On ‘real’ politicians

Why fitting into the ‘political spectrum’ isn’t helpful.

In a post here an assistant professor from Seton Hall is quoted as saying “Political events work best when the point of view is clear and consistent,” he says. “But if you notice, both Jon Stewart and Colbert mock people across the entire political spectrum. That doesn’t fit the political event narrative as neatly as a real politician.” I find myself far less struck by the speaker or location of the statement than the less-than-subtle implications inherent in ‘real politician’. While there is certainly the conception that ‘real politicians’ are a type and class of people apart from the hoi polloi, I find the consistent expectation of verdant and vociferous belief in some cause to be at odds with the exodus towards ‘folksy’ elected officials as seen in the rise of many tea party candidate messages. Historical parallels abound, of course, and this is not a new trend, but there is a significant different between ‘momma grizzlies’ and knowing the price of a gallon of milk.

If by ‘real politicians’, the likes of talk-show jockeys Limbaugh, Beck and O’Reilly are implied then clearly politician is merely a synonym for ‘fear mongerer’, which is not necessarily untrue in a great deal of political discourse currently. While both comedians and Murdochian hacks are independently successful, at least one side admits to their farcical nature and for that, I indeed give my time and ear. What I do not understand is how, when the Murdochian cohort responds to statements made by a comedian in an active defense and goes so far as to claim superiority by nature of having more viewers, those viewers fail to recognize the congruency of the two media. I take no issue with an individual’s right to declare whatever they so choose, but ingenuously presenting oneself primarily as a ‘news’ show does cause harm. That Stewart and Colbert hold political and cultural figures accountable without allegiance to a word beginning with D or R, makes them closer to the spiritual forefathers of today’s media, recalling the first part of the seemingly pase cliche ‘investigative journalism’.