Monday, January 7, 2008

Emily Rocheleau*, 22, is the stupidest person in New Hampshire

This is, generally, an up-tempo, "feel good" blog, like one of those infectious morning shows with Moose Mike, Rocket Jaw, and Krazy Kat on 100.3, Jammin' FM. But, from time to time, I have to take a break and point out somebody who has chosen, for whatever reason, to put his or her name in the national news and say something so utterly stupid that he or she deserves to be branded as a simpleton for the rest of his or her utterly bewildering life.

And, in this case, that someone is Emily Rocheleau, a 22 year old "independent" voter from New Hampshire. Now, plenty of blogs have devoted acres of print to pointing out the absurd infatuation our media and political world has with "independent" voters. Also known as "undecided voters," they are people who wait until the last possible moment, despite a veritable avalanche of news and information about the candidates, to make up his or her mind about who to support in a given election.

Since the eyes of the political world are now focused upon New Hampshire, where, legend tells us, all the men wear flannel shirts and all the women are seasoned political mavens who could spend hours lecturing you upon the intricacies of quorum calls and cloture resolutions, the press has once again rushed "independent voters" into the spotlight. Yesterday's NY Times featured a photo of Ms. Rocheleau, and said the following about her in the caption

Emily Rocheleau, 22, is trying to choose between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama.
Ok, look. It is January, 2008. The presidential candidates have been declared candidates for quite some time now. I simply don't know what to say about someone who is undecided to the point of not knowing whether she will choose between Obama and McCain. That is simply ridiculous. You could not hope to find two candidates whose views on actual issues are more different than Obama and McCain. You could not hope to find two men whose paths to the US Senate are more different. In what they believe, who they represent, and the life experiences they would bring to the Oval Office, you have two men who are very nearly diametrically opposed. So what, pray tell, explains someone who will vote for either one of them?

I'll tell you what explains it: the obsession our media has with trying to force candidates beyond the boring world of actual issues. Reporters and news anchors are, frankly, bored with hum drum things like health care and economic issues (outsourcing? BORING!), so they turn elections into a contest of personalities. And the result of this is that voters like Emily Rocheleau, 22, get trapped into thinking that either one of these guys would be a fine person to elect, as if the policies they will implement are somehow secondary to the kind of people they are.

(*I mention her name because she attached herself to that statement in the article. I'm sure there are thousands of others who share her disappointing perspective, however.)