It also makes for terrific theatre.
The entertainment value of politics corrupts the process by making it about the viewer rather than the results, and then by making those viewers who fill the role of critics, the commentators and pundits, the central participants. From there we get to a truly destructive shorthand in political discourse: the idea that a single, linear range of opinions and solutions, as determined primarily by "respectable" opinion, constitutes the sole acceptable source for policy.
|By Marc Nozell, |
modified by Mike.lifeguard CC BY 2.0
|By Michael Vadon CC BY-SA 2.0|
The linear view of politics and policy does its worst mischief by replacing the only measure of success that ultimately matters, the difference a policy makes in the lives of actual people, with acceptance, approbation, and compromise. Where a middle way actually leads depends on its merits as a solution, and nothing else: certainly, not its status as the middle of an artificial and too easily manipulated imaginary line.