So the Federal government is once again on the verge of shutting down – at least partially – if a House-Senate deal on funding disaster relief cannot be reached by Thursday.
I have to be honest: that sentence took me about 10 minutes to write. I lost interest in it so many times I could hardly focus long enough to finish it. The reason you have not heard much about the latest and impending "shutdown crisis" may be no more complex than simple fatigue. No one cares. The media lost interest after the debt ceiling three ring circus. People who follow politics have seen this show before and we already know the ending. Just cave in to the Tea Party and get it the hell over with.
On a personal level I've been dealing with this problem for the past year, a problem getting myself to pay attention to current political events as they get increasingly ridiculous. I'm supposed to be all earnest and deeply interested and devoting my mental energy to understanding this pseudo-gamesmanship as fully as possible. But I just don't care, because the outcomes do not vary. Cynicism always feels lazy in the realm of politics, yet I think we've reached the point at which it is warranted.
This is all academic, though. I can do my job and even keep up a reasonably interesting blog about politics without getting emotionally invested in congressional dick-waving and the antics of overgrown children in the world's most expensive sandbox. One thing I can't punt on is the election. And holy crap, people, am I going to have a hard time making myself take a detailed interest in this magnificent shitshow. Somehow I get the feeling that I am not alone.
The GOP, seeing Fred Thompson 2012 (aka Rick Perry) begin the crash-and-burn phase of his campaign, are furiously looking for yet another savior. The fact that they are begging Chris Christie to run is less a ringing endorsement of the New Jersey Governor than a tacit admission that their current crop of candidates is an embarrassment of historic proportions. Whoever the party ends up nominating, the majority of Republicans and potential Republican voters are going to be seriously unhappy and faced with the prospect of supporting a candidate they don't like.
Democrats already have their candidate, the guy who has spent three years giving the finger to all those people who went crazy for him back in 2008 (and in many cases devoted dozens or hundreds of hours to his election). His quest to win over moderates and independents by being all compromise-y and bipartisan-y has been a spectacular failure, meaning that he will need those core supporters from 2008 in order to survive the election with his 40% approval rating. Of course, they won't believe his happy horseshit and endless, empty speeches a second time. Most of them will sit this one out, and some portion of them will look at the nutbag nominated by the GOP and dejectedly agree to campaign for Obama one more time….
This is going to be little more than an endurance test, an obstacle course of empty promises, hollow rhetoric, inane commercials, manufactured controversies, and constant pleas for your time, money, and support from candidates who will produce indistinguishable outcomes if elected by catering to nearly identical special interests. Republicans are supposed to vote just to get rid of Obama. Democrats are supposed to vote just to keep the nutty Republican away from the White House. Everyone hates the person they're voting for, the process is interminable, nobody's happy at the end, and the whole thing somehow costs fifteen billion dollars and the better part of a year. Sounds like fun. Can't wait.
I don't think I can do it, people. I don't think I have it in me to take this sad excuse for a process seriously this time around.