Circus Maximus

I started listening to XM Radio’s “POTUS ’08” station early in 2008 during the runup to the elections. I’ll spare you the rant over how the station was gutted pretty much immediately afterwards, but the bottom line is that I was fascinated at all of the sausage-making and inside-baseball that went on behind the scenes, and comparing it to how other radio stations were covering the primaries and the campaigns was an eye-opening astonishment.

POTUS went incredibly deep into the campaigns, detailing without bias what each side was doing when they took a course of action. I was hooked instantly– there was finally a station and service devoted to a centrist, honest, truly fair look at all sides of the election, and I loved it. It was the pinnacle of my idealized coverage: give the voters all the facts, don’t sugar-coat or condescend, and let the voters make actual informed decisions rather than gut-feeling rolls of the dice. While I have some issues with how the station is being run now– in particular I dislike the afternoon call-in show, because a) centrism doesn’t need a pulpit-beater like Pete Dominick, and b) I hate call-in shows anyway– I still think it’s a great way to get accurate information about the campaign. I’m like as not to continue to pay for satellite radio specifically for POTUS, because there’s f%$#-all in terms of a centrist viewpoint on terrestrial airwaves. But that’s not my point today.

A couple weeks ago, Senator John McCain– a man who, while I disagree with him on a great many things, I respect greatly for his behavior during the conclusion of his 2008 presidency campaign– noted that this was the ugliest primary race for the Republican nomination in his memory, and that it was doing little but to divide his party. Meanwhile, other Republicans were saying that the protracted bullfight between the front-runners is a good thing, because it keeps the campaign in the media.

I’m starting to think that certain political analysts are confusing the campaign for the Presidency of the United States of America with a season of Survivor.