Lou Dobbs

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

My wife, Peggy, and I overdosed on the 2008 election.

Eighteen months ago—with 10 Republicans and eight Democrats vying for their respective nominations—we started slowly. By August of this year, we were hooked. We'd start the day at 6 a.m. watching MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and his happy crew—Mika Brzezinski, Willie Geist, Pat Buchanan, et al. At 1 p.m., over a sandwich in the kitchen, I'd look in on Andrea Mitchell. After work we'd surf the dials, hitting Chris Matthews, David Gregory and Keith Olbermann on MSNBC; Brit Hume and his wonderful roundtable on Fox News; as well as checking in on Wolf Blitzer and Lou Dobbs at CNN. Compared to the energy and excitement of the cable shows, network evening news was a cure for insomnia.

The cable folks parsed every speech, analyzed every gesture, trumpeted every miscue, interviewed everybody and anybody who might shed some light on the outcome, and involved viewers in the minutiae of political campaigning. It was a giggle while it lasted.

Now Obama is in while McCain and Bush are out.

The suspense is gone. Life is normal once again.

So whither cable? Will it wither and die?

Welcome to the new shadow government.

Deep Throat said it all: "Follow the money." Pennsylvania lawmakers want a $11,402 raise--up from the $69,649 per year they get now. Already the fourth highest-paid state legislature in the country, the Keystone state boys and girls would surpass New York ($79,500) and Michigan ($79,600). Only California pays its legislators more-- ($99,000 now, $110,800 come December). The average Pennsylvanian earned $38,532 in 2004. Should lawmakers earn twice the state average and 8-1/2 times the minimum wage of $5.15? Is this not positively indecent? On the other hand, could it be that state legislators and members of Congress are held in such low regard--and accomplish

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