Howell Raines, the defrocked NY Times editor, writes in portfolio.com about "the poisoned symbiosis between old politics and old media" in which media types lament hardball politics while at the same time secretly admiring its most extreme practitioners, like Karl Rove, who is a major character in the piece. Raines is among those who believe that Obama's candidacy has transformed politics: "You wouldn't know it from the campaign so far, but we may be living at the end of the age of smashmouth media coverage," he writes. I am among those who believe Obama has not transformed anything. My skepticism is not because of Obama; rather, it is because of politics. The imperatives of democratic politics have not changed since Athens engaged in the first experiment of its kind. The best politicians understand this; the rest wish that the world were different.
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