When political junkies need a little detox
IS THERE A 12-step program for people who've become addicted to the now finished Democratic primary fight? I know there are some people out there saying, "Oh, thank goodness this is over. I'm so sick of this campaign."
IS THERE A 12-step program for people who've become addicted to the now finished Democratic primary fight?
I know there are some people out there saying, "Oh, thank goodness this is over. I'm so sick of this campaign."
Go back to weekends at the beach, the latest David Sedaris book, "Desperate Housewives" reruns instead of desperate candidates, movies, baseball games and cooking whole meals rather than relying on junk food.
For me, though, the end has left me in withdrawal. I know that there's still a general election to go, but it just won't have the same kind of drama.
It'll be a broken record: "He's George Bush's third term, He's got no experience, He's too old, He's too young."
What are the symptoms of my addiction? I wake up first thing in the morning and watch "Morning Joe" on MSNBC - I even watched it when it was just Mika because Joe Scarborough was with his pregnant wife in Florida.
Then, at work, I play videos of what I missed on the computer and search YouTube for the latest videos of gaffes and new songs. I swoon at just the sound of the voices of David Gregory, Andrea Mitchell, Tim Russert, Donna Brazile, David Axelrod and Howard Wolfson.
I was entranced by the soap opera of Hillary's dysfunctional campaign organization and debates over whether we like Michelle or not (loved when Mark Penn got booted - love Michelle and think it's brilliant that she's going to co-host "The View").
I realized I had a serious problem when I found myself using the term "narrative" in describing a situation at home, and using other jargon that's emerged in this campaign.
Just the thought of a June and July without the campaign immersion gives me the shakes.
Maybe some of you are feeling the same way. I doubt I'll get to 12, but here are some steps that might help us.
1. Admit that you have an addiction, a disease, and that it's devalued your life.
2. Make a list of the many things that are more important than political voyeurism and try to exert energy on the most distracting diversions.
3. Make a list of all the people you have ignored these many months - your spouses, children, parents and friends - and pledge to make amends.
4. Recruit a mentor who you can call on when you are on the brink of watching a pre-Super Tuesday debate that you still have on TiVo or before you get on the Politico blog.
5. Get rid of any toys you've purchased that enable you to pretend that you are part of the process - a podium, a TelePrompTer, an avatar of a campaign manager and the like.
6. Find another addiction, hopefully one that is legal and won't continue to cause pain to others you love.
7. Console yourself, knowing that come August with the conventions and then the fall campaign, you'll be able to have more lost weekends and plunge back into your addiction. They will be days of wine and roses.
THERE ARE, of course, worse things than being a political junkie. The fact that there are so many of us speaks volumes about how the energy of this campaign is making our democracy stronger. *
Anthony Green has been involved in public service and politics most of his adult career.