John & Al, Paris & Nicole

All politicians “play to the base”, making occasional outrageous statements that engage and excite their core constituencies, but won’t necessarily help them with the electorate as a whole.
At some point, though, you have to begin suspecting that a politician may no longer even be trying to win elections, but rather has crossed over into a continual base-appeasing mode that guarantees sufficient attention to fund ongoing campaigns, without any particular regard for whether or not any will ever be successful. The process of campaigning has become an end in itself; a permanent job description, rather than a step towards actual elected office.
Today’s example: Kerry’s call for a fillibuster on Alito’s nomination.
Kerry has become the Paris Hilton to Al Gore’s Nicole Ritchie on the stage of American politics: creatures whose fame has become self-sustaining; and who remain in the public eye not because of any achievement or acumen, but who are simply famous for being famous.

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