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Election reality cools a nightly TV tryst

Liz Siegel is a reality TV writer-producer living in Los Angeles.

The ultimate reality show has finally ended. The Republicans have been voted the sole Survivors while the Kerry camp is packing up its tents and leaving Campaign Island. As a Democrat with a heavy heart, I realize that the time has come for me to break up my yearlong relationship with you, Chris Matthews.

Our “Hardball” romance has been going steady throughout this political season. The seeds of seduction were planted during the primary campaign and the winter of our discontent. The relationship heated up in the summer of love during the Democratic Convention and finally cooled off on a sad November day last week with a fall from grace.

Throughout the changing political climate, you talked the tough talk and, in your Alpha male, apoplectic way, made me care about politics in a way I’ve never cared before.

Behind your journalistic impartiality and terrier-like tenacity, I knew you were pulling for our side, and I tuned into MSNBC night after night to watch you roar. I saw the look in your eyes Tuesday night when Ohio fell to the mighty Right. And then, Chris, I knew it was over. Not just for John Kerry and John Edwards, but for me and you and our nightly television tryst.

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Sure, I still have Keith Olbermann and Jon Stewart to make me chuckle now and then at the day’s headlines. But you, Chris, were my political passion, and now, sadly, I have to say goodbye.

It’s not you, Chris, it’s me. I can’t bear to watch the pundits and their prattling post-mortem. The hangdog faces on the Democratic spin doctors with their shoulda, woulda, couldas make me want to cry. And the inevitable gloating of the other side makes me want to scream.

In the end, it all comes down to this. We, the liberal Democrats of the female persuasion, the Chardonnay-drinking, latte-sipping tree-huggers on the left, will pick ourselves up by our Charles David bootstraps and go on.

We may not have won the White House, but we tuned in and were turned on by politics in a way this country hasn’t seen since the 1960s. And while John Kerry may be no John Kennedy, he has ignited a political spark in an underrepresented and often ignored group: the single, female Democrat. And I’d like to think that you, Chris, had something to do with that.

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But enough about politics. The good news for me, personally, is that my 8 p.m. nightly dance card is now wide open. I’m turning off the TV and heading back out into the world.

Chris Heinz, I’m available. Chris Matthews, can we still be friends?

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Liz Siegel is a reality TV writer-producer living in Los Angeles. She can be reached at ocean22@earthlink.net.

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