02 December 2010

Don't Toe the Line

An old college friend of mine, Chris, posted this column the other day. It is from the New York Times' Ross Douthat, and deals with the potency of partisan perceptions. It is exceedingly even-handed. An excerpt:

This tendency is vividly illustrated by our national security debates. In the 1990s, many Democrats embraced Bill Clinton’s wars of choice in the Balkans and accepted his encroachments on civil liberties following the Oklahoma City bombing, while many Republicans tilted noninterventionist and libertarian.
If Al Gore had been president on 9/11, this pattern might have persisted, with conservatives resisting the Patriot Act the way they’ve rallied against the T.S.A.’s Rapiscan technology, and Vice President Joe Lieberman prodding his fellow Democrats in a more Cheney-esque direction on detainee policy.But because a Republican was president instead, conservative partisans suppressed their libertarian impulses and accepted the logic of an open-ended war on terror, while Democratic partisans took turns accusing the Bush administration of shredding the Constitution.
It is a short piece and worth reading. I especially like the ending. I've seen the partisan mindset manifested in economic perceptions especially, which is unfortunate, as that tends to have a self-fulfilling effect.

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