Ezra Klein and Ross Douthat illustrate why talking heads arguing about the party primaries are bad for politics. In the process, they do make some decent points about the 2008 primary season without end.
I’ve actively begun to wonder what country media pundits live in, and for what country. Perhaps, there’s a state loosely associated with my alma mater, or my workplace, and I just continue foolishly to think I’m American. That I live in ROK, and still hold an American passport, let’s put aside. That there’s a “narrative” is very collegiate, but the end of the campaign for me is still universal health care. June, August, November are big marks on the calendar, but I’m not getting younger. The characters in my books don’t age, but my patience does. So, the election is bad for me, not because I’m losing sleep, but because I’m getting nearer to death, and I doubt my books, my alma mater, or even my workplace will give me health insurance. And, I’d like to live with healthy people, too.
Now, to the understated points both did make. Klein glanced over demography. Demography has taken a backseat to character assassination. If Obama loses, it’s because he’s a bad politician. But, it could be that Obama offers people nothing, and Hillary does, and vice versa. The people are still sovereign, and more politician roadkill is no big bummer. There’s nothing sacred about any three of these candidates’ right to run for office. And, if these three were all eliminated (by cardiac or coronary attacks due to over-campaigning), I don’t think the US would suffer. I’d like to think America has a good bench.
Douthat brings up a useful corollary for the Dems to consider about McCain‘s ability to map a demographic strategy watching Clinton and Obama bloody each other. But, again that’s just too cynical.
I really do think, contra-Klein, the best outcome is the best America (resulting from a really solid election) where talking heads sleep all day (Douthat’s Panglossian optimism around 41:00), because there’s no narrative misery to craft. Are these ‘heads really bloggers? Or, are they media? But then, I’m a crazy idealist.