Policy Wonks

David Brooks [RSS]:

[Y]ou have to remember that Republicans have a different relationship to ideas than Democrats. When Democrats open their mouths, they try to say something interesting. If the true thing is obvious and boring, the liberal person will go off and say something original, even if it is completely idiotic. This is how deconstructionism got started.

Republicans are less concerned with displaying their own cleverness. When they actually stumble upon an idea, they are so delighted they regurgitate it over and over again. Where others might favor elaboration, Republicans favor repetition.

About right.

FILED UNDER: Education, Humor, US Politics
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.


  1. Rick W says:

    The reason Republicans favor repetition is because they understand “marketing.” They know that if they repeat a lie often enough (and through multiple channels) the people will believe it. In fact, the people will create tortured rationalizations (such as the above) to help themselves live with the cognitive dissonance that comes from believing something even while your eyes and ears are demonstrating that it is false.

  2. Igor Volsky says:

    Rick, I agree. However, we must remember that that’s the framework (media culture) within which we live. And if repeating an idea is an effective marketing strategy, then by God Democrats must repeat the idea. If they don’t, they can elaborate all they want… elaborating, while the other party is implementing its policies.

    But in the Kerry/Bush dynamic Brook’s analysis is dead on. I’m not sure it applies to all Democrats and Republicans however.

    more: http://www.politicalthought.net

  3. Bithead says:

    Wanna talk about repitition?
    Let’s see how often the Dmeocrats tried to sell the line that Bush wasn’t a legit President… and then go ahead, tell me how they were still not trying to sell that idea after the more recent election, too…. in spite of the facts.

    Anyone see Koz of late?

    Wanna talk about repitition?
    Let’s talk about the myth of “Tax cuts for the rich”. Again, in spite of the facts.

    Wanna talk about repitition?
    Let’s talk about “The 80’s were the deacde of greed”
    Let’s talk about “Reagan’s policies were the direct casue of deficits”

    again,all in spite of the facts.

  4. M. Murcek says:

    After all the other possibilities have been exhausted, someone might just try the truth…

    The dems are bent on making sure that the truth is the last possibility to be explored.

  5. Justin Gates says:

    I’d say that political rhetoric is so heated and vitriolic because there is so little difference between the party’s. Further as long as the rhetoric remains on this grade school level (you stink because X) we’ll never deal with important and fundamental questions of any kind.

  6. McGehee says:

    And so what do we hear from the outsiders? “Both Democrats and Republicans stink because X.”

  7. Bithead says:


    We actually hear that, mostly from Ex-Deomcrats.
    Sorta like after Clinton… “They ALL do it” and other similar nonsense.

  8. Justin Gates says:

    Hey that’s pretty funny, though i regret the effects of your ignorance, you can’t have a thoughtful conversation or defend your idea’s. For me I am a former Republican, who remembers the party before it was crowded with ex democrats, dixiecrats and religious nuts.

  9. McGehee says:

    you can’t have a thoughtful conversation or defend your idea’s.

    This from the guy whose original comment consisted solely of slamming both major parties.

    Just what kind of “thoughtful conversation” did you think you were inviting?

  10. Justin Gates says:

    I wanted to see if anyone had thoughts on the idea itself. I have found attempting to get a discussion going on the idea of the nature of the two party’s and unaccountable power are outside of the mental framework of most people. Don’t you get tired of the histrionics that one party is all good and one all evil? I find it insipid and an obstacle to discussion of any meaning. God, Abortion, Gays, those are just the cat toys politicians dangle in front of the voters to distract them. No matter who won in November, nothing of substance would actually change in terms of policy or personnel or the vested interests that feed on the system. We are almost all outsiders. Some understand it, some don’t.

  11. McGehee says:

    Don’t you get tired of the histrionics that one party is all good and one all evil?

    Don’t encounter it much, except from leftist trolls. I don’t see the flipside from people on the right because I don’t read those blogs and they don’t troll the blogs I do read.

  12. Attila Girl says:

    Mr. Gates, the plural would be “parties.”

  13. Justin Gates says:

    Sorry. I thought you could defend you idea’s. I have to laugh, do you really believe in myth’s? I will look elsewhere for serious discussion as the supercilious rants of the credulous are too disappointing. I’ll let you get back to the land of privacy invasion and home of the craven. Oh god! there is a shadow, maybe its a lefty terrorist! Don’t wet yourselves and call FatherlandSecurity right away!

  14. jonkendall says:

    gates argues ‘little difference’. he’s so high-minded. he used ‘supercilious’ in a sentence [but incorrect grammar]. he baited us, because we can’t defend our ideas. his idea: there’s little difference between the parties. his point can only be argued on such a broad, longterm basis as not to be useful in any real context. where does such an argument lead? these ‘little’ differences make the difference between dem/gop because we ALL believe in freedom, but differ in how to execute it. too much knowledge, not enough common sense. but HE’s laughing at US?