Let’s compare two lists. First are five things that, I would suggest, will not change enough votes to make any difference in any state in the presidential election:
1. Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
3. How much “access” each campaign gives the media.
4. Gay marriage.
5. The difference between President Obama’s seven-figure wealth and Mitt Romney’s eight-figure wealth.
The second list are five things that most certainly will sway large numbers of voters:
1. Obama’s first-term economic record.
2. The unemployment rate.
4. The fate of Obamacare in the Supreme Court.
5. The effectiveness of Romney’s contrast between a government-centric and a limited-government vision.
Now look at the front pages of the major newspapers and the left-wing pundits. I’d estimate that 80 percent of what they write and say come from the first list. They are in a real sense covering a different election than the one the public will vote in, one that ignores the actual issues that will motivate voters.
The explanation for this dichotomy is three-fold. First, the second list of topics aren’t favorable to Obama. Second, you have to know something about something and not merely regurgitate White House talking points or the New York Times headlines (I repeat myself) to provide interesting coverage (i.e. it takes effort). And finally, the left-wing media are obsessed with demographics and social wedge issues to a degree we have never seen. They have truly become the believers in “Out of one, many.”
My hypothesis is that by obsessing on the first list of issues, the press (and to a large extent the president) cede the grown-up, critical issues to the Republicans. While the lefty bloggers entertain themselves in an ever-louder echo chamber, both their audience and Obama’s support wane (there is a lot of crossover between those two groups). Let’s see if that plays out over the next few months.