A funny thing happened to Lou Dobbs on the way to the insane old folks’ home … sorry … to his television show last week. He quit.

Dobbs, formerly of “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” had been with CNN on and off for more than 25 years, all the way back to the network’s beginnings in 1980. On last Wednesday’s show, Dobbs told his viewers, “Over the past six months, it’s become increasingly clear that strong winds of change have begun buffeting this country and affecting all of us … And some leaders in media, politics and business have been urging me to go beyond my role here at CNN and to engage in constructive problem solving, as well as to contribute positively to a better understanding of the great issues of our day. And to continue to do so in the most honest and direct language possible.”

Now, this is the exact opening paragraph from CNN’s own online article about Dobbs’s departure: “CNN’s Lou Dobbs stepped down from his controversial role as an advocacy anchor at the network at the end of his show Wednesday night, saying he plans to seek a more activist role.”

Does that strike anyone other than me as really, really weird? Leaving “advocacy” for “activism?”

First off, Dobbs-as-anchor probably had more freedom for advocacy and activism than most in television journalism. As managing editor of his own show, Dobbs was able to report on whatever topics he felt like on a nightly basis, and his more peculiar hits include suggesting that some Mexican Americans want to return California to Mexico, that increased occurrences of leprosy (citing entirely erroneous numbers) were tied to illegal immigrants and that someone/something/some people in the vicinity of the New York Times were “commies” and fascists” after they criticized his reporting. He also continued to promote “birther” rumors about Barack Obama’s citizenship even after his own network had repeatedly denounced the legitimacy of the birther movement.

This would be par for the course on a different channel, but different from his colleagues at Fox “News,” his paychecks were signed by a legitimate news network that does its level – if imperfect – best to offer an air of neutrality to its stories and reporting. Nonetheless, Dobbs apparently found the freedom of his own show too constricting, and he’s now looking to new national arenas – most likely politics, either by running for office himself or lending his voice to political advocacy – as a means to be able to use “the most honest and direct language possible.”

Apart from the fact that the unnamed “leaders in media, politics and business” who encouraged the switch should be punished for leading on an old, confused man like that, Dobbs’ situation throws yet more light on the incredibly bizarre and incestuous relationship between our media and political spheres. Whether it’s Sarah Palin being made (exploding onto the national scene from complete obscurity the day after the Democratic National Convention) and unmade (interviewed by Katie Couric and then skewered by Tina Fey on “Saturday Night Live”) on election-year TV right before our very eyes, or “SNL” alum-turned-senator Al Franken joining the long and growing line of actors-turned-politicians, or ruthless Bushian architect Karl Rove appearing regularly as an expert on FOX to snarl at anything to the left of his left pinkie finger, there is something deeply rooted in our modern psyche that is convinced that once you’re on television on one channel, you can basically do anything else on any other channel. Commentate, make policy, speechify, cue a dog food commercial.

So why couldn’t Dobbs run for office? If he runs as a Republican, he’s an old, cranky white man (perfect!) and he already knows how to read from a teleprompter about immigration and the collapse of the American Dream.

These days, really, what’s the difference between a campaign speech and the opening monologue of an “advocacy anchor?” If we as a country are so obsessed by, and concerned with, a cult of personality – simply having a nice tie that shows up beautifully under studio lights and a smile with enough wattage to carry into all time zones, particularly during sweeps months – then the line between journalism, opinion and being a “decider” becomes disturbingly thin.

I’d say best of luck to Lou Dobbs, but I’ll save that sentiment for when he really will need it – at 64, with his politics and his backers, he’s much too young for a presidential run, so I’ll drop him a line in 2016.