Now that politics has become America's actual favorite pastime, there have got to be a lot of nervous sports writers out there. Because if this general election is shaping up to be as boring as it appears to be, it's going to be a struggle to produce all season long. Right now it's spring, primary training is wrapping up, there should be hope and optimism in the air. But instead it feel like it's just going to be a long, bitter, invevitable slog. With the best team built to last all the way through November. And that's not just because I'm a fan of the Mets. It's because there are absolutely no fans of the Mitt.
Election coverage is supposed to be a time of excitement. When anything is possible. Except for a third party candidate being chosen. It's supposed to be a time of promise. Made and then broken. It's supposed to be a time of enthralling competition, of hard-fought victories and defeats, of winning streaks and downward spirals, of storylines and storied collapses, of errors and excellence, of new reports and old-school maneuvers -- a marathon of media fodder. But, instead, we're just going to get eight months of Mitt Romney. An auto-programmed robot so easy to ridicule, why even bother? Where's the challenge in that? Where's the glory? Where's the fun?
Who wants to watch a full campaign-long blow-out? Even worse, who wants to announce it? There's going to be a lot of forecasters relying on their rain-delay material. A lot of writers counting their words. Desperately trying to keep people interested. When they could care less themselves. That doesn't sound like a recipe for solid readership. Which is why they'd better think of something quick. A narrative. Something overarching. Something to excite the audience. And keep some butts in the seats staring at their screens.
They can try to sell the good vs. evil thing. That's always a favorite of us fans. But it's also the oldest plot in The Book. It's been done a thousand times before. And that's just B.C. We want something fresh. Most important election of our lifetime? Nah, that's worn-out as well. Plus, it's just not true. At least not for everyone who doesn't think four more years of Obama's pragmatic decency means we're going to become a socialist regime that demands our teenagers fight to the death. They can go with the 1 percent vs. 99 percent thing. That's hot right now. Especially for the sabermetricians. But, it also pretty much writes itself. What is there for a reporter to say that Romney hasn't embarrassingly said himself? No they are definitely just stuck presenting us with a stark choice. That everyone can easily make themselves.
At least in 2008 there was McCain. The maverick. The war-hero. The experience. The Sarah Palin pick. There was something to work with. He had a little flair. But, Romney? The run-of-the-mill multi-millionaire with the perfect hair? The guilty man with no convictions? The unadventurous capitalist? He'll probably even choose some boring white guy as his running mate. With a name like Mitch Daniels. Mitt Romney is the only rich guy I've ever felt bad for. He's just so dull, it's sad. I honestly want to root for him, but why even invest? Even his fan base can't rally behind him. Because they know they'll just be disappointed. How do you root for an underdog that's filthy rich?
Opening day is upon us, America. Obama threw out the first pitch to the Associated Press. Romney came out swinging at the American Society of News Editors. And even with all those newspaper writers in the stadium, neither generated that much print. Because they know a good story when they see one. And no one does. Sure, the margins will shrink as we head down the stretch. Things will tighten up under the late pressure. For a while we may even wonder who may actually win. Then the people who only watch the playoffs will take their first real hard look at Mitt Romney. And they won't like what they see. And nothing anyone writes will change that.
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