Daniel W. Drezner

I don’t want to be a swinger anymore

Because of my jobs, I’ve spent most of my adult life living in some pretty blue states — California, Illinois and Massachusetts.  This has made the Official Blog Wife very happy; it’s made me, on occasion, wistful to live in a place where political campaigns were a more contested affair.  During presidential campaigns, sometimes I would watch ...

Because of my jobs, I’ve spent most of my adult life living in some pretty blue states — California, Illinois and Massachusetts.  This has made the Official Blog Wife very happy; it’s made me, on occasion, wistful to live in a place where political campaigns were a more contested affair.  During presidential campaigns, sometimes I would watch the news coverage of Ohio and think, "oh, to live in a battleground state, where a politician needs to sweat just a bit to get your vote." 

The special election to fill Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat is tomorrow, and polls have show a very tight race between Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown for the past week or so.  If Brown upsets Coakley, the Democrats would lose their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, so the race has significant national implications.  According to the New York Times, it’s suburbs like the one I live in that will prove to be the battleground areas in this campaign.  President Obama was in the state yesterday, and Republican heavyweights have been touring around as well. 

So, as it turns out, I’ve recenty gotten a taste of what this must be like — and Ohio, you can keep your swing state status all to yourself.  I no longer want any part of it. 

For those readers who have never had the privilege of living in a battleground state, let me explain what the experience is like.  Every other television commercial is about the campaign.  Day after day, the race dominates the front page of the newspaper.  Your mailbox is stuffed with fliers for or against one of the candidates.  Your friends and neighbors talk about the campaign — and who you support can affect your friendships.  You can’t escape either the race. 

All of this would be tolerable if it were not for two things.  First, the phone calls.  Over this weekend, by my count, we have received ten phone calls asking us to vote for or against someone, and then a few phone calls on top of that polling us about our voting intentions (weirdest call, hands down, was a recorded message from Pat Boone.  The Official Blog Wife got that call, and the end of it had no idea who Boone wanted her to vote for).  Since these inquiries can’t be put on the Do Not Call list, the phone will not stop ringing. 

Second, the candidates are God awful.  Seriously, they stink.  Just to review our choices:  Democrat Martha Coakley has a prosecutor’s complex that would make Javert seeem like a bleeding-heart liberal.  She is a God-awful politician so out of touch with  reality that she accused Red Sox hero extraordinaire Curt Schilling of being a Yankee fan (Schilling’s blog response is here).  Based on the ads I’ve seen, her campaign has also been, by far, the nastier of the two.

This leaves Republican Scott Brown, who based on his vacuous Boston Globe op-ed, is an empty shirt with no actual policy content whatsoever.  He was in favor of health care reform before he was against it.  He can’t stand the run-up in government debt, and wants to cut taxes across the board to take care of the problem — cause that makes perfect economic sense.   The one thing he is unequivocally for is waterboarding suspected terrorists

Seriously, these are my mainstream choices?  These people are the recipients of all the political firepower both parties can muster?  I’m inundated with 24/7 political blather so I can choose between Nurse Ratched and Bob Roberts?  And I’m a professor of political science — if I’m fed up with the state of this campaign, just imagine how other Massachusetts voters feel. 

Let me assure the rest of the country — whoever wins tomorrow night, it’s not going to be about sending a message to anyone.  The only message that I can detect is, "will every professional politico please get the hell out of this state." 

Ohio, you can keep your swinger status — I want no part of it anymore. 

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