The Future Lies Ahead

Reaching into the deep and messy grab-bag of journalistic geegaws offered by Politico today, I managed to snag one fun item: Tim Mak’s list (complete with example counts and embarrassing direct quotes) of “very tired political cliches” from campaign coverage that need to be retired. They are:

(1) “Circular firing squad”
(2) “Democrats fall in love, while Republican fall in line”
(3) “Jobs, jobs, jobs” [referring to employment opportunities, not the late Apple founder]
(4) “America is at a crossroads”
(5) “It’s the economy, stupid.”
(6) “The only poll that matters is the one on Election Day”
(7) “It all comes down to turnout”

To be sure, it often really does come down to turnout, in the only poll that matters, when the economy–and more specifically, jobs–determine which fork in the crossroads America takes, after Democrats fall in love and Republican fall in line and voters form a circular firing squad and give us another crappy divided government.

But at the end of the day, that’s why democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others, reflecting imperfectly but decisively the mood of America, from its energized base to its crucial undecideds, across the Heartland flyover country and the battleground states, sounding an uncertain trumpet that calls forth a mandate for transformative bipartisanship and the better angels of our nature. Or so it seems to this seasoned veteran of the campaign trail.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.