Apr. 6th, 2010 | 03:00 pm
Mar. 24th, 2010 | 05:36 am
Mar. 22nd, 2010 | 09:32 pm
Mar. 18th, 2010 | 09:21 am
Dec. 6th, 2009 | 08:26 pm
One of the reasons we were set up as a Republic, instead of a direct democracy, is that it doesn't really make sense for hundreds of millions of people to delve into complex nuances of policy which they'll only have extremely marginal opportunities to effect. It costs a lot of time to sort through public policy, and most people, rationally, don't waste a ton of time on it. I suspect you'd find similar results across the policy spectrum, from foreign to monetary policy. Instead of obsessing over policy details, people elect a handful of people whose sole job it is to be be hyper-aware and immersed in policy details, and voters make a birds-eye-view judgment of their performance every few years in the elections. The idea is that you get the benefits of democracy without requiring everyone in the country to read 200 pages of policy briefings every week.
One of the results of this is that public office holders have some capacity to swing public opinion - lots of people who don't want to waste their time on boring policy details will defer their opinion to a group of trusted representatives. The Republican party, as a whole, figured this out some time ago. If you yell "socialization of medicine" and "death panels", that effects public opinion.
The Democratic Party has, largely, forgotten this lesson, evidenced by the decades-long pursuit of "triangulation" above all else. This is not as bad as it was for much of the 90's and 00's, but the Democratic representatives, on the whole, seem convinced that they are at the mercy of public opinion, rather than active participants in it. If polls show that people are "concerned" that the public option will cost too much money, then they have to be concerned about it too - even when such concerns lack absolutely any merit at all. In the end, many Democrats are so busy chasing polls that they never stop to notice thtat the polls are following them too.
Dec. 1st, 2009 | 10:39 am
Nov. 15th, 2009 | 12:40 am
Statements by more than a dozen lawmakers were ghostwritten, in whole or in part, by Washington lobbyists working for Genentech, one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies.
E-mail messages obtained by The New York Times show that the lobbyists drafted one statement for Democrats and another for Republicans.