Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Release The Hounds

We apologize in advance today, for ourselves and our industry as a whole, for multiple reasons.

First, today is election day in locations across the country. The major races for governor in Virginia and New Jersey, and for Mayor of New York City likely won't be that competitive, if the exit polls match the polling that's already been done. If you hate the runaway watchdog role that most media outlets use during our nearly perpetual election seasons in America, we apologize for those colleagues of ours who will slip back into this abrasive style of journalism - and continue it for the next three years.

We also apologize for those members of the media who are are still stuck on the same story, namely of Republicans crying wolf over Obamacare. Yes, Republicans - especially those in the extremist wing of their party - are still going to try to continue to sabotage the Affordable Care Act at every turn. No, Obamacare isn't going away.

Finally, we also apologize for those members of the media who are still chasing the Edward Snowden/NSA spying story like some kind of rabid dog. As yet another document release by Snowden this past weekend showed, the U.S. is far from the only friendly nation spying on it's allies. European nations do it too, as does Brazil, who made an international stink in September about the NSA spying on Brazillians. Yet Monday, the Brazilian government admitted they'd also spied on several diplomatic targets, including the U.S.

The biggest reason we're apologizing on behalf of our industry, however, happens to be the pack mentality and sheer stupidity that will likely soon take over much of the political media space, in the wake of the 2013 campaigns and today's elections.

As we already noted, the major elections today will likely be won by Terry McCauliffe in Virginia, by Chris Christie in New Jersey, and by Bill DeBlasio in New York City. While much of the political media will be desperate to snarl and yelp and make the Virginia Attorney General's race more than it is, the likelihood is that most of the major offices up for grabs today in Virginia will go to Democratic candidates. Which means even if the Republican wins today in the Virginia Attorney General's race, he likely won't be able to do much with his new position, politically.

Where we think many more of our colleagues should be looking is at races like the 2014 Florida Governor's race, or the 2014 Second District U.S. House race in Nebraska.

In Florida, former Governor Charlie Crist is also a former Republican, though he's since changed his registration to Independent, then Democratic. He announced the start of his 2014 campaign on Monday, taking hard swipes at the extremists in the GOP. That announcement by Crist, while not unexpected, will force any Republican candidate for the Florida governor's seat into a difficult position. They will have to explain both why extremist Republicans drove moderates like Crist out, and why moderates who can make compromises aren't as good as extremists who refuse compromise.

In Nebraska, the race for the seat currently held by GOP Rep. Lee Terry may also be a harbinger for other races across the nation. Rep Terry just picked up yet another challenger from the extremist tea party wing of the Republican Party, Omaha businessman Dan Frei. Terry may end up with multiple Republican challengers once again, though it's the Democratic challenger for the seat, well-liked progressive Democratic Omaha City Councilman Pete Festersen who could prove Terry's biggest challenge — especially since the House GOP has passed no real legislation Terry can trumpet as a success.

Whatever your feelings about election-focused political coverage, just know that today's elections not only signal the beginning of the 2014 races - they also signal the start of the 2016 presidential campaigns.

As we said, on behalf of our industry, we apologize for the next three years.