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October 27th, 2012
11:01 AM ET

Letters to the President #1377: 'The endless campaign'

Reporter's Note: President Obama must be tired of campaigning. I am, and I’m not even on the ballot.

Dear Mr. President,

No one seems to like a close political race more than those of us who cover them, so you might imagine that everyone in the news business would be jumping for joy these days. I suppose to a degree that we are. Certainly it is a lot more fun covering a campaign in which the outcome remains uncertain until the last minute.

On the other hand, I think the perpetual election cycle that has dominated media-coverage for the past eight or ten years has really worn down even some of the most intense politicos. It used to be that we covered a presidential race with all the fervor we could muster. The final months were defined by last minute dashes for air planes, frantic stories turned out in the middle of the night in some godforsaken hotel room, and rib cracking scrums to get close to the candidates as the clock ticked down to November. Then we’d all catch our breaths a bit. About a year later we’d slightly warm up to the mid-term elections. Those would get going in earnest a few months after that. And we would not turn our attention to the next presidential contest until the vote was easily less than a year away.

Not anymore. Each campaign seeps into the next like rainwater soaking a newspaper in the driveway; matting everything together so hard that you can’t separate the pages no matter how you try. Accordingly, the energy with which we pursue elections…as journalists, and frankly as voters…seems to have balanced out a bit. The campaigns are just soooooo long, that it is impossible to be that excited. It’s like a political Disneyworld that never closes. Sure, it’s fun for the first twelve hours, but when you realize that you will never get off of the Dumbo ride, some of the enthusiasm wanes.

I was listening to a conversation on the radio this week about how the 2016 race is shaping up. 2016!

All of which is a roundabout way of saying, I’m sure glad it is Saturday. (Yes, I have to work today too, but not as much…) And I’ll be even happier on the day after the election. All things considered, I don’t expect much of a break at that point…but perhaps the hubbub will grow at least a tad quieter.

Regards,
Tom