For years now, the political and media power brokers who really govern this country have underestimated the depth of political alienation and anger among the American people. They just keep interviewing and quoting one another, carefully selecting their "expert analysts," and then telling the rest of us what informed opinion is on a whole variety of issues.
The media decide which people, groups, and opinions to make recognizable to the American public, and then they conduct their own polls to see which are most recognizable. They call that public opinion, and then have the audacity to say they're just following it.
Enough! screams a rapidly increasing number of Americans around the country. They feel the self-serving elites that run the country are ruining it and have created a political system that is completely out of touch with ordinary people. Powerful vested interests, the expense of political campaigns, image makers, political handlers, negative campaigning and attack ads, television sound bites, and poll-driven politics all combine to institutionalize a process run by insiders and characterized by deception and hypocrisy.
In the face of massive political disaffection, it is clear that most of our politicians and media personalities still don't get it. It is the year of the outsider, the media announce in one more sound bite, and all the candidates--including the quintessential manager of the system, George Bush--say they too have a message of change and are running against Washington. But--from official Washington's point of view--an alarming number of voters are finding such pretensions absurd and disgusting.