A Quick Commentary on Political Commentary

A couple of weeks ago, the Republican Party had allegedly damaged itself beyond repair because of the government shutdown and Democrats were on the move to retake the House.

Now, liberalism and the welfare state itself is supposedly on the brink of destruction for all time because of the Obamacare rollout debacle.

Hmm.

Or, perhaps, commentators have very, very short time horizons.

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    A couple of weeks ago, the Republican Party had allegedly damaged itself beyond repair because of the government shutdown and Democrats were on the move to retake the House.

    Democrats were on the move to retake the House? LOL!
    I have not heard any sentient member of the political commentariat say that THAT was happening.

    As much as I wish that the Republican Party did not dedicate itself to a 24/7 effort to obstruct everything the president does, I’m realistic enough to know that there is about 45% of the American People who approve of this dysfunction, so the GOP is not going away.

  2. Ron Beasley says:

    Thank you for this Steven. Punditry is largely nonsense which is why I hardly ever read Op-Eds anymore.

  3. JKB says:

    The art of politics consists in looking only at the immediate effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy only for a favored special interest group while ignoring the consequences of that policy on all other groups and the community as a whole.

    Mark J. Perry

  4. ernieyeball says:

    @al-Ameda:..there are about 45% of the American People who approve of this dysfunction, so the GOP is not going away.

    Then there is Romney’s 47%.
    I know I am not part of the 1% of the gazillionares that rule the Earth.
    That leaves me in the company of the other 7%.
    Utopian anarchists.

  5. Pinky says:

    Keep your powder dry. I always say it. Keep your powder dry. All those arguments that you think you’ve won for all time? You haven’t. Don’t get lazy.

  6. al-Ameda says:

    @Pinky:

    Keep your powder dry. I always say it. Keep your powder dry. All those arguments that you think you’ve won for all time? You haven’t. Don’t get lazy.

    Exactly right. Victory is ephemeral.
    The way I see it is, when you’re on top – enjoy it and weather the storm of approval, because eventually you’re going to get through it and come out as hated as ever.

  7. ernieyeball says:

    @al-Ameda: Victory is ephemeral.

    So I wonder how fleeting this guy’s political career will be?
    http://www.politico.com/story/2013/11/trey-radel-cocaine-possession-100075.html
    This was reported today. Three weeks after the incident.
    Apparently the liberal main stream media is just slow on the uptake.

    From the Trey Radel (R-FL) website under Integrity.

    Senior citizens have earned our respect and deserve our support.
    Social Security and Medicare are not government handouts, but programs that hard working men and women have paid to sustain.
    My generation must be bold enough, strong enough and respectful enough to make sure that Social Security and Medicare are secure and available for all of our senior citizens.
    I will work to guarantee the commitments made by the federal government to our retirees are honored.

    I sure hope he doesn’t resign. Us old fukers need someone who respects us.
    Maybe he can support Medicare reimbursement for soon to be legal in Illinois medical mary jane.

  8. dazedandconfused says:

    I posted this in another thread recently, but it was pretty late to the game.

    R.Kiplings panning of Chicago is hilarious, but his comment on the press seemed to catch the key flaw in our TV cable news as well.

    But I don’t think it was the blind hurry of the people, their
    argot, and their grand ignorance of things beyond their immediate
    interests that displeased me so much as a study of the daily
    papers of Chicago.

    Imprimis, there was some sort of a dispute between New York and
    Chicago as to which town should give an exhibition of products to
    be hereafter holden, and through the medium of their more
    dignified journals the two cities were yahooing and hi-yi-ing at
    each other like opposition newsboys. They called it humor, but
    it sounded like something quite different.

    That was only the first trouble. The second lay in the tone of
    the productions. Leading articles which include gems such as
    “Back of such and such a place,” or, “We noticed, Tuesday, such
    an event,” or, “don’t” for “does not,” are things to be accepted
    with thankfulness. All that made me want to cry was that in
    these papers were faithfully reproduced all the war-cries and
    “back-talk” of the Palmer House bar, the slang of the
    barber-shops, the mental elevation and integrity of the Pullman
    car porter, the dignity of the dime museum, and the accuracy of
    the excited fish-wife. I am sternly forbidden to believe that
    the paper educates the public. Then I am compelled to believe
    that the public educate the paper
    ; yet suicides on the press are
    rare.

    http://www.online-literature.com/kipling/american-notes/5/

    A quick and dirty way of telling journalism from info-tainment, perhaps?

  9. de stijl says:

    Between folks who are almost certain Democratic or Republican voters, and those who are nominally Independent but are also certain to pull the lever for their secret preferred party, and persistent Urban / Rural and regional voting patterns and gender and age and whether the next election cycle is an off-year or not, a whole bunch of airtime and ink gets wasted talking about how the latest development will affect the next election and whether it is a game changer – all to convince the 5-8% of the truly independent swing voters who actually decide most elections? And, as a rule, those folks pay much less attention to this stuff than average.

    Most political commentary is horse race stuff, regurgitations of questionable common wisdom, and partisan fluffing.

    If we paid more attention to political science rather than commentary, we’d be much better off and way less agitated.

  10. de stijl says:

    Speaking of urban / rural voting patterns vs. regional ones, here is an article from Colin Woodard over at The Washington Monthly.

    His argument is that regional patterns win out over a straight urban / rural split in looking at the Virginia governor’s race:

    In Greater Appalachia, Cuccinelli won every category of county, from the very largest cities in the section (where he won 49.1 to 45.7) to counties without so much as a big town (62.8 to 30.8). In every category save the largest (category 2 in Greater Appalachia), he won by more than 20 points.

    By contrast, in Tidewater, McAuliffe won by large margins in counties large and small, taking five of the six categories. In the biggest cities he won 56.3 to 37.3. In the most rural counties he won by a convincing 51.0 to 41.1.

  11. C. Clavin says:

    SuperDestroyer has long since abandoned any hope of a Two Party Political System…so there is that….