So here is the situation that Republicans in New Hampshire face on Tuesday: Do we elect the jock or the overachiever? Do we go with cool and confident, or cautious and competent?
The "jock," of course, is John McCain, and the "overachiever" Mitt Romney, and that is "the thing you need to know": which flawed high school stereotype they would fit into best. Not such droll minutiae as which candidates want to keep our soldiers in Iraq until the next century, or which one thinks we should spend countless billions of dollars deporting the millions of people who had the audacity to seek out the American Dream before sitting through all 4 CDs of the Living Languages English series, or which one thinks we should bet our Social Security checks on the stock market.
To Michael Scherer, TIME Magazine, and much of our press, policy is boring and political philosophy is irrelevant and you're probably too stupid to understand it anyway and Lord knows it would suck for them to have to sit you down and explain it to you! They'll make sure to use small words and simple, easy-to-understand metaphors that you can understand.
So remember: John McCain is cool, we all like him, he's the big strong quarterback that's a smooth talker and scores the hot chicks. Mitt Romney is a nerd. Like "Honors Calculus" nerd. Loves homework and academic decathlon and plays french horn in band. Now who do you want to vote for?