presidency, I really should be writing about this, but I’m just not that
interested. It isn’t because of the
famous alienation afflicting the American voter. I’m not alienated.
being a film major because if he kept studying it, he would never be able to
enjoy a movie again. Now, as a student
of public policy (an evil step-brother to political science) I feel the same
way about politics. I understand. Actually studying politics, knowing the
dynamics of how decisions are made and the limitations under which politicians
operate creates enormous sympathy for the people who actually enter the arena.
such a dork for even thinking politics could be fun.”
opinions and party and share how clever and virtuous they are and how foolish
and despicable the other guys are. That
is what the pundits mean by “red meat.”
I get that and have even indulged in it back in the day. I am reminded of it at family gatherings on a
regular basis as I calmly try to explain basic conservative principles to my
typical liberal Jewish (redundant?) clan.
On the other hand, when confronted with diehard Republicans, I often
find myself articulating the logic of the Democratic parties position (even if
I disagree with it.)
inclination) I see the different sides of the issue and see the complex
dynamics underpinning them.
judgments are made on a pretty thin basis of personal narratives and models of
the world that are incredibly flawed.
One can decry this general ignorance, but it actually makes a lot of
sense. Individual inputs into
policy-making are so tiny that the investment of really understanding the
complexities of an issue rarely pays off – so instead we aggregate general
preferences and let politicians turn them into policy. (More on the virtues of that in another
as shorthand that re-states some basic policy preferences in order to remind votes. That’s fine, so far as it goes, and there are interesting aspects to it. But from my perspective the rhetoric is just a ship sailing some very deep waters.