We live in post-truth politics

[Update 2010-04-01, 7:45pm] David Roberts also has a new post specifically dealing with Obama’s offshore-drilling announcement.


The political landscape is in transition right now due to the healthcare fight being over. That means it’s time to come up for air and reevaluate how we should think about political fights, and change our thinking in a way that will enable us to actually win. Unfortunately, the President decided he should take this opportunity to make a political move so egregious from a policy perspective that it feels more like an announcement from our previous head of state. Chris Bowers has a good summary of the political considerations that lead Obama to make this offshore-drilling announcement. It’s depressing, because it makes sense.

This painful betrayal heightens our resolve to push legislative practices that are effective from a policy and politics perspective. Luckily, there are two good articles out today making recommendations in that regard.

Mike Lux writes about the inherent connection between banking reform and job creation:

With so much of America’s wealth concentrated in six mega-banks, and those banks investing in little that’s creating jobs, we are not going to create real private sector job growth.

What really needs to happen, Lux argues, is breaking up these big banks. He then goes on to highlight three instances of fiery language from Democrats on this issue. Read it.

David Roberts writes on Grist about the confusion of politics and policy in Democratic tactics. The best part of the article is a quote from John Holbo conceptualizing the political environment where one party has poor discipline (frequently works with the other party) and the other has strong discipline (doesn’t):

Over time, both parties will push positive proposals/legislation. Quite obviously, the Bipartisan Party will be at a tactical disadvantage, due to its lax discipline. Less obviously, it will have an ongoing optics problem. All the proposals of the Partisan Party will be bipartisan. That is, a few members of the other party will, predictably, peel off and cross the aisle to stand with the Partisans. None of the proposals of the Bipartisan Party, on the other hand, will ever be bipartisan. No Partisan will ever support a Bipartisan measure. In fact, all proposals of the Bipartisan party will face bipartisan opposition — as a few Bipartisans trudge across the aisle (there are always a few!) to stand with the Partisans. Result: the Partisan party, thanks to its unremitting opposition to bipartisanship, will be able to present itself as the party of bipartisanship, and be able to critique the Bipartisan Party, with considerable force and conviction, as the hypocritically hyperpartisan party of pure partisanship.

This is, of course, a pointed description of the Democratic and Republican parties right now. Roberts advises treating policy and politics separately as much as possible, so that good policy doesn’t get thrown down the crapper for the sake of political victory that never comes. I’m not sure how that would manifest in reality, but I heartily agree.

Whatever the course, we need people across the country who care about fairness and empathy and equality to be active and work hard for a better society.

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