Partisanship

The Cromnibus Bill

A few notes for those who find themselves upset over how the “Cromnibus” was written/passed. Writing the Bill The deal was made by leaders of the House (Republicans), Senate (Democrats), and White House (Obama). So no one group is responsible for having ‘snuck in’ any secret provisions. This includes: The provision increasing the amount of…

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….

Why I Did Not Vote for a Third Party Presidential Candidate

The other night I took another of those online tests to see who you should be voting for. You know the type. They ask a set of questions on your policy views and then tell you which candidate you should vote for. Many people, myself included, find that their preferences match more closely with a…

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…

National Health Care

This is a tricky series of posts to write because of our current partisan atmosphere. The fight over and passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010 (“Obamacare”) has severely divided the nation. In fact, it has transformed health care into perhaps the best example of the distorting effect of partisanship in…

Denigrating the Faculty Lounge

When did it become acceptable to publicly belittle teachers? I get that we need to have real conversations about the way in which we certify and compensate teachers for their work. But where would any of us be without their efforts? I’m sure Mitt Romney benefited from some great teachers and remembers some of them…

Democracy and Techocrats I

I wrote a bit about the events in Greece when Prime Minister George Papandreou called for a referendum of the European bailout. Since then, Papandreou rescinded his referendum suggested, struck a deal with the opposition to guarantee maintenance of the bailout agreement, and stepped down from his post. In his place, the Greek parliament instituted…

What is Democracy? Arizona Edition

Some recent events in Arizona highlight the difficulty of creating, maintaining, and evaluating a democratic system: 1. Redistricting Fight: The governor (with ratification by 2/3 of the state senate) recently acted to remove the non-partisan head of the independent redistricting commission. While there were some alleged improprieties with the process, the main dispute revolves around…

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….

Of Senate Obstructionism

A few days ago, former Senator Judd Gregg penned an opinion piece in The Hill about the events of October 6. As an example of historical amnesia deployed for partisan ends, this piece provides an excellent opportunity to correct some misconceptions about the Senate and its rules. Read the piece here and then return for…