The Economist has an interesting take in its Schumpeter blog from not-too-long-ago about the appropriateness of managing government like managing a business. The British newsweekly has never hidden its political views, and nobody would accuse it of being anything to the left of a Tory-leaning Liberal-Democrat. One might expect it to take a bullish attitude toward making government more businesslike.
But after examining some ideas, the paper comes to an interesting conclusion: interesting idea, but don’t take it too far:
There is much to quarrel with in the growing movement to learn from the private sector. Businesspeople tend to forget that government always involves the clash of visions and interests. The government of people can never be reduced to the administration of things. Businesspeople also forget that they are an interest group like any other. But it is nevertheless right to involve as many different voices as possible in the discussion. Governments have no choice but to rethink their core operations in the light of tectonic technological changes and escalating social pressures. They need all the help they can get.
Which is the point. We shouldn’t shy away from good ideas that come from business just because they were birthed in the commercial realm, but we should not give them credence in the government context merely because they succeeded in business.
“All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you. The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for external reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration. You may succeed in making another feel guilty about something by blaming him, but you won’t succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy.”
The radical center is a part of the evolving U.S. political spectrum that owes no allegiance to the ideologies of the right or left, choosing instead to focus on the search for practical solutions to the core challenges that face the nation. The
The term “radical” is used to denote both a passion for the position and for a readiness to institute drastic change to redress the dysfunctions in our system.
A radical centrist, by extension, is one who espouses such beliefs and behaves accordingly.
In what probably began as a send-up to the Tea Party, the Coffee Party USA is a nascent movement of what we call the “Radical Center.” Rather than preach revolution, they preach better governance and political involvement from all sides of the debate.
More than just an umbrella movement of “independents” and “undecideds,” it is organizing those unaffiliated voters based on the issues that have chased them out of parties in the first place.
The group’s focus is on what they call the “cycle of corruption” in American politics, and their cure includes campaign finance reform, the re-regulation of Wall Street, and a rethink of the tax code, beginning with a renewed look at the Simpson-Bowles Plan.
I agree with 50-60% of what they say, which is a lot more than I can say for the Tea Party or the DNC, so they’re going on my list of organizations to support in a wider effort to bring the political dialogue in this country back to the rest of us.
No, sadly, the moderate and progressive wing of the Republican party will have no say in 2012. But the longer the Tea Party and reactionary wing of the GOP retains control, the more they set the stage for a return of the Eisenhower/TR/Dewey/Huntsman Republicans.
Big election coming up later this year, I hear. Don’t want to get into that yet; let’s wait till the Republicans choose between Sick Rick and Ragged Mitt, though Mr. Remove-Silver-Spoon-and-Insert-Foot seems to have it locked up. Tonight’s results could spell the end for Rick, though the grossly self-righteous never seem to go away quietly.
No, today the History Nerd wants to look back to another big election, one from a century ago that at least one historian thinks…
A nostalgic look at the election of 1912, arguably the birth of the Bull Moose faction of the Republican Party, and proof that the answer is not starting a third party, but taking back our own (attention: John Huntsman!)
Writing in the new issue of TIME, Jon Meacham challenges Santorum's account of Kennedy's views on Church and State:
Santorum suggests that Kennedy offered a secular call to arms, banishing religion from American life in ways that believers like Santorum are still crusading to reverse. Kennedy's address, however, doesn't say what Santorum wishes it to have said. It called for an end to bigotry, not an end to faith in politics.
The dangers of taking a politician out of context in the age of the internet should be self-evident. Apparently, Mr. Santorum left that out of his calculus.
Forget Kennedy's party and religious affiliations. His words should bring discomfort to both the religious right and the deicidal left: whether our founders were closet theocrats or enlightenment humanists who wore the mantle of faith for convenience and social acceptance, the framework they put into place was about tolerance.
America is neither the last Christian nation nor the first Humanist one. It is a country where national identity operates outside the scope of such beliefs. Let it continue to be so.