Showing posts from November, 2012

Fixing the debt, in principle

It's important to have principles in politics. That claim is not that controversial. There are, sadly, some people who take their own intelligence and insight far too seriously, and think that they're operating on some higher plane by professing cynicism for principles and ideology and declaring their love of pragmatic and hard-nosed realpolitik. Those people are not really saying anything coherent.

That's a digression, though, because this post isn't about people who don't appreciate principles enough. It's about people who weigh them 'too much', or at least in the wrong way, in particular by putting too much stock in a wrong interpretation sub-claim that it's important to stick to your principles. I call this a sub-claim because it's not really any advance on the original, in that they're not really principles if you don't stick to them reasonably closely.

And it's true! You should stick to your principles. If you don't then it&#…


Will Wilkinson:

AT THE national level, the result of yesterday's election could hardly be less interesting. Barack Obama remains president. The size of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives remains for all practical purposes unchanged. The Democrats did extend their majority in the Senate by two seats, but that still falls short of the number needed to overcome a GOP filibuster. If Americans truly desired an end to gridlock, you wouldn't know it from last Tuesday's results. All of that is total nonsense, and buys into the intensely frustrating myth of the uniform popular will. There isn't one. I would be willing to bet that most people did want to end gridlock. And they expressed it by voting for the party they wanted to be in un-gridlocked power. Of course, it so happens that the two parties are pretty close, and representative democracy is subject to a lot of distortions (read: gerrymanders), and so there's no clear message that people wanted to…

Judging Mitt Romney

The Economist endorsed Barack Obama this week, to the delight of a lot of left-ish people who have taken great glee in brandishing it at an increasingly conservative, far-from-the-centre Republican Party. Some people who don't agree with the endorsement have tried to fight back, with varying degrees of care. I'm going to ignore the laughable ones that put The Economist in a "liberal establishment" that is inherently biased to the left and to Obama. But Ramesh Ponnuru's response is a bit more nuanced and poses some interesting questions.

As a caveat, I say a bit more nuanced. He completely assumes his position on abortion, and wishes away the substance of Obama's deficit-reduction position, one which came out in debt-ceiling negotiations, by sneaking "in public" into a sentence. It's a bit unsavoury.