Clearly, there is money to be made by the media (CNN, MSNBC, Fox, etc) in reporting on public policy debates as if it’s a sporting event. Two teams, one with red jerseys, one with blue, battling it out with radically different strategies… One person runs a racist ad, another sleeps with a prostitute, the next makes a veiled threat of an armed revolution…
Maybe taking the sportscaster view is harmless “fun” during campaign season, but when actual multi-billion dollar decisions are on the line in congress, politics cannot be treated like a game.
The recent growing Republican threat to shut down the government is just another element of the game that the media and the politicians have been playing. Both sides are making accusation and posturing (through sheep-like repetition of talking points) in order to spin, spin, spin whatever the chaos of a substance-free media-driven debate leads to. I have not heard an honest respectful debate about the costs and benefits of various government programs yet.
I do feel that the Democrats are trying to have such a debate, but too easily give into political mud-slinging. I saw a poll that showed 52% of Democrats in America would like to see their party compromise with the other side, while only 18% of Republicans want to see compromise. That’s a big and important difference. Nevertheless, both sides are too weak-spined to ignore the inner-sheep and stand on their own in a careful deliberation of the importance of programs like Medicare and Social Security in the America of the 21st century.