The long-building trend toward coverage of the presidency and politics as pure sport has reached absurd levels. Obama makes fun of this, as he did in his recent speech at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, when he displayed a series of mock headlines, summing up how Politico might have covered great debates of the past, including this one: LINCOLN SAVES UNION, BUT CAN HE SAVE HOUSE MAJORITY? As images flashed on giant screens in the Washington Hilton ballroom, Obama added, “I don’t know if you can see, there’s a little portion there. ‘He’s lost the southern white vote.’ It’s an astute analysis.” The nomenclature of the reigning political chatfests and tip sheets says it all: Hardball, Playbook, The Daily Rundown. Forget Congressional Quarterly. It’s the Daily Racing Form. “The whole town is kind of in the thrall, in the grips, of A.D.D.,” David Axelrod says. “It’s hard to keep anyone’s attention focused on anything, and everything is judged through the prism of what this means for the election next November.”
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