Monday, January 15, 2007

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The blog wheel has turned

Between 2002 and 2006, I noticed a meta-narrative that appeared in the blogosphere every so often:

1) Policy X is promulgated;

2) Policy X is generally acknowledged to be bad by policy wonks across the ideological spectrum;

3) The left half of the policy-wonk blogosphere blames Republicans for being responsible for implementing said idiotic policy;

4) The right half of the political blogosphere responds by pointing out the complicity of several Democrats in getting political approval of the policy;

5) The left half responds that this is besides the point, because the Republicans hold all the levers of power, so they're the ones who are to blame

6) Raucus name-calling debate ensues.

I bring this up because, once the Democrats took power in Congress, I had a hunch that we might see the inverse of this passion play in the blogosphere: Republicans bashing Dems for bad policy, and Dems responding by pointing out that some Republicans embrace the policy as well.

For Exhibit A, see this Mark Thoma post about protectionist Republicans. His basic point:

There has been attempt after attempt to portray the trade issue as an area where Democrats are deeply divided, and there has been much written about how Democrats will stifle trade and hurt the economy now that they are in power.

But the split is not unique to Democrats. As with immigration, Republicans are no less divided on this issue....

The point here is not to answer all the questions that surround the trade issue, but simply to emphasize that the divisions that exist are not confined to a particular party no matter what some pundits would have you believe.

Read the whole thing. Thoma is correct about protectionist Republicans (though I think they're more significant on immigraton than trade). That said, he overlooks the fact that if the Democrats hold majorities in both houses of Congress, then it is appropriate that they shoulder the majority of criticism for their protectionist wing.

posted by Dan on 01.15.07 at 02:15 PM


The key to the meta-narrative is #4, "getting political approval of the policy," that is, actually getting it enacted (or issuing the the executive order, or otherwise making it operative). Remind me which policies the Democratic Congress has enacted to date?

posted by: alkali on 01.15.07 at 02:15 PM [permalink]

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