages from viewers. One asked what the value was of having reporters put themselves in harm’s way during a hurricane. Do we really learn more by watching a reporter get blown about? I have wondered the same thing about embedded journalists in war zones, does watching the blow by blow make us understand the situation more? My answer would be no and more and more I think the same question/answer would apply to campaign coverage.

The Politico ran a similar story (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0908/13559_Page2.html) which details how close the reporters are to the candidate but how little real access they get. Proximity does not equal influence or access. The life of the political journalist looks glamorous. Whether they cover the White House or a presidential campaign, the life is surprisingly similar and can be really boring. This is one subject I actually know something about because I have worked for the Clinton White House and the last three presidential campaign cycles. The press get shuttled from event to event, they are told where and what to eat and file and unless there is a set press availability planned, their only chance to ask questions is on the ropeline or maybe at the airport. I have never been a fan of having ropelines turn into press conferences because that is one of the only time audience members can talk to the candidate – if only for a few seconds. I have also witnessed camerapeople nearly knock over audience members to get to the candidate and having someone get injured because of this would be terrible.

So what is the benefit of having them be so close? Is there role really the same as the White House pool? Is it really just a death watch? And that is not just my speculation. Whenever the president goes anywhere a press pool follows closely behind for the express purpose of being there should something terrible happen. The problem is now we have media organizations pay a lot of money to hear someone give the same speech a thousand times and I don’t even think hearing how many people attended an event (or didn’t) helps anyone decide who is the better candidate.