November 17, 2003

The battle inside…

Jay Rosen
laments a politics that’s "dumber than spam." Having a split
professional personality, I agree 50 percent. The press-politics critic in me
(the scholar part) agrees 100 percent that this is a bad situation:

What you get from a campaign by the numbers is the ads. That

4 Responses

  1. A Politics that is Dumber Than Spam

    When 95 percent of the nation can be ignored by the operatives who run presidential politics, there is something wrong. Yet realism in the press says this is the way it is. Will that continue to be so?

  2. Andrew: Thanks for this analysis, and for uging people to check out PressThink. Now about this: “You can’t lead if you don’t win…Bucking the system, even one dumber than spam, is a sure route to loss of leadership–a form of political death. That’s dumb!”

    There is one outstanding example in American politics that confounds this wisdom, which I would place in the “realism” category. That example is Barry Goldwater. He bucked the system. He lost. But with his insurgent campaign began the rise of the conservative Right based in the South and West; and that party is now triumphant. Those he inspired have won big in the 40 years following his candidacy. Goldwater led. He just didn’t head the government but in the longer term he won.

    Political realism is a form of persuasion; and it does not have absolute validity.

  3. Jay…excellent example. I should have qualified my remarks further. That axiom is purely an expedient (beyond which so many politicians are unable to think). I think Goldwater would have preferred to lead as president. And I’m not sure he could have predicted a long-term good coming from his loss. But, as it turned out, he was able to lead his party and, in time, foment a change in politics.

  4. The Ghost of Democracy Speaks

    Jay Rosen is running the smartest and most provocative blog around these days. His most recent post confirms it. It’s an argument against political realism — the calculation that says only a handful of swing districts matter in elections –…