This is why we can’t have interesting politicians or politics

Vox has a good piece on the mistake that Obama recently made (“Randomgate”) and how the resulting follow on stories about that mistake illustrates why we can’t have interesting politicians. Their conclusion?

Long-term, the problem here isn’t just news consumers find themselves listening to bullshit gaffe stories. It’s that politicians learn the same lessons over and over again: unscripted moments are dangerous and generally to be avoided. Don’t give interviews and don’t stray from talking points.

The media will bemoan lack of access and robotic, scripted answers. But it will also punish deviations from the script. And it will do so in the most trivial ways. No minds were changed during Randomgate and nobody learned anything. A couple of spokespeople had a bad afternoon. Some websites (including this one) got some extra pageviews. And every politician learned to be that much more boring in the future.

I think this way of dealing with politicians doesn’t just make them uninteresting: it also make our politics dumber. Here’s hoping this changes, though if anything, I think it will get worse before it gets better.

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