Dating to the beginning of the cycle, 2012 has unfolded so far as a grinding, joyless slog, falling short in every respect of the larger-than-life personalities and debates of the 2008 campaign. – The 2012 campaign is the smallest ever

THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION year is unfolding pretty much how it deserves to and an article today in Politico pegs it perfectly. This election cycle reveals the paucity of inspiration in our politics today. Nothing big, incremental band-aids and gimmicks, no long-term strategy or inspirational goals, with negativity, surliness and rude insults to mark what leadership looks like today.

Mitt Romney won’t say a word about what he’d actually do as president, because he’s afraid of scaring voters.

Barack Obama is attempting to continue to excite the traditional Democratic base, but has no larger vision for the country.

Meanwhile, the American public watch the spectacle and get barraged by negative ads from both sides, something that always depresses the vote, especially among single women.

Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, neither leader representing the big two parties is revealing a burning joy and sense of purpose to his candidacy.

“For the first time in my memory, we have a presidential race in which neither one of these candidates really likes to campaign,” added Dan Rather, the longtime national news anchor who now hosts HDNet’s “Dan Rather Reports.” “They’re not naturals like a Ronald Reagan or a Bill Clinton. I can’t remember a race in my lifetime when you had candidates in both parties who didn’t really like to campaign.”

[…] “You have not just a 24-hour news cycle but a deadline every nanosecond. “¦ So much of the reporting focuses on who said what in the last five minutes and who said what in response to that,” he explained, musing that the tenor of the race could change after Labor Day. “I think reporters, together with the inaccessibility of candidates, get caught up in a kind of ennui, if you will ““ it’s probably the only French word you’ll ever hear me use ““ and we are only in June.”

As for enthusiasm for this year’s election, it’s non-existent when you talk to hard core activists. It replicates the lack of enthusiasm most American voters have for their own party, regardless of which of the big two it is.

“The campaign also feels old already, even though it’s early in the general election,” McKinnon added. “Usually there’s more suspense, excitement, buildup and lofty feeling to the beginning of the campaigns. But I sense that voters and the press feel like the thrill is already gone and they are settling for a long, suffering campaign.”

Charles Krauthammer agrees, also saying “neither party is fielding its best candidate, although it’s quite true that the parties rarely do.” That certainly applies to Republicans, but on the Democratic side there’s no one else in sight.

“There’s a kind of perfection of technique: war-room atmosphere; unprecedented abundance of polls; unprecedented funds to do polling, analysis, focus groups, etc. Technique has so far outrun substance that, in and of itself, it produces this tit-for-tat, ping-pong, almost hourly back-and-forth,” Krauthammer said. “The substance of this campaign remains basically the same as every campaign back to the Estates General of 1789. What these new techniques do to political campaigns is analogous to what the Internet and Twitter do to normal discourse: exponentially increase the ratio of speed to substance.”

The only thing that seems to excite Obama or Romney are fundraisers.

The campaign of 2012 is exactly what the American voter deserves for putting up with the buying of the presidency, because most are too lazy to take their citizenry seriously. With each passing year the American electorate has allowed there to be a bigger and bigger gap between them and the people they elect.

The Tea Party was a stab at responding to the situation on the Republican side.

Nobody on the progressive side has made a move. They’re evidently just hunky dory with the status quo, but then they’re side owns the presidency, with Pres. Obama making executive decisions that appease progressives, even if there is nothing being done by the President that offers a vision for the future and a plan to make America the economic engine it once was, that is, beyond consumption.

In fact, both the Democratic and Republican parties have embraced tax cuts and the “grand bargain” as solutions, bringing the big two closer and closer to one another, except on issues where the executive order has become king. Nobody is talking about energy independence and a national movement to connect all cities with high speech rails and trains to change our energy challenges. Nobody is talking about reinvesting in American infrastructure.

The biggest thing missing is risk and challenge. John F. Kennedy risked a lot by challenging our nation to go to the moon. Our politicians today won’t take a risk or dare to challenge us in any meaningful way unless they first run a poll. Because of this there is no hope of us all coming together to do anything that would benefit the common purpose of this country and lift everyone up together in one voice.