2012 U.S. election year the 'most boring ever'?
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama
May 10th, 2012
02:35 PM ET

2012 U.S. election year the 'most boring ever'?

Many are excited about the U.S. presidential campaign as the months tick down to November 6.

But Matt Taibbi is not.

He writes in his latest Rolling Stone post - headlined "Is this the Most Boring Election Ever?":

Obama versus Romney is the worst reality show on TV since the Tila Tequila days. The characters are terrible, there's no suspense, and the biggest thing is, it lacks both spontaneity and a gross-out factor.

CNN talked with Taibbi on the "boring" election, what's ahead for the candidates and why he thinks 2012 is feeling a lot like 2004. Here's an edited version:

Q: So did President Obama's announcement on same-sex marriage give the election some life?

TAIBBI: If you notice, that was really Joe Biden who injected that little plot into the race. But yes, I guess there's going to be a few controversies here and there. But really, [this election] lacks the same kind of thrills we had four years ago when it seemed like every week there was some new crazy controversy from Reverend Wright to Geraldine Ferraro to Bill Ayers. It was something like that every week. And we're just not having that this time.

Q: Is the 2008 election campaign a hard year to top?

TAIBBI: Yes, [2008] was fantastic. Purely from a reality show television aspect, I think it was the most entertaining election we have had.

Q: What do you think about polling that shows President Obama and Mitt Romney are neck and neck?

TAIBBI: You know, I saw that poll. I don't believe it. I don't know any campaign journalist out there who thinks that Romney has a legitimate chance to win. I'm not making a value judgment about either candidate.

I just think that in the press, there's this general feeling that this election is a foregone conclusion. You have a relatively popular incumbent, the economy is not doing terribly, and traditionally, the candidate who has a major fundraising advantage almost always wins, and Obama has raised a lot more money than Romney has.

Could Romney win? Yes, it's possible. I just don't think it's likely and that takes a lot of the suspense out of the race.

Q: But didn't you hear James Carville the other day? He said that many people feel similar to what you described and that's dangerous because he thinks Democrats could lose.

TAIBBI: Yes, that's possible. But one of the things we have to remember [is] I think we all in the media get caught up in this. There are very few political taboos in American journalism. But there are a lot of commercial taboos, and one of the big ones is you can never say that something is a foregone conclusion. It's our job in the media to try to drum up interest in this. We have to sell advertisers and we have to get viewers and ratings.

So we can't just come out and say that this thing is over six months before it happens. So there's a strong incentive by all the pundits, including people like me, to come out and say "Well, this could happen, that could happen." Romney has a legitimate chance - it's just a subconscious poll that works in all of us in the media that drives us to make those kinds of comments, I think.

[But] it's still the presidential election, it's the most powerful office in the world. There's always going to be some kind of drama about it. And there's quite a lot at stake and I'm sure we'll come up with something that will make it interesting before the end.

But this election feels a lot like 2004, when you had a very powerful and relatively popular incumbent and kind of an uninspiring challenger who was nominated reluctantly by his own party, all which leads to an anti-climatic ending. And I think that's where we're headed for in this race.

Read more from Matt Taibbi

Post by:
Topics: Elections • Politics

soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. .

    Only a pinhead like Zakaria can think this is a boring election. America is at the crossroads. We either re-elect Barack Obama and follow the path of France, Spain, Greece, the UK, Italy and all the other failed European quasi socialist states, or we decide it's time to get back to doing what America does best - growing an economy where people can find real jobs in the private sector, with a limited and balanced public sector.

    The voters in Wisconsin got it right.

    June 19, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Reply
  2. Lee Oates

    One of the most serious problems in the US at the moment is the blatant attempt by the Republicans to steal the election through voter suppression nation-wise, with the most outragous being in Ohio. This poses a huge danger to the concept of a free America and affects all of America. I suggest a nation-wide movement of demonstrations [peaceful] to protest these attempts at voter suppressions as quickly as possible. Perhaps starting on Sunday (Sept 2, 2012), Lets see if there are any real Americans left. Please pass this message on to every internet activity you can. We can show the power of free Americans and communications.

    August 27, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Reply
  3. Cisco Switches

    Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Very helpful information specifically the closing part 🙂 I maintain such information much. I was seeking this particular information for a very lengthy time. Thanks and best of luck.

    September 5, 2012 at 6:39 am | Reply
1 2

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.