By Counter-Example

On The West Wing and the Republican Party of Today

Lately I have been watching a lot of The West Wing, the Emmy winning Aaron Sorkin political drama that ran from 1999 to 2006. At the time, it was criticized for representing a liberal fantasy thatrelying too often on simply “doing the right thing” and making a good speech as the answer to political problems….

What’s Actually Wrong with the Republican Party

This piece by Jonathan Bernstein alerted me to this Washington Post op-ed by┬áTom Mann and Norm Ornstein. Mann and Ornstein suggest that the problem with the Republicans is that they’ve gone too far to the right and are subsequently unwilling/unable to compromise in beneficial ways. The result is more detrimental government gridlock. I think Bernstein…

Perry’s Answer

I’ll admit that I wasn’t watching last night’s debate when Gov. Rick Perry made his infamous “oops.”* But an earlier statement he made had already caught my attention. Perry was hammering on government regulation. And he had a proposal: Audit all federal regulation since 2008 and ask whether it creates jobs or hinders job growth….

Hearing Extremes

One of the problems with our contemporary political discourse is the assumption of extremes. It shapes how we read the statements of opponents and how politicians speak to their base. Two examples have caught my attention of late:   A recent conversation with a conservative revealed that he interpreted Elizabeth Warren’s remarks on claims of…

Some Ridiculousness

For your consideration, some of the more ridiculous, immoderate statements and actions of the last 2 months: Obama nominated Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That’s not the ridiculous action – Cordray is actually more moderate and less divisive than Elizabeth Warren, who basically crafted the bureau from start to finish. The…

Brooks on (Im)Moderation

David Brooks is the only political columnist I follow regularly. Unlike most of the others I’ve encountered, he does a good job of leaving the shrillness behind for more nuanced argument, usually balanced with a good measure of praise where praise is due. So when he writes a column like the one published yesterday, it…

Commander in Chief

I watched the Republican debate last night and had plenty of thoughts that I won’t share here. But one thing that really stood out to me was the way in which they dodged military-related questions, both those having to do with “don’t ask, don’t tell” and items of foreign policy. Their most common refrain was…

Transparency: Not a Moderate Principle

Personally, I think the WikiLeaks furor should be sufficient evidence that unfettered transparency is not a moderate good. While transparency has often been equated with “good government,” that presumption usually comes from the left. To an extent, the liberals have a point. If every legislative meeting were held in secret and every decision reached without…

Romney’s Abandonment of Moderation

Anecdotally, Mitt Romney seems to get a lot of support among disillusioned former Obama supporters and others hoping for a reasonable Republican alternative. While I confess to having initially been intrigued by Romney in the 2008 race, I can’t really imagine supporting him now. Not so much because of his flip-flops on certain policies (though…