Politico is famous for its "win the morning" mantra, rigorous work schedule and blanket coverage of the beltway universe. But apparently the publication can also can take a two-minute break, sit back and have a laugh at itself. Or at least a columnist can. Poking fun at the "media rat race" in a sharp bit of satire, Politico opinion columnist Michael Kinsley pulls an Onion, envisioning an alternate reality where--in an effort to stay ahead of the competition--Politico "decided to skip the 2012 election cycle entirely and to concentrate its resources on 2016."

The fake announcement includes the publication's sentiment that "candidates play a less and less significant role in American politics, especially at the presidential level. By the time we have finished covering the political consultants and advisers, then throw in a poll or two, there is really no need to talk to the candidates themselves."

At Politico, scores of reporters will be assigned to cover all "274 Democrats who have been mentioned as possible successors to President Barack Obama in 2016," even those "197 people who have been mentioned only by themselves." The columnist insists that every campaign will be covered, "whether they exist or not." Kinsley writes:

“Our readers need to stay ahead of the game,” said POLITICO Editor-in-Chief John F. Harris. “Two years from now, the 2012 election will be history, and so will all the coverage of it. You’ve got to think ahead in this business.” Harris added, with the brio that has come to symbolize POLITICO’s rise among the Washington media, that the company has the necessary resources for the job: “In 2008, we were just a couple of potheads with a dream. In 2011, we’re an amateur production of ‘Oklahoma’ in the high school auditorium. Four years from now, we’ll be an overstaffed bureaucracy like the Department of Homeland Security. We’ll be unstoppable.”