Primary Shallows

The pundits' obsession with fads and polls means they miss the bigger story

Illustration by Gluekit for TIME

Autumn in new England is a season for the manic: Days of steel drizzle are suddenly pierced by blazes of sunshine and sugar maples, blood pressure rises and falls in unison with box scores, and in New Hampshire, the attention of political reporters pulsates with the emotional stability of a 14-year-old.

They swoon. They court. They fall hard for this week's popular candidate, then discard him the next. They embrace tiny changes in momentum as if they were crowning a new homecoming queen. Palin! Trump! Daniels! Jeb! Bachmann! Perry! Cain! Recently, they were hoping that Chris Christie might finally ask them...

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