Pardon me if I don’t watch the presidential debates.
It’s not just that I’ve already decided which candidate I prefer. (More about that in a minute.)
It’s also the fact that modern technology has erased the need to sit through so much tweedle-dee-dee.
Now, I can spend my presidential debate time watching Netflix and then check later to see if anything momentous occurred — a rarity in the tightly scripted debates. If something major was said, it’s sure to be repeated ad nauseam with analysis by Brian, Ari, Cooper, Wolf, Sean, Rachel and everyone else in MediaLand. I’ll catch it after the movie, if at all.
I’m glad technology also gives us a great way to escape those tedious State of the Union addresses, where the president intones at great length while assorted Supreme Court justices smile or scowl.
No need to waste an hour in front of the screen when even a low-tech geek like myself can go online and read a text of the president’s speech long before he finishes speaking.
The 2012 presidential race isn’t the only reason why I am overcome with political blues a month before the nation crosses the finish line. Related stuff is wearing me down, too, and setting my Heifer Dust Meter into the Howling Hypocrisy category.
Recently, MSNBC gasbag Joe Scarborough was in the Panhandle, telling business leaders that Mitt Romney was a terrible candidate but Barack Obama was even worse because he couldn’t get anything done in Washington. This is the same Joe Scarborough who was Pensacola’s Congressman for seven years, and we’re still waiting to see what he got done in Washington other than making so many shrill statements as a guest on cable TV shows that they made him the host of his own show.
And yesterday’s mail brought me a postcard featuring one of Pensacola’s most abrasive politicians, Mike Whitehead, arm in arm with Sen. Marco Rubio. Very nice, but shouldn’t it have included a footnote that Whitehead provoked a tiff with Rubio in a public restaurant several years ago? The Rubio-Whitehead feud was one reason why Whitehead received only 19 percent of the vote in his run for re-election as an Escambia County commissioner. That’s 19 percent in a two-way race!
Now Whitehead looks like Lazarus. He’s running for Tax Collector and he has a decided edge because he’s Republican. The incumbent, who has done a very good job, is a Democrat in a county where Republicans outnumber Democrats.
The politicians’ ability to morph themselves is spreading into other industries, too.
I saw an ad today for Volvo, which built a solid reputation in its bland but very safe cars. It’s now referring to itself as “naughty.”
Really, Sweden’s dull but dependable car is “naughty?” In that case, Mitt Romney is “a zany dude” and Barack Obama is “a walking laugh riot.”
So maybe now you understand why Netflix will be streaming at the O’Brien household whenever a presidential debate takes over the TV screen.
Oh, and my preference for president?
I’m voting for the guy who went to Harvard and whose running mate is a Catholic.
Both Romney and Obama went to Harvard and both vice presidential candidates are Catholic.
At least one low-tech thing is still valuable: The secret ballot.
Formerly a columnist for the Pensacola News Journal, Mark O’Brien is a writer in Pensacola, and the author of “Pensacola On My Mind” and “Sand In My Shoes.”