Just what makes a political animal? The recent election showed us many such creatures and gave us the opportunity to observe their frantic machinations up close. They were everywhere: in the Senate, on the campaign trail, in back-room offices, holding forth endlessly on the squawk box. Political animals are equally distributed across the left-to-right spectrum: no one party holds a monopoly on them, or even a majority. And as politics have become bigger business and take up ever-expanding portions of our money and attention, the players have become increasingly apt to see an election, especially the all-important presidential election, as a game in its own right, irrespective of any effects the result might have on human lives and well-being. It’s the means and not the end that obsess these folks. The late and justifiably lamented Tim Russert epitomized the breed: on his Meet the Press, it was customary for the presidential election to start ...