Elections as a reality show

Elections as a reality show
: A few months ago, FX announced and then dropped American Candidate, a reality show in which a real people would run a shadow presidential campaign. Now Showtime appears ready to pick it up.

But it appears that lawyers and bureaucrats and ruining the show — and taking democracy down with them.

What was great, absolutely great about this idea in its original form was that the winner on the show would run a campaign. And what’s great about that is that the candidates and the media would have to deal with what that person said and thus we, the people could suddenly set the agenda again: We could raise issues without all the constraints of parties, special interests, political correctness, and, frankly, the need to win. It brought populism back to politics.

But now Showtime is going to the FEC to get bureacratic dispensation:

Among the concerns the election commission may address: What if the winner becomes so popular he or she runs for real public office? What if the winner endorses an actual candidate? What if the contestants use their platform to promote or disparage President Bush or his Democratic opponent?

Yeah, and what if they do? What the hell is wrong with any of that? It’s called free speech, you twits. It’s called America. We all have the perfect right to endorse candidates. We all have the right to disparage candidates. Since when did we need to get permission?

“I don’t know what it says about the state of American politics that you might have to get people interested through a reality series,” said Larry Noble, head of the Center for Responsive Politics and former FEC general counsel. “But if it gets more people interested in the real campaign, it’s not a bad thing.”

Now isn’t that a condescending attitude. If people aren’t listening to candidates, could it be that the candidates don’t have anything worthwhile to say? [via Lost Remote]

: More election idiocy: Some stations are refusing to carry Saturday Night Live with Al Sharpton because they fear triggering equal-time rules.