Presidential Race: Reject the Politics of Umbrage


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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