All the top pundits in the talking head business say this presidential election was totally lame, riddled with "smallness," lacking "bigness," focused on petty complaints instead of big issues. What planet are they on? This election has been about the most basic question facing human society -- how to divide resources on a large scale -- and, if that weren't a big enough question, the race briefly centered on the problem of evil in a world created by a benevolent and omnipotent God. There are no bigger debates than that.
It's understandable why the "smallness" complaint is fashionable. You can pander to readers -- you're so smart! the candidates just didn't know how to talk to you! -- without sounding partisan. Look how viral the smallness is:
- "The 2012 election will be remembered by history for its smallness in a big, historic moment," Politico's Jim Vandehei and Mike Allen wrote Sunday.
- "The arguments were small... The playing field was small...Most of all, the leading actors were small..." Politico's John F. Harris and Jonathan Martin argued Tuesday.
- "The nearer this campaign has come to its end, the more devoid of substance it has become," Michael Gerson writes at The Washington Post.
- "Neither man ran a campaign worthy of himself, of the country, or of the scale of the challenges the country faces," New York's Jon Heilemann wrote this week.
- "In a better world, the campaign would have focused on rival ideas" for dealing with the economic slowdown and the national debt, The Washington Post's Robert J. Samuelson said. "It didn’t."
- "[W]ith what should be a big vision election, with all the economic questions America faces, we are seeing a small idea campaign," Joel Braunold wrote at Progressonline in June. He tweeted that he was "reupping" it on Tuesday, apparently because four months of election news did not change his argument. At least Politico had the decency to rewrite its June article, "The 2012 campaign is the smallest ever."