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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

intellectual honesty in politics

there is a columnist for the sacramento bee that i really like. he doesn't seem to have too big an ax to grind either way. usually his columns are the rare breath of non-partisan reporting in the paper.
here are a couple of paragraphs from today's column, quoted so you don't have to do the registration thing.

he talks about a subject that's been on my mind lately, and has been in a lot of the blogs i've seen in the last couple of days.

Because political campaigns are single-purpose endeavors - the goal is to win, period - one does not expect to find nuanced arguments in political communications. It falls to the political media, therefore, to enforce a reasonable level of intellectual honesty.

Increasingly, for example, newspapers are dissecting political commercials and not only reporting on the truth or falsity of their assertions, but placing them in context, indirectly compelling political campaigns to back up their TV claims with hard fact.

It's more difficult to enforce intellectual honesty, or even consistency, in the broader array of political speech because it exists in the realm of the immediate. Politicians and their advisers want to score points on one thing on one day; they talk about "message discipline" and "winning the day" and measure their progress in overnight "tracking polls."

An example of that syndrome was the conflict-of-the-moment in Washington - settled on Monday - about whether the majority Republicans would modify or eliminate the filibuster that Democrats have employed to block confirmation of several of President Bush's judicial appointees.

Liberal politicians, advocacy groups and editorial writers who now portray the filibuster as a cherished bulwark for minority rights used to decry it as anti-democratic obstructionism when Southern segregationists used it to thwart civil rights laws. By the same token, born-again Republican champions of majority rule used to see the filibuster's indirect requirement for a 60-vote margin as their leverage.

That was then, this is now.

you can read the whole article here with a free registration. he goes on to lambast the governator for some of his latest policies. (truth in blogging at work)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the most part, the partisan stuff is only a smokescreen hiding what has been really going on in Washington (and that is as corrupt as hell). Want to know what it is? Check out Lawyer Kicker: the separation of powers between the three branches of government has been breached by one profession, and yes, some in both parties are implicated. -- VIGILIS

5/26/05, 4:42 PM  

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