What kind of general election coverage can we expect?

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A few days ago, the inestimable Dr. Krugman built a time machine to take us back to those halcyon days of 2000 when it seemed like the only difference between the Democratic and Republican candidates was the way they were caricatured on Saturday Night Live (of course, Ferrell’s Bush killed Hammond’s Gore).

Admittedly, 2000 was right before my great awakening to all things politics which occurred when I went from zero to 100 by jumping on a campaign in 2003 without ever having voted before. My memories of the 2000 presidential race fit right along with this snippet that Dr. Krugman revisited:

Here’s a sample from the time:

George W. Bush and Al Gore have been campaigning for months, spotlighting the differences they offer voters. But when it comes to the policies they believe will keep Americans employed and the nation prosperous, they could just as well be running on the same ticket.

‘’This election reminds me of the elections in the late 19th century when nobody remembers who those candidates were and who those presidents were, when the parties looked more alike than they were different,’’ says presidential historian Robert Dallek, author of Hail to the Chief: The Making and Unmaking of American Presidents. ‘’Of course, it’s vastly different given the kind of global involvements the United States has and the enormous power of this country. But for all that, there are echoes of that time.’’

Face it.  We were all fat and happy after a decade of growth and an internet economy that promised to make recessions a thing of the past.  Terrorists were crazy guys in the mountains of some unpronounceable territory who could never get close to us and the Russians were our bitter rivals turned hard luck friends.  Without much to get us or our crack corps of professional journalists riled up and with little or no blogosphere to speak of, it was easy for us to see the election as a couple of middle aged, boring white guys with no ideas other than “don’t screw this up.”

And we elected the guy who screwed it up.  It essentially came down to a coin toss for a lot of voters and the coin came up Bush just a few too many times.

I promise to vote this time around.  Can you all promise that we won’t elect the one who will screw it up more?

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