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Joe Klein has your basic must-read column in this week’s Time magazine on Kerry and Bush. Here’s a highlight. But go read the whole thing. Every damn word. When I grow up, I wanna be Joe Klein.
I have never seen a campaign to which the strategies of the two parties are so different and so dreadful. The Republican strategy is to demolish Kerry, posit the President as a man of simple strength, and do everything possible to avoid a discussion of Iraq or the effects of globalization on the American economy. The Kerry strategy is to present an “optimistic” candidate with a “positive plan for the future.” The Kerry consultants who actually believe this claptrap and have zero sense of political theater, sound like a bunch of low-budget Ginzo-knife salesmen when they represent their candidate on television…”

Klein, who does this because he wants to by the way, not because he has to, is rumored to be writing a book about how consultants have ruined politics. I can’t wait.
And while we’re — kind of — on the subject of good, smart political coverage, let me recommend as wholeheartedly as I can, MSNBC’s Keith Olberman’s Countdown.
First of all it’s the news show made for TiVo which has got to be deliberate, particularly for a show run by a sports guy. You can skip stuff and it still makes sense ’cause it’s a countdown.
The fun stuff is well done: Oddball and Keeping Tabs. The serious stuff is, too. Last night and tonight’s interviews with Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democratic Vice Presidential nominee John Edwards are well worth your time. Olberman, who also, it seems, “blogs” the show, says the E. Edwards chat is “all wheat, no chaff” and from what I saw last night, he’s ain’t lying.
Admitting it or not, Olberman — who started as a sports reporter and no, I am not making that up — is running a kind of web log on TV. It’s tightly structured, it’s personal in outlook and bias (he freely admits to voting for Al Gore last time around) but most of all, it’s wicked smart. Watch. or Tivo. It’s the same.

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