Paul Greenberg

You can feel the tedium by now. It hangs over the country like a wool blanket in August. Even if it's masked by the kind of pointless commotion signifying nothing that only a hopeless political buff would stay interested in. Normal people tuned out long ago in search of something, anything, more intellectually challenging. Like gin rummy.

But this campaign just won't quit. It just goes on and on, like the drone of Fox and CNN. The endless speeches and speculation bring to mind HEAD-ON, the headache remedy whose pounding commercials are sure to give you what they claim to cure.

The oh-so-dramatic coverage on television has much the same effect when applied directly to the forehead. Boring but excruciating. All the more so when dressed up with fancy electoral maps and basso profundo, capital-A Analysis. Anything to fill up all that dead air.

As one primary comes after another, election nights begin to sound like replays. The pundits have given the nomination to Barack Obama, but Hillary Clinton insists on waiting for the delegates to decide. How technical. And so the grand march to anticlimax continues. The band plays on, if at a less exciting tempo, as what's left of the crowd drifts away in search of a real issue.

Dance marathons, aka walkathons, were all the strange rage in the '20s, but they might mercifully end in weeks. This one's gone on for months. It started last year and shows every sign of continuing forever, or seeming to. The last two contenders on the floor - in accordance with the current politically correct, diversity-mandated mode, one each black and white, male and female - cling to each other like boxers in a clinch, unable to break free. The dance to exhaustion must continue. It's the democratic, and now the Democratic, way.

At last report, the two Great Thinkers in the Democratic race have been reduced to debating whether the federal gasoline tax should be lifted for the summer. That's the Big Issue between them now. This is what the republic of Jefferson and Adams, Washington and Hamilton, has come to.

One of the candidates, Barack Obama, is still capable of expressing occasional dissatisfaction with the level of the campaign before succumbing to it. The other seems to be back in her natural, war-room habitat. Hillary Clinton almost glows as she repeats every threadbare talking point with strange new enthusiasm. Again and again she repeats that she's the only candidate who can win in the fall - while losing in the spring.


Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.


 


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