One of the most interesting phenomena in US politics at the moment is the extent to which pundits are blurring the line between commentary and political involvement.
It's a phenomenon that leading Democrats are encouraging. The White House, for example, is promoting the idea that popular talk radio host, Rush Limbaugh, is the real leader of the Republicans. They calculate that any association of his strong views will alienate moderate voters from the GOP.
Laura Ingraham, another top conservative radio star, is promoting a 'Ten for '10' list of policy objectives for candidates standing in next year's elections. She'll endorse candidates who sign up. A number already have, including Senator Jim DeMint and Steve Forbes. Fox News star Sean Hannity also has a list of ten issues. They include "keeping Gitmo open" and "expand[ing] coal mining".
The hottest right-wing star at the moment is another Fox News star, Glenn Beck. He is currently touring the country to sell-out crowds promoting his latest book, Arguing With Idiots. Beck famously told Fox viewers that Barack Obama hated white people:
As the internet develops we will see more blurring of the lines between media entities and political parties. The monopoly on comment is already broken. The conventional parties' monopolies of political fundraising and of running slates of candidates will be broken too as the barriers to entry get lower and lower. Moderate Republicans fear that the 'Coulterisation' of their party will accelerate with loud and hardline voices damaging their party's prospects.
As the Left rebuilds on the internet in Britain – following a likely defeat next year – Labour may be pulled from the centre by its own populist voices.