Commentary: Political discourse in an online world

Once, not so long ago, serious people decried the reduction and trivialization of political ideas to the level of a bumper sticker. Some days, I long for the coherence, the relevance, the completeness of bumper stickers.

Let's knit together a few of the unraveled threads that have frayed my mind in the past week, shall we?

Thread One: A Colorado congressman who takes pride in his technological savvy claimed partial "credit" for the demise of a newspaper, saying, "Who killed the Rocky Mountain News? We're all part of it, for better or worse, and I argue it's mostly for the better.... The media is dead and long live the new media."

Thread Two: Last week, I started working out again. I can't read when I'm on the elliptical trainer because I bounce up and down too much, so I turn on the television. This gives me an extended exposure to 24/7 TV "news" and its peculiar obsessions, which I normally avoid like a pox. I hear far more than I want to about Rush Limbaugh, who wants the country's leadership to fail, just to prove an ideological point. The president's chief of staff dubs this contemptible entertainer the leader of the president's opposition. Even more absurdly, the actual chief of the opposition party spends breath denying it – and then apologizes for doing so. See why I avoid this stuff?

Thread Three: Two of the most partisan Democrats in the S.C. Senate, John Land and Brad Hutto, introduce a mock resolution to apologize to Rush on behalf of South Carolina so that our state doesn't "miss out on the fad that is sweeping the nation – to openly grovel before the out-spoken radio host." The Republican majority spends little time dismissing the gag, but any time thus spent by anyone was time not spent figuring out how to keep essential state services going in this fiscal crisis.

Thread Four: At midday Thursday I post on my blog a few thoughts about the just-announced candidacy of U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett for governor, and invite readers to share what they think of the Upstate Republican. As of mid-afternoon Friday, there were nine comments on the subject, and three of them were from me. By the same time, there were 66 comments about the Rush Limbaugh flap.

To read the complete column, visit www.thestate.com.