Presidential Race: Reject the Politics of Umbrage

Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page says he's fed up with manufactured outrage and refuses to get excited about headline-grabbing political stories that he calls "cable catnip."

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Ted Nugent (Getty Images)

In his Chicago Tribune column, Clarence Page says he's fed up with manufactured outrage and refuses to get excited about headline-grabbing political stories that he calls "cable catnip."

I refuse, for example, to get all worked up over Ted Nugent. Sure, he's a blight on decent society for his recent rant about President Barack Obama that earned him a sit-down with Secret Service agents. His fiery remarks at the National Rifle Association convention in St. Louis came close to calling for violence against the president. Not cool ...

That's how the politics of umbrage operate. When voters are upset with your side, try to feed their outrage about the other side. When the other side is not committing a serious scandal, manufacture some outrage over some other alleged offense.

Much of this inflated umbrage amounts to what NBC's Chuck Todd has called “cable catnip,” the sort of pulse-pounding dust-ups that feed our daily media appetites without amounting to much significance when votes finally are cast.

By that standard, the recent redbaiting offenses of Rep. Allen West are a more serious matter ... he's a lawmaker who has turned on his fellow House members with unfounded attacks on their character and patriotism.

Read Clarence Page's entire column at the Chicago Tribune.

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