Four Weeks And Counting

In precisely four weeks, we will be sitting in front of our TV sets, watching election returns roll in.  We’ll learn who will be Ohio’s new governor, and whether the Republicans will get control of one or both Houses of Congress, and whether our local library levy passed.

It will be nice to know how it all turns out, but mostly I’ll be feeling a sense of relief — because Election Day means that the blizzard of campaign literature that has been burying us on a daily basis will finally, blessedly, end.  We’ll stop hearing from one side about how our state representative is a tax and spend liberal while the other side says she voted to cut her own pay.  We’ll stop hearing about this candidate is a carpetbagger who won’t even condescend to live in our district and that candidate is an unprincipled hack who was cited for ethics violations in the past.  And we’ll be able to to listen to the radio without hearing announcers talking about the sorry state of the Ohio economy while dramatic music swells in the background, and without hearing candidates who’ve never run a business or met a payroll talk about how they have a plan to “create jobs.”

Election season probably is tremendously exciting for politicians and party operatives, but it is really a bit of a burden for the rest of us.

The Apparent Absence Of Shame

Eliot Spitzer has returned to the public eye as co-host of a CNN show called Parker Spitzer.  The inaugural show aired last night, and I admit that I didn’t watch it.  It sounded like it would be awful, and life is too short to spending watching disgraced politicians make awkward and desperate efforts to resurrect their doomed careers and public personas.

Spitzer’s appearance on TV proves, once again, Kish’s theory that no public figure who is still alive and kicking ever truly leaves the stage.  Their craving for public attention is so great that they will gladly perform on Dancing With The Stars or some fourth-rate “reality show” where they live with one of the grown-up kids from The Brady Bunch or a rehabbing rock star from an ’80s metal band.  They follow a downward spiral of “fame” and “celebrityhood,” rationalizing their appearances on ever-more humiliating shows as one last chance to get back in the public eye and turn their fading public fortunes around.

And so it seemingly is with Spitzer.  It is hard to believe that a crusading former governor who became infamous as “Client 9” and left office in the wake of a prostitution scandal would not be too embarrassed to host a TV show, but shame evidently is an old-fashioned feeling.  CNN, which is desperate for ratings, also feels no shame.  They will air the show, hoping that its weirdness will attract the same kind of viewers who rubberneck on the highway as they pass an accident scene, hoping to see something gruesome that they can talk about with their co-workers.