This past week has been a strange one to observe and talk about since we were present at the birth of two new political terms: “Romney Hood” and “Obama-loney.” I have tried to work both terms into my everyday vocabulary. For example, “the weather man was full of Obama-loney when he said there would be no rain on Friday.” Or, “those bankrupt Romney-Hoods at Solyndra got off scott free on the taxpayer’s dime.” Those are just two examples, I’m sure you can coin some more in the comments for our Friday pleasure.
Report on the lamest week in politics from the Washington Post:
In the course of the last week, the following things have occurred:
* Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Mitt Romney hadn’t paid taxes in a decade, but refused to name his source.
* President Obama referred to the Republican presidential nominee as “Romney Hood” because he allegedly robs from the poor to give to the rich.
* Romney dubbed Obama’s alleged exaggerations about his record as “Obama-loney.”
* A Democratic super PAC ran an ad that not-so-subtly suggested that Romney’s actions led to the death of a woman.
* The Romney campaign released an ad accusing Obama of working to “gut” welfare reform, a claim that independent fact-checkers found highly questionable.
To be clear: This has not been a campaign that, to date, has brought out the best in politicians — or the people who cover them. But this week feels as though we have passed from the sort of occasional hijinks that define almost every political campaign and wandered into a downright mean-spirited smallness that seems uniquely ill-suited to the dire situation facing the country. (Fiscal cliff, anyone?)
Sounds like good, clean political fun to me. Launch outrageous allegations, receive outrageous allegations, respond with outrage to the outrageous allegation response.
The answer, of course, lies in the hot and historically slow campaign month of August:
We tend to agree with Matt Bennett, a veteran of the Clinton White House, who suggested that August has traditionally been a time when the smallness of political campaigns comes to the fore.
“August is a bad month for politics,” said Bennett. “Voters aren’t really paying attention, especially during the Olympics, and the campaigns are just vamping as they prepare for the conventions and the fall.”
The campaign has been in what amounts to a holding pattern since the start of the Olympics, which blots out the sun in terms of media coverage (and voter interest) and doesn’t end until Sunday.
Add to that Olympic blackout the fact that we remain in a holding pattern regarding the identity of Romney’s running mate, and you have lots of antsy campaign operatives with nothing better to do than take potshots at one another while almost no real voters are paying attention.
So while everyone is on vacation enjoying anything but the slowest, most grueling campaign days of the summer, the campaigns are free to go hog wild in the media and create something to do for bored, underpaid staffers.
I can’t bring myself to post anymore Romney VP speculation, I just can’t do it!