On Beltway Insiders and Public Attention Spans
As a DC resident, I know that most of the sins that supposedly stem from nefarious Beltway Insiders have other, more specific causes. There’s a kernel of truth within Beltway bashing, though: people here have an outrageously skewed view of how most of the rest of the country consumes political news. Whereas a campaign’s font change or a subcommittee shuffle sets District politicos atwitter, most of the country is, well, doing other stuff. They don’t much care about the merits of Luke Russert’s rise at NBC (insofar as they are aware that he is: 1) at NBC, and 2) rising there). It takes a considerable amount of effort to get them to care for long about Bullygate or Obama’s Russian secrets.
This means (obviously) that most of the GOP primary flareups—e.g. moon bases, dogs on roofs, and the merits of letting uninsured Americans die of treatable illnesses—probably don’t matter. Probably. Most Americans don’t start paying serious attention to the presidential campaign until the party conventions (at the very earliest).
And that brings me to my point: as a guy who hasn’t left the Beltway in a few months, I’d love to hear League readers’ take on the top three early season moments that stand to actually matter as the general election kicks off. Which pre-convention flareups will the campaigns and Super PACs force into the public debate?
Conor Williams is a freelance writer. Past work published by The Run of Play, Dissent, The Washington Post, The Center for American Progress, and elsewhere. See more at http://www.conorpwilliams.com, on Twitter: @conorpwilliams, or on Facebook.