A Campaign About Nothing?

Talk about “vapid.”

On “Morning Joe” today (click for link), the panelists sat around and complained about how little substance there is in this year’s presidential campaign.

“Am I the only one depressed here?” asks Joe. Then the other panelists groan and say yes, they, too, are depressed by this state of affairs. They of course have video clips to illustrate this sad state of affairs.  At about 4:08 in this segment, they show a half minute or so from Mitt Romney’s, and then Barack Obama’s stump speeches. Romney mocks Obama for defending Sesame Street characters, and Obama outlines the symptoms of “Romnesia.” Basically, they’re just sniping at each other with petty taunts. Pretty much standard fare in any political campaign, this year or any year.

From there, for the next 15 minutes or so, the “Morning Joe” panel talks about how unsubstantial the campaign is.

But those two clips are all they showed of the candidates talking. Now, I didn’t see the speeches in question, but I think we can be fairly sure that both men spent a great deal of time talking about matters of a great deal more importance than Big Bird.

And this kind of stuff goes on all the time, particularly on the cable news networks that have a lot of time to fill up during the day. They sit and complain about the lack of substance in the campaigns, but all they seem to talk about is the minutia. Tagg Romney wants to punch the president! Binders full of women! Donald Trump!

In fact, I think this has been one of the more substantive campaigns that we’ve seen in recent years. We’ve had four debates that have covered an awful lot of ground and delineated many differences between the candidates, and even if we think one candidate was better or more honest or more presidential than the other, we can at least agree they talked about a lot of important stuff.

But if you’re going to cherry-pick a minute of video to show the candidates at their worst, and then use that to push your “vapid campaign” talking point for the day, all I can say is, Joe, you’re missing a great story.