Political Shorts

Here are a few items that have caught my interest but don’t require a full post.

More good news from Eric Cantor (previously here and here): He won’t be signing the “Cut, Cap, Balance” pledge. Members of the House Republican leadership (Cantor included) keep telling Obama that there simply aren’t votes to pass a deal that includes tax increases. Personally, I think one element of leadership is making the previously unlikely come to pass by selling your position and bringing your follower in line. But part of why there aren’t the votes in the House isĀ  because Republicans keep signing these ridiculously constraining pledges, tying their own political hands. I’m glad to see Cantor, who otherwise is closely aligned with supporters of the principles in this pledge, is refusing to join the political captives.

Congratulations also to the House Republican leadership for putting a stop to all those empty resolutions. I’d much rather have them do nothing than fill their time with vacuousness.

The other day I found myself in the midst of a conversation about “American Exceptionalism” between a bunch of people who didn’t really know what it meant. They figured it just meant believing that America was somehow “special,” a fairly simple statement of patriotism as long as it’s left up to the individual to decide what that means. In terms of the academic meaning of the idea that America is somehow above or separate from (and exception to) the difficulties faced by other nations, I thought this piece was worth considering. It’s a nice reminder of the potential benefits of looking beyond our borders and asking questions about what really distinguishes us from other nations and what/how we might do better. To paraphrase the Beatles, if we try sometime we might just find the answers we need.

In the late 1940s, a group of concerned citizens reshaped the government of Phoenix, Arizona. Worried about rampant corruption and favoritism, they did their best to permanently separate partisan politics from municipal government. For a long time that worked and Phoenix went from a terribly mismanaged post-frontier town to a major metropolis that frequently won “Best Run City” awards. Unfortunately, a political system can only sustain itself as long as both voters and office holders accept it’s foundational principles. Sadly, that seems to no longer be the case in Phoenix. I can only hope they managed to avoid partisanship spoiling another layer of government.

2 Responses to Political Shorts
  1. Seth
    July 8, 2011 | 11:53 pm

    I think you’re paraphrasing the Rolling Stones, not the Beatles. Yeah, that’s about the extend of intellectual debate I have to bring to this discussion. Kind of sad, I know.

    • Jason
      July 9, 2011 | 12:02 am

      You’re right. I am suitably embarrassed.

      Good to know you’re reading so closely, though.