Rauch Explains All

Reason editor Nick Gillespie has an interesting interview with National Journal‘s Jonathan Rauch, who has a National Magazine Award to console him for his lack of a MacArthur Prize.

The best line:

reason: What do you think will be the three top issues in the 2008 presidential race?

Rauch: No. 1, Iraq. No. 2, Iraq. No. 3, probably either Iraq or Iraq. It may be Iraq.

Explaining why he spends no time trying to categorize himself politically:

Rauch: I’m completely mystified by the mindset that judges one’s moral character in life by how well you fit in some political party or other. It makes no sense to me at all.

reason: Many people would say that it is part of a cultural identity–of being on a certain team, or being a certain type of person.

Rauch: I think that’s right. There is the team aspect and there is also the member of the club aspect.

That’s about right. Ironically, the team aspect tends to work against the intellectual coherence that supposedly underpins the political categorization.

via Andrew Sullivan

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Tlaloc says:

    Ironically, the team aspect tends to work against the intellectual coherence that supposedly underpins the political categorization.

    Very true. What precisely is the point of having a democracy and then strongly limiting it to two parties?

  2. It all depends on whether you want to be right or you want to get somthing done. We have a political system that requires a consensus to act. I’d hate to throw out the baby to maintain the ideological purity of the bathwater. Meanwhile, I can also agree that there is nothing sacred about a two party system (especially when the two parties are Republicans and Democrats) without desiring some sort of parliamentary factionlaization similar to that of most European countries, can’t I?

  3. James Joyner says:

    It all depends on whether you want to be right or you want to get somthing done. We have a political system that requires a consensus to act.

    Sure. Politics requires deal-making and compromise. But even people in the commentary business tend to bend their analysis to benefit the team.

  4. The “team” problem isn’t that one has to compromise–the “team” problem is that there are some people who join a given team because they want to achieve certain policy goals yet get so caught up in scoring points that they end up supporting the team at the expense of the policy goals. They get to the point where they seem to forget why they joined the team in the first place and only care about the score.

  5. Steve Plunk says:

    Dr. Taylor’s point is spot on. Scoring points just to score points cheapens the democracy and taints trust in the system.

    I have seen many instances (especially in local politics) where party affiliations take a back seat to immediate needs and alliances are formed. It happens in congress more than we hear.

  6. Young people today just can’t understand a world where you had high school assistant principals committing suicide because they were entrapped in a bathroom sexual encounter by cops with nothing better to do.

    “Ooo! Ooo! Pick me! I know the answer!”

    … Can anyonen really be so dim as to not understand concerns with pedophilia? Or have I completely misunderstood what they’re talking about here?

  7. Anderson says:

    … Can anyonen really be so dim as to not understand concerns with pedophilia? Or have I completely misunderstood what they’re talking about here?

    The latter.

  8. So explain it to me.