Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Politico, a review

I subjected D.C.'s newest periodical to a harsh criticism a couple of weeks ago, though I heldout the possibility that my scorn was undeserved. Don't worry, it pretty much wasn't. The Politico is the typical, out-of-touch, superfluous D.C. rag that I've become used to. Why we need another one, I don't know, but The Politco's columns include a representative sampling of all of the usual pundit pet causes and analyses: wouldn't it be great to see a bipartisan presidential ticket in '08? (never going to happen, shouldn't happen, and Joe Lieberman and John McCain is hardly bipartisan), a fruitless debate between some guy from the CATO Institute and someone else about whether the West is becoming more libertarian or more liberal, and a fluff piece about 2008 potential candidates' websites.

Politico isn't a lost cause. If nothing else, their inside Congress reporting is useful, because it brings up practical considerations about members of Congress that aren't often raised. An article about the aged Congress ,which looks at the variety of age-related health problems of our elected officials, raises the question of whether a person with chronic health issues can adequately serve:

[S]uggestions that an enfeebled senator consider retirement haven't been broached, even considering the distressing example of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., who spent the final year of his term, at age 100, in and out of Walter Reed Army Medical Center here.

Politico's coverage of lobbyists is also useful, because, as much as we might like to forget it, they are an integral and yet relatively little-publicized part of the policy process. The local beat is the natural terrain of a magazine like Politico, and it should stick to that rather than engage in the type of useless speculation that permeates like oxygen throughout this city.

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