The old maxim "all politics is local" hasn't held true in the 2008 election season. Despite the potential for Democratic landslide victories in the Senate and House of Representatives, you hear little except the latest back-and-forth between Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama. Republicans have tried desperately to localize each Congressional race and deflect attention from their unpopular President. But polls showing their incumbents in trouble suggest they have not succeeded.
Today's media climate works against politicians who want to focus on local issues. All-day cable news networks have cut into the demand for local news broadcasts. Struggling newspapers add commentary on national and world affairs, not more local reporting. Candidates for local races can't afford major media advertisements, and they labor to attract attention from the dwindling number of small-scale newspapers and radio stations. And yet local politicians are the ones who set sales-tax rates, allocate funds for ...1