There are several reasons why I’m not that eager to go into journalism after college. The total collapse of newspapers as a profitable industry is the main one, and I’ve had a front row seat for that, as both of my parents are journalists.
But another is that, at the highest level, a lot of reporting on news and politics leaves a hell of a lot to be desired. This is perhaps most clear in the election year tradition of the “Veepstakes,” the prolonged selection of a non-incumbent’s vice presidential candidate. This year revolves around Mitt Romney’s decision. Thankfully we don’t have to deal with both candidates conducting searches, as was the case in 2008.
At some level, who Romney ultimately chooses isn’t completely unimportant. A VP nominee historically can improve the performance of his/her party’s ticket by 2-3 points in the veep’s home state. Not monumental, but in a close election, it could end up mattering. And whoever Romney does nominate will have a decent chance of getting elected them self president one day. He will be elevating someone to the national stage who will either become vice president if Romney wins or become a top contender for the 2016 Republican nomination if he doesn’t.
That said, the pointless speculation over who it will actually be (all the rumored finalists really suck by the way) is 1) completely unnecessary and 2) a distraction from what actually matters. And Romney has blatantly been leaking information on who he may be “strongly considering” to deflect attention from the fact that he still (still!) won’t release his tax returns and wants to reveal as little as possible about what he would actually do as president. Even Rick Perry and Brit Hume, hardly rocket scientists, understand this.
So when Politico dedicates an entire section to “The Veep Watch” and Mark Halperin offers his invaluable wisdom on what to watch for in the coming weeks of the story as if he is some grizzled foreign correspondent, it raises questions. And it will raise questions when we have to repeat this idiotic process again in four years.