'How Television Turned Off Politics'

Sam Smith for Progressive Review, on Obama and Romney after Debate #1:

And now we find ourselves being asked to choose between two television personalities. We are not being asked which one has the best policy for Afghanistan, climate change, foreclosures or the forty year failed war on drugs, but which one put on the best show in a national debate inundated with hyperbole, deceit, and abstract clichés. Which one seemed most clever, determined and willing to take on his opponent, even if much of what he said was false.

Romney stood up there with his smug, fixed smile – a cross between Jerry Falwell and the guy who sells you a vegetable slicer for $19.95 on Channel 52. Romney probably told more lies in less time than any presidential candidate in history, but in the embedded media’s view was that he did it well and that’s what we want these days.

After the debate last week, I tweeted that these things are nothing more than popularity contests. They’re American Idol for politicians. Effectively, both candidates mug for the camera in hopes of getting people to like them. That's it -- nothing more, nothing less. It's political entertainment.

Overall, a fantastic post, as always, by Smith. Smart analysis that had me nodding my head all the way.