POLITICS
03/03/2011 06:58 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Late Returns: 2012 Campaign Coverage Will Ruin Your Life (If You'd Only Let It)

Over at the Awl, Ben Dolnick (whose new novel, You Know Who You Are, comes out later the month) writes, "I Know The 2012 Election Will Destroy My Life," in that he's poised to become a "Politico-reading, blog-commenting, Sunday-show-watching lunatic."

"I dread the coming darkness," says Dolnick.

Pretty soon a couple of things happen:

First, your mind begins to become about as habitable as a pinball machine. Morning newspaper stories lead seamlessly to midday Huffington Post talk-show clips which lead to evening panel discussions which must of course be lampooned on "The Daily Show" and "Colbert." Your brain is twitching with informed-ness; you dreams are full of indignation and Breaking News Alerts.

And second--and this I think is harder to accept--your level of political understanding actually decreases. Are you familiar with the Laffer curve? In the 1970s, a man named Arthur Laffer apparently scribbled a simple graph on the back of a napkin showing that tax rates, increased past a certain point, actually decrease government revenue. I can work myself into a lather arguing about why this curve has no bearing on our present economic situation, but I find myself arguing here for the existence of a different kind of Laffer Curve, one to do not with taxes but with political informed-ness. And we, who have opinions about the reliability of various polling outfits, who believe it's perfectly reasonable to watch C-SPAN in the middle of a Saturday afternoon, are well past its apex. A nine-year-old on the street, his brain free of conflicting data and nervous-making on-the-ground reports, may well have a clearer sense of where the presidential race stands at any given moment than a twenty-something newshound tapping away at his iPhone.

Go read the whole thing.

_________________________

- If you were worried what Newt Gingrich was going to do for money now that he's been suspended by Fox, fret not! Apparently, Gingrich has 25 other sources of income. [CNN]

- Rick Santorum is going for the early primary trifecta next week with visits to Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. It's like he's on a Crusade, or something! [The Hill]

- Is it too early for a 2013 SPECULATRON UPDATE ALERT? Here goes: Will Eliot Spitzer run for mayor of New York? And will he run against former NYSE head Dick Grasso? And if so, what will CNN fill the hour currently devoted to Spitzer's revamped, Parker-less show, "In The Arena?" (ANSWER: Probably screensavers of kittens.) [New York Post]

- Now Utah wants to destroy the GOP primary calendar. [Ben Smith]

- A new Quinnipiac poll finds that many of the people who dislike Obama's policies would still, like, totally hang out with him and stuff. [Political Wire]

- Newt Gingrich has got a website! So we'll mark the occasion with Ryan Adams' famous song about getting a website, "Look Who Got A Website." Enjoy (if you can, a lot of people think this song is terrible)!

[Would you like to follow me on Twitter? Because why not? Also, please send tips to tv@huffingtonpost.com -- learn more about our media monitoring project here.]