Less than three years ago, Rick Perry showed himself to be an extraordinarily bad campaigner with a tin ear for retail politics. Yet today, Perry is touted by the Beltway press as a "handsome" and "underrated" campaigner who stands poised for greatness in the next presidential campaign. Somewhere Al Gore must be shaking his head.
The news regarding the Star-Ledger isn't just about the challenges New Jersey's largest newspaper faces with a newsroom one-third its previous size. The larger question is what happens to newsgathering, and what happens to a democracy, when the cutbacks show no signs of abating while super-donor forces in politics exert unprecedented influence?
Increasingly reliant on bad fringe actors like Nugent to connect with their far, far-right audience, the conservative media have built up Obama-bashing personalities who no longer occupy any corner of the American mainstream. Yet Nugent enjoys deep ties with Republican campaigns all across the country. When those ties receive media scrutiny, they cannot be defended.