Our Three Party Democracy

Creepy admiration for China’s authoritarian government aside, the main point of Tom Friedman’s most recent New York Times op-ed is actually pretty sound: the United States has become something of a neutered one-party democracy.  That is, for those interested in governing – at least on the national level – the Democratic Party really is the…

Partisanship! It’s good for winning!

Generally, I’m loath to give the Bush administration credit for much of anything, but if there is one thing they got right, it’s in their approach to passing legislation.  President Bush and his advisers realized, correctly, that the partisan make-up of any given vote matters far less than what Beltway insiders normally think.  It doesn’t…

A few meandering thoughts on racial anxiety and Obama’s right-wing opposition

As I’m sure most of you have noticed by now, I write (and think!) a fair amount about racial politics.  Indeed, it goes beyond my blogging – a good chunk of my undergraduate education focused on the intersection of race and politics, and my senior thesis expanded on some ideas I have regarding the nexus…

I Give Up

If there was ever even the faintest glimmer of hope for Wyden-Bennett or any other kind of meaningful health care reform proposal amenable to conservative and libertarian sensibilities, the Club For Growth just killed it.  Honestly, I find this nothing short of sickening.  It is now clear that supposedly free market leadership types really don’t…

It’s About Structure, Not Volume

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry has a good piece up that explores some of the same ground I explored in my self-critique of libertarianism, although he unfortunately does so without the assistance of Monty Python.  Gobry’s central point is one that bears re-emphasizing, though: “one thing that often bothers me about US defenders of free markets is how…

Medicare vs. Obamacare

[updated below] Andrew Biggs crunches some numbers on Medicare over at the AEI blog.   Contra Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann and others adopting the new “Obamacare vs. Medicare” talking points, Biggs rightly points out that Medicare is not a program conservatives should be defending.  Conservatives should be looking at ways to reform Medicare, certainly, but…

“Well, what are you doing creeping around a cow shed at two o’clock in the morning? That doesn’t sound very wise to me.”

In the comments to Scott’s post last week, greginak (who was one of the few to hone in on Scott’s central point) asked for the “posters to offer criticisms of their own theories.”  This seemed like an interesting and worthwhile exercise, so I figured I’d give it a try, with some help from Monty Python.  I…

Democracy Doesn’t Do Nuance: Why the Dems Lost Control of the Debate

Not surprisingly, this poll from Gallup showing that the extremity of the town hall protests may be succeeding in increasing opposition to health care reform – and certainly have not provoked a backlash – is rightly the story of the day and has the Right celebrating, and the Left a bit bruised, with the proud partisan Big Tent…

misconceptions and deregulation

Just very briefly – “deregulation” does not mean the stripping away of all rules or the desire to enter into a state of anarchy.  So when I speak of “deregulating” the health care industry, I’m mainly talking about removing rules that prevent competition and create monopoly or that are expensive but provide no real benefit. …

I’m caught in the grip of the city, madness*

Ezra Klein is worried that our dysfunctional debate over health care reform is symptomatic of broader problems with our democracy: What we’re seeing here is not merely distrust in the House health-care reform bill. It’s distrust in the political system. A healthy relationship does not require an explicit detailing of the “institutional checks” that will…

Is There Any Depth of Support for Wyden-Bennett?

TWO UPDATES, SEE BELOW: A common refrain I keep hearing for why Wyden-Bennett would have no chance of succeeding if it ever came to a vote is that even though it has bi-partisan co-sponsorship, the Republicans co-sponsoring it are merely using their co-sponsorship as political cover since they know it has no chance of actually passing. …

another slightly more academic-sounding addition to a relentlessly partisan and biased liberal blogosphere

“The League should feature higher standards for honest assessment, especially since I’ve commented on this exact point here once already. Honestly, I’ve thought very highly of the League in spite of its generally left-leaning direction [….] But this pushing of a manifestly dishonest characterization even after being called on it makes me reevaluate whether the…

Impulses and Vectors

Responding to my defense of the value of libertarianism/blatant excuse to repost Mr. Henley’s Jester quote, OG regulars Michael Drew and Bob make some great points about the idea of libertarianism-as-vector that led me to some unexplored thoughts about ideological frameworks. First, Michael wonders whether the concept of libertarianism-as-vector means that libertarianism can be a…

government and monopoly

“Monopolies are not innovative, whether they are public or private.”  ~ Megan McArdle “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do Two can be as bad as one It’s the loneliest number since the number one.”  ~ Three Dog Night A fairly obvious example of government-created monopoly is the public utility.  You likely have…

On Safety Nets

“By treating any and all social safety nets as irreversible steps on the Road to Serfdom, we allow liberals and progressives to shape those policies in ways that are inefficient, ineffective, and overbroad – even though Adam Smith, Hayek himself, and Friedman each advocated for a form of social safety net, demonstrating that social safety…