Monday, November 28, 2011

Quote of the Day


"A Gingrich presidency, if such a thing can even be imagined, would be a chaotic catastrophe. A Gingrich nomination would yield an Obama landslide."

-- David Frum

This is a pretty succinct assessment of Newt Gingrich's entire ego-trip of a candidacy, to say nothing of that candidacy's laughable recent elevation by a Republican party desperate to vote for anybody but Mitt Romney. From the same source that linked to the above quote -- a post in the Daily Beast -- Andrew Sullivan points out the most important element to Newt's sudden rise in the polls, and it speaks volumes about what's truly important these days: timing.

"His timing is pretty good: better to be on the rise a month before the voting begins rather than two months before. And the hardcore base doesn't have many other places to seek refuge."

It's true that if the GOP had a singularly fantastic candidate to get behind, it'd be less likely to play the field as if it were one of the Sex and the City girls, eventually awakening to the cold light of day and being forced to take a Sisyphean walk of shame, over and over again. But there might be a bigger point to be made about Republican indecision and what it says about us as a media-shaped culture. I've mentioned this before, but we now live in a world where our attention spans are shrinking rapidly, largely due to the rapid-fire nature of our media. News cycles are dwindling down to hours instead of days. Zeitgeists come and go seemingly in an instant. You can go from nobody, to viral sensation, to the target of a harsh backlash in the span of a couple of days. We no longer have the will to stick with a message that's longer than 140-characters.

We're constantly looking for the next thing, particularly if we're not 100% satisfied with the thing we already have.

I think what this means for politics is that it's no longer important to be steadfast as a candidate or in message; the most vital thing is to be constantly evolving and staying one step ahead of media obsolescence, and that's much easier said than done. The reality is that everything -- everything -- becomes old news after a very short time these days and even the most media-savvy can trip up and lose momentum or find that no matter what they do, it's not enough to hold the interest of a public suffering, en masse, from ADD. The end result then becomes that politics is a game of musical chairs: whoever happens to be on top of the media cycle when the music stops wins.

How do we know our attention spans are shrinking, that vast swaths of our culture have turned into Lenny from Memento? Newt Gingrich -- a guy who just a few months ago was declared DOA because of a series of monumental screw-ups, a guy with a long history of personal and professional baggage that should doom any political aspirations he might have from the very start -- is now the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination.

7 comments:

Marsupialus said...

I pray for Newt's candidacy. He's the perfect face of the modern Republican party. Openly corrupt with a veneer of intellectualism. A serial adulterer who says do as I say not as I do. Delightful!

IrishGirl said...

C'mon Newt! Do us a solid and win.

TheReaperD said...

And the Republican party continues its swirl around the drain.

Jester said...

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/us/republican_presidential_nomination-1452.html

Shows everything you need to know about this topic, to be honest.

Couple of weeks, and the green line will look just like the black, blue, and red lines before it.

Wasn't it you on this very blog over-reacting to the inevitable Perry nomination just a month or so ago? ;-)

Bob Lobaw said...

Some of my more red in the neck friends seem to believe Newt's "intellectualism" would "destroy" the Kenyan Amurrica hater in a debate :P

My TP contacts all seem to believe that the majority of American voters would vote for the Trix rabbit over the "failure" Obama's presidency has offered.

Even with Captain (magic) Underpants, who poses the GOP's best prospect, Obama will need to be caught in a shower with a 12 year old to lose this one.

Marc McKenzie said...

"How do we know our attention spans are shrinking, that vast swaths of our culture have turned into Lenny from Memento? Newt Gingrich -- a guy who just a few months ago was declared DOA because of a series of monumental screw-ups, a guy with a long history of personal and professional baggage that should doom any political aspirations he might have from the very start -- is now the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination."

Love it. Great post, Chez....and sadly, very true.

I mean, even the name of President George W. Bush is being pushed down the memory hole (you know, the guy who left us in this shitty condition); now it's all President Obama's fault, and he could have fixed it all in a flash by banging on the mythical bully pulpit.

Sorry for sounding so crass. It's just that it's incredibly frustrating to see the relentless c*cksuck Gingrich is getting from the MSM. Then again, they did treat him with kid gloves back in the 1990s in regards to his own hypocrisy about Clinton and Lewinsky. Just par for the course, I guess.

Mart said...

Every now and again during commercials I count 1 Mississippi, 2 miss, 3miss to see if the frame changes. Same on music videos, as it is the curse of MTV that championed the lizard brain attention grab technique. Try it - you rarely get to two Mississippi before the flip. Becoming more common on regular shows, especially reality. So yea, I think our attention so\pa