- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Florida small-business owner and mother of three is so worn down with election fatigue - and angry that her regular television viewing has been hijacked - that she may write in Hillary Rodham Clinton’s name Tuesday as she casts a presidential ballot, “purely on the fact that she hasn’t been annoying me for these last few months.”

“I’m over it, done, and Wednesday I just want my life back,” Debbie Mohyla added of the political onslaught that has pervaded the airwaves and news programming. “I’ve had so many people shouting at me from TV and radio and newspapers, there has been no time to just sit and reflect. There have been too many voices telling me what to do.”

Mrs. Mohyla, 41, is among many Americans who are relieved that Election Day is here.

George Heitzman, a retired flight attendant from Salem, Ore., said she and her husband normally receive their mail about 4 p.m. Now, it’s more like 6 or 7 p.m., because of the plethora of direct mail that carriers have to lug.

“My husband went down to the post office and asked the postman what was going on,” she recounted. “He just crossed his arms and said: ‘It’s the election. What to you expect?’ People seem to be blaming everything on the election.

“With the presidential race and all of that, I think it’s been going on far too long.”

Then there’s the money issue. Even with an economy in free fall, political spending continues to rise. Democrat Barack Obama, flexing his fundraising muscle, dumped an estimated $2.4 million into a 30-minute infomercial for his presidential campaign.

But no candidate or party is immune.

Chapel Hill, N.C., bookseller Tim Grant, a 47-year-old Democrat who cast his ballot early, said the vocal intonations of Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin have worn thin.

“Please let her 15 minutes be up,” he said.

Wayne Garcia, a former political consultant and political editor at Creative Loafing magazine, said he penned a cover story this week dubbed “Election Hangover.” Even political junkies, he said, have reached their saturation points.

“Our steady diet of trial lawyer and cell phone advertisements have been pre-empted by John McCain and Barack Obama,” Mr. Garcia said. “I think seriously, it’s both the duration and the intensity of the activity that people are responding to in terms of just complete burnout.”

Cody Fisher, a 22-year-old student at Findlay University in Ohio, said he is tired of the angry tone of some political messages.

“I think I would actually vote on a candidate if they would vow to never sling mud at their opponent,” said Mr. Fisher, an Army veteran. “This election should be about what you are going to do, not what your opponent can’t do.”

Marketers say Americans have tuned in more than ever to politics for the 2008 race. Traffic to online video on popular news sites, video blogs, YouTube and other sites have increased five times since the last presidential election in 2004.

According to a survey of 1,800 registered voters by Cisco Visual Networking and Compete.com, the Internet has come in only second to television in the way political news has been delivered in this cycle.

Mr. Garcia, an advocate of online platforms to deliver political news, said he is ever the optimist, noting that some good has come from the overkill of discourse.

“Nobody ever said democracy was pretty,” he said. “But I do think that we’ve gotten unprecedented amounts of information and most of it was really good. I mean, how many people knew the tax code before now?”

Mrs. Mohyla said she may have learned a thing or two about policy these past few months, but come Wednesday, she will be happily tuning in to her regular television programming.

“I think the only real good programming that has come from this election has been the ‘Saturday Night Live’ prime-time spoofs. That’s the only part of the election I think I’m going to miss.”

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