Streams

30 Issues: Partisanship in Washington

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Julian Zelizer a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University and co-editor of Rightward Bound: Making America Conservative in the 1970s, talks about the history of partisanship in Washington over the last 30 decades. Then, New York State Assemblyman Mike Gianaris D-36, representing Queens, talks about partisanship, representing the Obama campaign, while Jeff Golkin, executive director for Citizens for McCain in New Jersey, discusses the McCain campaign. Then, Why the Northeast is so blue. Bill Bishop, author of The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like- Minded America is Tearing us Apart, talks about why the northeast leans to the Democrats.

Guests:

Bill Bishop, Mike Gianaris, Jeff Golkin and Julian Zelizer

Comments [93]

Tony from Brooklyn

Eva,
You make take a couple of disingenuous rhetorical paths in your argument(s). The first is that one's worth is determined by their ability to perform the duties of another entirely different occupation. Going to Wall St. for emergency medical care is
nonsensical. Placing a higher value on an investment advisor because they can give CPR is like picking a VP candidate because she hunts moose. It's just silly.
The purpose of people on Wall St. is to make more money for the people on Wall St. and the stock holders of those companies. The purpose of the legislative branch) and the regulatory agencies is to create an ethical environment for commerce. If the gov't. sector doesn't do their job, then this relationship loses equilibrium.
Your arguments about the relative compensation of doctors, globalization created environmental issues, etc. are all well founded. But they're tangents to my original post regarding working class(largely) white americans who vote against their interests, and how it plays out in communities segregated by political leanings.
You questioned my standard of determining "skilled" labor and I offered a market based explanation. I think that your response concerning the existential question of "what labor is skilled and how should it be valued" is interesting. However it's several degrees removed from both my original statement and the BL segment that provoked it.

Sep. 25 2008 03:29 PM
eva

Tony: "Not to belittle the important work of back office and support staff, but their compensation isn't excessive. There are people who work in finance and there are people who WORK IN FINANCE."

Bear in mind that the compensation (salary and benefits) of back office and support staff would seem as elaborate riches compared to what most workers in this country earn.

Sep. 25 2008 02:08 PM
eva

"Perhaps a former finance titan like yourself who selflessly gave up all the riches associated with her position to take on a "blue-collar menial job serving some of the poorest people..." can consider Hank Paulson's responsibilities "unskilled labor," but I think his education, experience and skills make him extremely qualified in a Bush White House that brought us Good Job Brownie, SC nominee Meiers, and Monica Goodling. I'm glad he's working on the task at hand instead of Sarah Palin, some "pakistani immigrant vendor, or 8 year old kid from the projects."

Man, Tony, that is setting the bar pretty low. That doesn't convince me of Paulson's worth at all.
What is your point, besides trying to defend the indefensible? Are you another one of those people who mocked Morgenson, and though Floyd Norris was a scold all these years?
And what's with the total ban of oversight in Paulson's initial three page plan? What is he, finance czar?

Sep. 25 2008 02:03 PM
eva

someone give me proof that an mba is skilled labor, while a fireman, a policeman, a paramedic, is not.

But the lines are getting fuzzier. Those jobs that used to be valued as "skilled labor" are no longer seen as such, thanks to what Kevin Phillips calls "the financialization" of our economy, wherein Jim Cramer is actually given a show, and Bill Moyers has to scramble for pledge drive dollars to keep his work going. And that financialization, Tony, is why hedge fund managers are making those multiples. NOT because they are actually contributing to anyone but themselves, not because the "market" is omnisciently wise. Read Emma Rothschild - the invisible hand was NEVER what they told you in business school it was.

What will become of the Marie An-Tony-ettes of the world when this system comes crashing down? In India this week, the manager of an auto manufacturing company was bludgeoned to death by laid-off workers.

Tony. Wake up. Smell coffee. This system is unsustainable, environmentally and socially. The market cannot be allowed to decide everything, and the rest of this country is learning that the hard way.

Sep. 25 2008 01:57 PM
eva

Tony,
the market decides...
the market decides on industrial pollution on levels we can't sustain.
Government regulators should take responsibility for setting limits.
the market decides that people with no income can buy houses they will never be able to afford.
Government regulators should take responsibility for setting limits.
the market decides that male managers earn more than women, and that there is a paucity of blacks in investment banking.
Government regulators should take responsibility for setting limits.
the market decides that automakers can make SUV's that create particulate that lead to childhood asthma, which is markedly pronounced in poor neighborhoods, like the neighborhood around Yankee stadium, where you no doubt enjoy eating your fat hot dog.
Government regulators should take responsibility for setting limits.
No more hot dogs for Tony! Just kidding on that last part. Eat away....

Sep. 25 2008 01:48 PM
eva

BTW, Tony "the-market-decides" from Brooklyn,
If you think this is anything close to a free market, and that Wall Street hasn't been bailed out time and again, or been given huge advantages, while ordinary workers have been screwed, I'd like some of what you're smoking. I salute not only your absolute faith (stronger than any fundamentalist Christian) but your obstinance.
There are no global barriers or protectionism? Sure, and there's no common sense in the financial markets when it comes to the good of the country. Any sane person would have recognized that the amount of debt they were helping drive Americans into, or the housing market bubble, driven by the financial markets, the obsession with shareholder returns for the big banks, the bundling, the whole stinking package, were unsustainable. But no, the market decides, and our phenomenal debt to China is, uh, to people like you, utterly irrelevant.
Wake up. Smell coffee. Your free market not only never was free in the Smithian sense of the free market, but it is environmentally unsustainable.

Sep. 25 2008 01:43 PM
eva

Jeffrey,
tell that to the analysts whose jobs are moving to India.
Further, of the remaining jobs, the income gap has widened remarkably.
Tony,
when you're having a heart attack, go to wall street, see how many of those people can perform CPR, intubate you, or perform any of the necessary skills to keep people alive.
Nurses and doctors earn much less than wall street hacks, and yes, when I say hacks, I mean the people who came up with credit default swaps, and who for years laughed at Gretchen Morgenson for warning that this economy was perilously in debt.
This country is fantastically in debt, in part due to poor decisions made by "skilled labor" in the Treasury Department.
And, in fact, Wall Street has been part and parcel of this.
Jeffrey, nothing you think is obvious is so. Your poor choices are haunting you, and this country.

Sep. 25 2008 01:32 PM
Tony from Brooklyn

Eva(continued),
The number of people who are actually very highly compensated in finance is relatively few. The analysts you note are generally less educated than the people in "the business of the business." Not to belittle the important work of back office and support staff, but their compensation isn't excessive. There are people who work in finance and there are people who WORK IN FINANCE.
I don't think I've "debased" real work at all. I've merely presented the market forces that set the compensation for that work in the context of the expectations of one particularly self defeating segment of the electorate.
Perhaps a former finance titan like yourself who selflessly gave up all the riches associated with her position to take on a "blue-collar menial job serving some of the poorest people..." can consider Hank Paulson's responsibilities "unskilled labor," but I think his education, experience and skills make him extremely qualified in a Bush White House that brought us Good Job Brownie, SC nominee Meiers, and Monica Goodling. I'm glad he's working on the task at hand instead of Sarah Palin, some "pakistani immigrant vendor, or 8 year old kid from the projects."

Sep. 25 2008 01:28 PM
Jeffrey from Warrington, PA

Dear eva:
Over the last 20 years, only an estimated 6 million jobs have been displaced due to outsourcing. B of Labor Statistics data

Obviously, you live in fear and thus, need govt to manage your life. Your poor choices haunt you, grab hold of your life, become a pillar of knowledge and strenght to free yourself.

Sep. 25 2008 01:23 PM
Jeffrey from Warrington, PA

The best the Democratic party has running for president, the least experienced politician and the Republicans should through in the towel, get serious. Obama keeps crowds arosed, but in the end, can he pull a budget together, (he never has), make a life and death decision about military personnel, work with all branches of government, or work with states with small populations? He appeals to city folk. Four years of Obama, we will be France and Italy, with the black market as a means to get vital goods. End the socialism and elitism, vote against Obama.

Sep. 25 2008 01:13 PM
Tony from Brooklyn

Eva,
You raise a number of issues that I'll try to address individually.
"what is is about highly paid Wall St. hacks that makes them skilled labor" -uh, I think the answer is SKILLS! Pose the question this way: what is it about the skills of "Wall St. Hacks" that makes them highly paid? And the answer to that question is the market. The market sets prices for everything including labor. At some point Hedge Fund advisors will no longer be worth 2/20. But right now they are. If more people could do what they do(and I'm not talking about the returns they're generating I mean raising the money, running the business and complex modeling, etc.) their price would come down. There are no global barriers or protectionism. If someone in India or Scranton or Podunk could get you the same returns, then people would flock to them. By the same token, the market price of tightening bolts and sweeping factory floors(for instance) used to be a lot more than it is.
Also I'm not criticizing unskilled labor for being unskilled labor. I'm criticizing them for allowing their ignorance to be exploited by the country club GOP to make them vote against their interests based on "cultural issues." Their sense of entitlement that presumes that they're entitled to the same standard of living based on the same skill/education set while the rest of the world has grown more skilled and better educated only exacerbates their myriad problems.

Sep. 25 2008 01:11 PM
eva

If anyone has not yet seen this weeks' Katie Couric interview of Sarah Palin, I urge you to watch it now.

It is the video of a campaign in its death throes.

Or should be. If they win with this, I'm stumped.

Palin looks entirely terrified and out of her element. The aw-shucks thing isn't going over well even with a TV news reporter. Couric looks more ready to be VP.

Palin's hands are all over the place. Her eyes have a look of terror. She consistently repeats memorized lines.

I actually felt sorry for her while watching this. Altho I will feel worse for the entire country if this ticket wins.

Sep. 25 2008 12:41 PM
eva

Tony from Brooklyn,
Don't forget that all that "unskilled labor" you refer to has been outsourced to Asia at TREMENDOUS expense to the environment. And that's not even counting the massive, massive carbon emissions from the container ships required to ship all that stuff from Asia to the US.
I'm sick of hearing about "unskilled labor." I've been primarily a "skilled" white collar worker, but when, post-9/11, I chose to take on a blue-collar menial job serving some of the poorest people, I was suddenly "unskilled labor" - huge pay cut, nowhere near the benefits I had. It's such a debasement of real work. Meanwhile, what, Hank Paulson is somehow NOT unskilled labor?
Give us a break, Tony.

Sep. 25 2008 12:22 PM
eva

Tony,
your quote:
"They'll attend church and make unrealistic demands like a return to the long ago age before globalism lowered the market value of unskilled labor."
What is it about highly paid Wall Street hacks that made them skilled labor? And yet they made crazy multiples over the people you criticize.
When I worked in finance, I used to think every day: 'what is it that this analyst does that the pakistani immigrant vendor, or an 8-year-old kid from the projects, couldn't be trained to do faster?'
Turns out I was right. They've outsourced quite a few analyst positions to India.

Sep. 25 2008 12:15 PM
eva

#68,
can you back that up?
I'd imagine it's in part due to the fact that capital is controlled in New York.
Farmers don't make as much money, and deserve more investment. More farmers in the midwest, southwest.
More agriculture in California, too, but we pay in a good deal, given the size of our (diverse) economy.

Sep. 25 2008 12:10 PM
Tony from Brooklyn

What this predicts is a greatly divided America. You'll have coastal elites who subscribe to a more cultural as opposed to literal approach to religion. They'll have doctors who subscribe to "controversial theories" like evolution and who have access to the fruits of state(as opposed to federal) funded stem cell research. They'll have good schools funded by childless gays who tend to be affluent yet have less children to use precious resources at said schools.
There will be a second group who are less geographically concentrated. They'll live in gated communities and accumulate wealth by gaming the electoral process by manipulating the third group. This third group will live farther from urban centers and the corrupting influence of culture, secularism, and diversity. They'll attend church and make unrealistic demands like a return to the long ago age before globalism lowered the market value of unskilled labor. They'll continue to vote against their interests perpetuating the separation and making the contrasts between the groups greater over time.
Unfortunately I don't see any end to this polarization in sight.

Sep. 25 2008 12:06 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

I am not a Republican, but here is the problem with NE Republicans as I see it. They are spineless, but I mean it in the nicest way. If I were a NE Republican, or a moderate Republican anywhere in the country, I would be livid at the direction of my party. Seems to me NE Republicans have allowed their party to be hijacked by the far Right, and it’s difficult for some people in the NE to get behind some of those ideas. Whether I agree with them or not, I think a truly NE Republican point of view needs to be other there. I’d like to think it would be more reasoned that what we have come to expect from the party.

Sep. 25 2008 12:05 PM
Dave from NJ

I'm a bit confused by many of the examples of post -partisan actions which sound like bi-partisan actions to me.

Has there been any discussion on the show about just what "post-partisan" really means?

Sep. 25 2008 12:04 PM
Sean Pisano from Brooklyn

I do have to say the I find Republicans are some what two faced. Pro life Pro Death penalty seems rather illogical. That's what really throws me about Republicans. Add that to anti regulation until things catch on fire. How many time do the Republicans have to fail before someone stops and thinks "Wait you can't have it both ways".

Sep. 25 2008 12:02 PM
EJ from Brooklyn

I wish Bill Bishop had followed up on the education question. Once again we can't examine the question of whether democrats might have better reasoned, better informed positions because as a party we have more information. It used to be a good thing to be an expert.

And I can't believe the Jeremiah Wright thing is still in play. White people can't actually be surprised that black people sometimes express anger at their country. It doesn't make us any less patriotic.

Sep. 25 2008 12:02 PM
I. Sable from New York

Bi-partisanship does not mean merely voting across party lines for its own sake; it mean bucking the prevailing partisan orthodoxy because you disagree in principle on the merits of a particular issue.

To accuse Obama of partisanship because he votes so consistently with his party is to accuse him of failing to accept the Republican worldview and priorities. Considering the Republican’s performance over the past eight years, Obama’s voting record seems to be an indication of commitment to and consistency of principles.

Sep. 25 2008 11:59 AM
Zak from Brooklyn, NY

Regarding the caller talking about Catholic voters:

If Catholics were to be alarmed by Jeremiah Wright, they should see Rev. Muthee, Sarah Palin's pastor in Alaska. The man brags about HUNTING WITCHES in Kenya. Her religious background is unbelievably far from (and quite possibly scary TO) Catholics. This man makes Jeremiah Wright look as loveable as George Burns.

Sep. 25 2008 11:59 AM
Steve (the other one) from Manhattan

Here's one reason the Republicans are thin on the ground here (Shays on Blackwater):

Chris Shays: Blackwater is under fire! I'm in awe of how you protect us. You are perfect in one sense. The number of protected people who were wounded or killed: Nobody. Zero. See? That's a perfect record. And you get no credit. Plus, your people were killed trying to protect those people.

Sep. 25 2008 11:58 AM
Dave from NYC

If Matthew thinks Catholics were scared by Jeremiah Wright, what on Earth would they think of the newly found video of Sarah Palin having "witchcraft" expelled from her by Pastor Muthee?

Sep. 25 2008 11:58 AM
Chris


It's worth noting that Christie Whitman was one of the first to bail on this Bush administration...Clearly, she saw something early on that didn't gel with her (NE?) Republican values.

Sep. 25 2008 11:57 AM
erick from Rochester, NY

It's interesting that New England is predominately Democratic considering the fact that New England is a net exporter of state capital (in the form of taxation) where as the "Red States" tend to be net importers of Federal capital.

Sep. 25 2008 11:55 AM
eva

JJ #62
Republicans like Lincoln Chafee or Olympia Snowe?
Let's face it, the Republicans in the NE are far more moderate than elsewhere in the country.
If McCain wanted to reach across the aisle, he could have picked Olympia or Lincoln for VP.
The choice of Palin was canny, but risky. It enlivened the most vicious elements of the GOP. The ones we were all hoping to move beyond.

Sep. 25 2008 11:55 AM
Annie Chesnut from Putnam Valley

There is little in the way of liberalism in our relatively small suburban town. One of my PTA buddies refers to me as her "liberal friend," and we were hesitant to put our Obama sign in the front window for fear of a brick being tossed through it. . . small town New York is still teeming with Republicans! I would love a bit more blue around these parts.

Sep. 25 2008 11:54 AM
detv8 from nyc

brian, where have you been for the last 8 years?
the northeast and california realize what the the republicans have done to this country. the rest of the country is catching on, but it might be too late. why is obama campaigning in states that never were in play before for the dems?

Sep. 25 2008 11:54 AM
Jay from Norwalk, CT

To Republican 101,

You should go back a listen to the MP3 before you criticizing liberals. The caller who equated Obama to Marx said things that were over the top and completely distorted. So -right back at you - republicans can be extremely closed minded too. When callers make comments like that, it is impossible to have a debate. And that's why people are showing fear and do not what to hear another opinion...

Sep. 25 2008 11:53 AM
Jim in Manhattan from Manhattan

ON THE POINT ABOUT OPPOSING YOUR PARTY TO DEMONSTRATE POST-PARTISANSHIP:

it is not about abandoning your beliefs or abandoning your party.

The hyper partisanship is not about issues. It is about the red-meat provocation of the public; it is about walking away from governing and toward just attacking; it is about keeping people in a state of rage rather than finding the best of all of us and the best for America.

It is ridiculous to judge Obama on whether or not he has agreed with key Dem policies. He is the grown-up in the race who is speaking and acting in tones that are not exclusive. His positions on the Second Amendment, on emphasizing the values of Life, of a flexible energy policies -- even his willingness to listen to the public and evolve his policies -- that TONE and respect and strategic direction is what is Post-Partisan.

Both Obama and McCain were the least ideological of the candidates in their two parties; it was the public, especially with McCain, who made them the candidates, not the party tacticians. Now, McCain is becoming all about tactics, Rovian tactics. His better half is post-partisan. But his fighter-jock, impetuous side, this person is not post-partisan but all about himself.

That kind of maverick behavior is not about independences, it is about being self-consumed, winning at all cost. Link bush, another fighter pilot.

Sep. 25 2008 11:52 AM
JJ from nyc

Easy Brian, still got lots of Republicans in the US Senate from New England / NorthEast. However, it seems like Dems are taking over - heck, NH is now a swing state.

Sep. 25 2008 11:52 AM
Chuck Renaud from Brooklyn

Republicans like to tell people how they should live their life.

They try and pass laws to control everyone.

They are small minded.

They stink frankly.

Sep. 25 2008 11:51 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

My previous question was a little unclear. What's more important for the future of the United States, to be post-partisan, or post-demogoguery and post-exclusionary?

Sep. 25 2008 11:51 AM
jeff from ny

Ah, the "communist" subterfuge. We are truly in a new McCarthyist era. Why don't you just name your executioner figurehead now? Who will it be?

Sep. 25 2008 11:50 AM
eva

Why is the northeast so blue? Because it supports traditional age-of-enlightenment values THAT THIS COUNTRY WAS FOUNDED ON.

Sep. 25 2008 11:50 AM
rosie

I think the NE is largely Blue due to the current Repub focus on the 'culture wars'. This focus on cultural or 'value' issues is a turn off to many in the NE.

Sep. 25 2008 11:50 AM
eva

Sean,
When you write: "oh, come on, give me a break" you're saying the exact same thing half of this country is thinking. Look at the poll numbers. Look at intrade.

Sep. 25 2008 11:49 AM
jeff from ny

#32, I disagree slightly with you about Brooks. I don't think he misses the point at all. I think he speaks/writes/acts like a politician, very deliberately, very slickly. I don't even think he believes half of what he says, but rather frames them in a flacidly diplomatic way in order to maintain some sort of centrist image. But, as in the "wise old" point you made, it always comes out. He's a politician, and I wouldn't be surprised if he ran for office someday.

Sep. 25 2008 11:47 AM
Sean Pisano from Brooklyn

Oh come on Sarah Palin is a gimmick and so is suspending his campaign. Give me a break. He want to get elected and he needs the Republican base.

Sep. 25 2008 11:45 AM
eva

42] Mark from Brooklyn
September 25, 2008 - 11:39AM
Where did Obama buck the Democratic establishment? Umm, lemme see...the Iraq war authorization?

Right on. And fiscally responsible.

Sep. 25 2008 11:44 AM
Karen from Manhattan

Golkin demonstrates partisanship by reciting the McCain talking points. Gianaris demonstrates post-partisanship by providing thoughtful, substantive answers to your viewer's questions.

Partisanship is not failing to have a point-of-view; it's rather a reflexive repetition of simple ideas and blind loyalty to party regardless of the consequences. Critical thinking is post-partisan and that is what has characterized the Obama campaign.

Finally -- I am from a white, ethnic, blue-collar background, and Sarah Palin has not given me a voice. What she has done is confuse my uneducated cousins, who mistake bluster and a confrontational style -- partisanship -- for substance.

Sep. 25 2008 11:44 AM
Matt from Manhattan

You can't go by McCain the candidate and McCain the senator. They're 2 different people.

Sep. 25 2008 11:44 AM
Chris


McCain has been in the Senate for 30+ years and Republicans can only point to 3 or 4 examples of him partnering with the Democrats?

Too funny.

Sep. 25 2008 11:43 AM
eva

41,
As someone who has friends on both sides of the so-called aisle, I know how you feel, but to an extent I think you're being a bit disingenuous.
This phenomenon happens on the right, as well. And I think you often confuse people arguing with you over issues as people being closed-minded about hearing another point of view.
I am moderate on a number of social issues, and I take a few knocks on the head for it with my liberal friends. On the other hand, when I've worked in predominantly conservative workplaces, I got twice as many knocks for suggesting that, for example, racist hate speech was unacceptable within the office, or for noting my own reluctance for Bush's invasion of Iraq.
Incidentally, what do you think of the Iraq occupation? Is this something we can afford? What are your views on the bailout? Is this also something we can afford?

Sep. 25 2008 11:43 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Could we define the term “partisanship”
Perhaps I’ve missed it, but people seem to be defining partisanship as merely working with the other (and only the one other) side and not working without vilifying all opposition. By that definition, Senator Lieberman would be post-partisan, but delivered a rather partisan speech against his own party at the RNC.

Sep. 25 2008 11:43 AM
Thomas M Varga from Sunnyside Queens, NY

It doesn't seem to me that the onus is on the Democrats to prove they can be bi-partisan. For much of the last 8 years the Republicans, supported by the president, have more or less shoved their agenda through congress with a "my way or the highway" attitude. Of course Democrats have not worked across the asiles as much. There has been nothing in it for them. John McCain only gets credit for being bipartisan because he wisely bent on the few issues when democrats simply wouldn't yield.

Sep. 25 2008 11:43 AM
Alex from brooklyn


And now, I will be partisan.

If one party takes many more stupid positions than the other, it is far easier for a member of that party to side with the other party.

Sep. 25 2008 11:42 AM
jeff from ny

this whole discussion is operating under the assumption that a centrist politics is a virtue. i do not think it is at all. a progressive politics is the only way this country will overcome its troubles, most of which have been building under the general centrist and conservative leanings that this country has always had.

Sep. 25 2008 11:41 AM
Christian from Austin, TX

Both candidates are partisan by definition: they are both vying to sit behind the desk in the Oval Office and represent their respective party's ideas and agendas. Whichever wins will have all sorts of favors to repay to his party for getting him there. I'd imagine a non-partisan candidate would not be beholden to any party.

Sep. 25 2008 11:40 AM
Honest Abe

Obama is more post partisan simply because McCain chose Palin as his running mate.

Both campaigns are America first. Obama's because he is going to put American citizens first and McCain's apparently because he says it's America first. Frankly I don't see how anyone running for President isn't thinking of America first. Except if Lieberman were running then it would be Israel first and America second.

Sep. 25 2008 11:40 AM
Mark from Brooklyn

Where did Obama buck the Democratic establishment? Umm, lemme see...the Iraq war authorization?

Sep. 25 2008 11:39 AM
KC from NYC

Repub: I said "wing nut", and I'll happily stick with it.

And why should anyone (liberal or not) "open their minds" to unfounded accusations that any candidate funds bombing in America? You might want to listen to the piece before you give your opinion.

Sep. 25 2008 11:39 AM
Jim from Brooklyn

Oh, please! "All hands in deck"? McCain is afraid to face Obama in the the debates during an economic crisis!

Sep. 25 2008 11:38 AM
Alex from brooklyn


Both candidates claim to be the post-partisan.

Both candidates have a history of non-partisanship, but both have been quite partisan in recent years.

What else is there to say?

Sep. 25 2008 11:38 AM
Hans from Brooklyn

What is the difference between "most post-partisan" and "least partisan"?

Sep. 25 2008 11:38 AM
Repub101 from Manhattan

All I heard from that caller was "Obama" and "Marxist." I'll have to listen to the mp3 later on when it's posted. Perhaps it was as crazy as everyone is saying.

Ultimately, it's Brian's show, so he can cut off any caller he chooses. But, where is the fear coming from on this board? Why are people so scared to even HEAR the views of people with opposing opinions? I am possibly what many people on this board would call a "right-wing nut" (your words, not mine). Yet, I come on this board almost every day to listen and debate with most of you who have VERY different ideals from my own. Doing so is interesting and stimulating for me. But I find that liberals tend to be the worst at actually opening their minds and ears to others' views. Where is the open-mindedness supposedly championed by the left?

Sep. 25 2008 11:35 AM
Mary

There is a direct line from Lee Atwater to Karl "Turd Blossum" Rove to Steve Schmidt.

Thanks for raising the discourse, partisan republicans.

Did you hear? Obama fathered TWO black children!

Sep. 25 2008 11:32 AM
MichaelB from UWS Manhattan

I don't agree with Thomas Friedman that this is the 9/11 of Economics. The real 9/11 was from external forces; this crisis is self-created & imposed.

A significant distinction.

Sep. 25 2008 11:31 AM
MichaelB from UWS Manhattan

I don't agree with Thomas Friedman that this is the 9/11 of Economics. The real 9/11 was from external forces; this crisis is self-created & imposed.

A significant distinction.

Sep. 25 2008 11:31 AM
George

George Bush used partisanship to defend his crimes. Republicans go red in the face defending their policies, and then in the same breath, defending Bush who has done nothing to further their beliefs. He created huge Government, for example. But they defend his crimes too.

Sep. 25 2008 11:30 AM
KC from NYC

Oh David Brooks, always missing the point, and in such an erudite way. Two painfully obvious reasons he's totally wrong:

1. Palin

2. Most of the "wise old men" Brooks is talking about are the very people who created the economic panic we're now experiencing. Define "wise" for me, David.

Sep. 25 2008 11:25 AM
Mark Victor from Astoria

The current financial crisis is showing the limits of partisanship. Some conservative Republicans, especially in the Senate, are joining some liberal Democrats in finding a common-ground solution (NOT a compromise).

Partisanship is good as far as setting party platforms, but does not work when members of a party are forced to march in lockstep (like the Republicans during the Clinton administration) and disciplined if they fall out of step. This is how I would define extreme partisanship: a totalitarian movement which favors party over democratic, pluralistic government. Extreme partisanship is a bad as communism was in East Europe and the Soviet Union.

Sep. 25 2008 11:25 AM
John from Washington, DC

Words like "centrist" and "moderate" have a partisan agenda. They're presented as wisdom and reasonableness, but unlike liberal or conservative don't indicate any ideals or principles in themselves. The guest contrasts the "extremists" in primaries with "centrists." Joe Lieberman was called "moderate" for supporting the death penalty, abolition of welfare, government censorship.

Sep. 25 2008 11:23 AM
harmon michaels from jersey city, nj

that first caller was nearly a parody of conservative numbskullish-ness. amazing. obama's a marxist? i almost feel sorry for those people. of course, the fact that all i feel is pity instead of outrage is probably why those sorts of people dominate the marketplace of ideas so completely.

Sep. 25 2008 11:22 AM
eva

talk about non-partisan
Bill Clinton now shilling for Mccain....
http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2008/09/bill-clinton-do.html

Sep. 25 2008 11:22 AM
Robert from New York

Brian,

Why the need to accommodate the extreme right? The caller just now made absurd comments about Obama and you immediately (and correctly) set the record straight -- but then felt the need to EXPLAIN WHY you were setting the record straight. Almost apologetically. This has been a depressing trend on your show (as it has been in the MSM): the need to find a MIDWAY POINT between positions, regardless of the respective merits.

Sep. 25 2008 11:22 AM
Fred from Downtown

We need more partisanship.

The two major parties represent different world views.

There wasn't enough partisan opposition to Bush's PR campaign to invade Iraq.

There wasn't enough partisan opposition to Bush's PR campaign to invade Iraq.

It was a "bi-partisan" bill that accomplished exactly what President Cheney wanted.

There wasn't enough partisan opposition to warrantless wiretapping. Or the repeal of Habeas Corpus. Or tax rebates for billionaires.

It was partisan opposition that saved Social Security in 2005.

Our government has divisions of power, it is designed to be adversarial. Compound that with the different world views represented by the parties and you understand that partisanship is needed to breat the current status quo. Which 85% of the country wants. [right track / wrong track polling]

Sep. 25 2008 11:22 AM
Owen from Rochester

Caller Michael's comment re "good partisanship": right on! Fighting over whose healthcare plan will help more people is good. Fighting over who looks more French is bad.

Sep. 25 2008 11:20 AM
Mary

oh never mind

Sep. 25 2008 11:19 AM
Rob from Manhattan

Partisanship is simply support for political parties, and political parties serve a purpose. A system with strong political parties lets the issues take the stage, and the candidates just need to adequately represent the party once in office. Instead, we have a system where we demand greatness from individuals and not from ideas. We have this impossible ideal of a perfect [lower-case 'g'] governor, and so we wind up with campaigns where the focus is put on the character of the candidate.

I realize that Jeffersonian democracy is different from parliamentary democracy, but there is something to be said for a system with many, strong political parties.

People who claim not to support a party--those who say "I vote for the candidate, not the party"--drive me up a wall. Putting aside, of course, the case where the candidate is a monster, how is it possible to actually care about the issues and still switch parties from election to election?

Case in point: precisely who are these people who supported Obama but switched their vote to McCain after he named Palin as his running mate?

Sep. 25 2008 11:19 AM
Steve (the other one) from Manhattan

Well said Owen.

Sep. 25 2008 11:19 AM
robert from park slope

Partisanship is necessary in a democracy but it must be tempered by civility, level-headedness and a willingness to negotiate/compromise

Sep. 25 2008 11:18 AM
Karen from NY

What we need is intelligent dialogue and argument to deal with the enormous issues facing our society today. When I hear these idealogues (the worst from McCain side - you know who I am supporting) espouse the issues without one iota of idea or outreach, I am enraged. Why is everyone so afraid to have a discussion?

Sep. 25 2008 11:18 AM
Michael from NYC

I think that this country is currently suffering from way too much bipartisan ship, one result is the culture war.

I don't think there's ever a absolute permanent solution, things go in waives. Currently we need less bipartisan focus, if that happens, then maybe one or two decades down the road we will need partisanship to come back.

Sep. 25 2008 11:18 AM
Scott Smith from Manhattan

As for the contribution of primaries to today's partisanship, would having a Condorcet like general election allow candidates to bypass the primaries without mutually disadvantaging those who partially agree with them thereby reducing the pressure for candidates to be hyperpartisan.

Sep. 25 2008 11:18 AM
Alex from brooklyn


A commenter yesterday accused Prof. Tribe of partisanship.

If Tribe is partisan, then we need more of it.

If partisanship be laying out your fundamental beliefs, explaining how these beliefs influence your views on policy, and standing by those beliefs until they are proved wrong, then YES, we do need more partisanship.

However, if partisanship is simply standing by your party, regardless of the inanity, inconsistency and foolishness, then we do NOT need more partisanship.

Sep. 25 2008 11:17 AM
joe g from LI

IT SEEMS TO ME THAT BI-PARTISANSHIP JUST LEADS TO COMPROMISES WHERE NO ONE GETS WHAT THEY REALLY BELIEVE IS RIGHT AND LEADS TO LEGISLATION THAT REPRESENTATIVES CAN BE FOR OR AGAINST BECAUSE THE BILLS ARE SO OBTUSE EVEN THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND THEM

Sep. 25 2008 11:17 AM
Mike from NYC

When people say their party is selling out it's values, they mean their party is selling out MY values.

Sep. 25 2008 11:17 AM
Owen from Rochester

Bipartisanship is good when it means real dialogue and critical discussion over important issues--like Democrats questioning the Republicans over the reasons for going to war. Bipartisanship is not so good when it means unthinking cooperation--like Democrats signing on to the war without question.

Sep. 25 2008 11:17 AM
Steve (the other one) from Manhattan

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
John Galbraith

After all the death and destruction caused by Republicans/neocons, I say take the corpse of the Republican party, pound a stake through its heart, cut off the head, and stuff the mouth with garlic. Sociopaths should not be in government.

Sep. 25 2008 11:16 AM
eva

george
you are 100 percent right

Sep. 25 2008 11:16 AM
KC from NYC

Holy cow, what a wingnut. Where in Das Kapital was the passage on blowing up America? Lunatic.

Sep. 25 2008 11:16 AM
Vinny G from Upper West Side NYC

I'm suffering from Post Partisan Depression

Sep. 25 2008 11:15 AM
Owen from Rochester

Wow, I think that caller might have been a terrorist...

Not really, just seeing how he likes it.

Sep. 25 2008 11:14 AM
CH from Staten Island

As long as the election season is of epic proportions in its duration, we will never get rid of partisanship.

Sep. 25 2008 11:14 AM
George

I think that most Democrats could have lived with McCain UNTIL he picked Palin. The reason Republicans love Palin is that she makes Democrats so angry. You can't make a pick like that without trying to keep this crazy partisanship from the past eight years alive.

Sep. 25 2008 11:12 AM
burtnor from upper west side

The question is too simplistic. I actually want both. I want to see clear distinctions among positions and my representatives fighting for real principles, but I also want them to search for common ground and to find solutions that work. In other words, I want them to pick their fights and go for effectiveness. Do you mean more or less ideological? If so, THAT I do not especially like. That's why I like Obama. He has ideas and honest interest in practical solutions but does not seem ideological.

Sep. 25 2008 11:12 AM
rick

most partisan president ever: FDR. these conversations assume that the answers to all of our problems lurk in the middle- when the truth is that they actually lie in the democratic wing of the democratic party.

did I hear something about David Brooks? he is supposed to be "post partisan"? Give me a break.

Sep. 25 2008 11:11 AM
Steve from Manhattan

Please talk about Obama's reaching out to McCain yesterday morning to release a joint statement on bailout package, and McCain's subsequent move to go straight to a press conference and inject partisan presidential politics in this matter.
This is not getting enough attention.

Sep. 25 2008 11:10 AM
hjs from 11211

what is the alternative partisanship?

one party state?

why bother voting??

Sep. 25 2008 11:10 AM
Peter from Flatbush, Brooklyn

Re: Bill Bishop
I would argue that Liberalism/progressivism evolves in large cities as a response to population density, not because of like-minded clustering. The North East is so blue because 1/4 of the US population lives on the I-95 corridor north of DC.
If we, north easterners, were as conservative as rural (real?) Americans we would never be able to live together in such proximity.

Sep. 25 2008 11:03 AM
CH from Staten Island

CNN's "AllPolitics" reported on McCain's first use of the suspend/postpone headline grab in 1999:

"April 13, 1999 -- McCain announces candidacy by fax but postpones tour because of military action in Kosovo; McCain's stature rises: McCain, a former career naval officer and prisoner of war, planned to announce his candidacy in April but postponed campaigning because of the fighting in Kosovo. This seemed to set McCain above the campaign fray and simultaneously helped get him more television time, commenting on the military action. He actually filed exploratory papers December 30, 1998, but he didn't formally announce until September 27, 1999."

Sep. 25 2008 11:00 AM

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