The media has adopted a "game" approach to politics. They tell us who is up, who is down, who is ahead, and who is behind. This approach makes it easy to write about politics, but has absolutely no relation to how politics affects the average American. Indeed, this approach leads to the public thinking that there is no relationship between who is elected and their lives.
The reason why they adopt the "game" approach is that media reporters and commentators are not players in politics in the sense that they get to hold elected office and actually make decisions. They can only report and influence. Such a role really takes on significance when they have elections to report on, which is why they try to make everything about elections and/or campaigns.
They are like sports writers. They love their "game" but don't have the skill, drive, or guts to play it, so they become reporters and cover others. Unlike sports writers, however, they are covering decision makers who have tremendous impact on people's lives.
Every so often an event like Katrina or 9-11 takes place and they are reminded that politics is important not because of who wins or loses but what those winners do with the power they are given. Consequently, for a short time, they cover politics more seriously, but then sooner or later they go back to covering it like a "game."
Another problem is that too many of these commentators and reporters are members of an educated and well-compensated elite of Americans. They don't worry about availability of health insurance, or good schools, or degrading of the environment because they make enough money that they don't have to worry about these things. Consequently they don't push politicians on those issues, instead they focus on sex, (which they apparently obsess over, especially oral sex, ie, Clinton-Lewinsky), and other such scandals.
People want political coverage that they can relate to their lives. They want to know how the decisions made in D.C. affect them, and they want to know what they can do about such decisions. They approach politics not from a "game" theory but from a "governing" theory. They are, however, not getting such journalism from the media.
We are not sure what we can do about this state of affairs, other than start and encourage our own media outlets. Outlets that will relate political decisions to the lives of Americans.
MCDAC gives permission for the reprinting of the above without attribution.