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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Partisanship v. Ideology - an essay by Ross Douthat

For once, a shorter Post.

There is an excellent "op ed" essay in  yesterday's NY Times by Ross Douthat, concerning the difference between acting in an ideological (basically principled) fashion as opposed to a partisan (always attack the other party) fashion.  Here is a link to the essay.

As readers of this Blog will know, I have my problems with an overly ideological approach to political problems.  However, Mr. Douthat identifies the really intellectually dishonest and destructive problem as hyper-partisanship rather than hyper-ideology.

What depresses me is that while he really nails the "problem", I don't see an obvious solution.  Our governments, both state and federal, are heavily tied into the partisan process.  Politicians usually rise through the partisan ranks, they are dependent on partisan support and funding to win elections, and they need cooperation from at least the members of their own party to accomplish legislative objectives.  A "sort of" exception to this may be some of the "Tea Party" backed candidates who are publicly indicating that they plan to resist partisan pressures and practices in order to remain ideologically pure.  I don't like a focus on ideological purity, but it is far preferable to intellectually dishonest partisanship.  I just fear that partisanship is so entrenched in our system, and has become so crazed in recent years, that it may take something drastic and improbable like a third party (a party to combat partisanship??), to effect any meaningful change.  Enough

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