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August 1, 2014

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Missing Michele Bachmann

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Doc, you’ve got to help me. I miss the presidential campaign.

I didn’t think it was possible. I was so sick of it by the time Election Day came. Jobs, job creators, auto industry, Bain Capital, you-didn’t-build-that, sniping, yelping, whining. Swing states, key precincts, margin of error, Nate Silver, polls. Lord, how I miss endless dissections of polls.

I would turn on the TV, Doc, and there would be all these talking heads yammering at me. The same things, over and over. Then they’d go to commercials and the ads would start. “I’m Barack Obama, and I approved this message.” “I’m Mitt Romney, and I approved this message.” “Paid for by Americans for Truth, Justice and Anonymity.”

I miss Michelle Obama’s vegetables. I miss Ann Romney’s horse.

I thought if I never saw Chuck Todd and his goatee again, it would be too soon. Now I turn on the TV looking for him. Chuck, where art thou?

The “fiscal cliff”? Don’t tell me to obsess over the fiscal cliff instead of the presidential campaign. It’s not even in the same league.

First of all, it’s way too complicated. With a dozen things going wrong all at once, how’s a guy going to keep track? What am I supposed to get the most outraged about? Sequestration? The Medicare doc fix? The alternative minimum tax? I just don’t have enough outrage to go around.

Second, I know that eventually, they’re going to fix it. They can’t really afford to screw around. The front wheels might roll off the cliff, but not the whole wagon.

Don’t tell me Benghazi, either. When I see John McCain and Lindsey Graham on TV, trying to pump air into Benghazi, I think of Statler and Waldorf, the grouchy old Muppets who used to heckle Kermit the Frog.

Who cares if back in September, Susan Rice, the U.N. ambassador, told the Sunday news shows something that wasn’t quite accurate about the attack on the consulate in Benghazi? Either she was fudging for intelligence reasons or she didn’t have the most up-to-date information.

Besides, I can remember when Colin Powell, who was secretary of state, went before the entire United Nations with incontrovertible evidence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. I don’t remember Statler and Waldorf heckling Colin Powell.

And can I tell you something, Doc? On Sunday mornings, I watch ESPN. And I don’t care if Susan Rice becomes secretary of state. She’s not exactly George Marshall.

You know what’s pathetic? Watching the talking heads trying to find some conflict to promote. Back in the good old days, like October, they could foam relentlessly about how the president had choked in the first debate.

And a year ago, wow, it was just a month before the Iowa caucuses. Newt Gingrich was covering ground, boasting, “I’m going to be the nominee.” Lord, how I miss Newt. Now the only time I see him on TV, he’s peddling a historical novel about the battle of Yorktown. Sure, there’s conflict, but we know who won. What am I going to do, root for the British?

For a while, I whiled away a few hours on the David Petraeus-fools-around-on-his-wife saga. I bored into the details about how he would visit various CIA stations around the world and demand fresh sliced pineapple in his quarters at night. I thought maybe we had another fruit-related espionage scandal, like Whittaker Chambers stashing secret papers in a hollowed-out pumpkin.

No such luck. Sometimes a pineapple is just a pineapple. This was just another powerful-man-falls-for-ambitious-younger-woman story, with a pushy-socialite sidebar. Two days, tops.

For a week we had that unpleasantness in Gaza, but I’m an American news consumer, Doc. How many Americans do you think could locate Gaza on a map?

It didn’t develop into a full-blown war, which I suppose is a good thing. And the new president of Egypt was helpful, but he quickly ruined everything by declaring himself to be in charge of everything.

But foreign affairs? Really? The Middle East? Where’s the excitement in that? It’s like the presidential campaign was Thanksgiving and now all we have is leftovers.

I want to see Karl Rove trying to steal Ohio. I want to see David Axelrod promising to shave off his mustache. I want to see Bill Clinton ’splainin’ things to the folks, saving Obama’s bacon, and then Obama completely ignoring him in his victory speech.

But now I see that the Iowa Republican Party is thinking about ending its famous “straw poll” held 15 months before every presidential election. Sure, it’s totally meaningless. Sure, it tends to favor wing-nuts who couldn’t win a general election on a bet. But without it, I’ll have to wait longer to see Chuck Todd analyzing polls again.

Michele Bachmann won last year’s Iowa Straw Poll. God help me, Doc. I miss Michele Bachmann.

Kevin Horrigan is a columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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