- The Washington Post: Fewer dinners mean meaner politics
Since Gingrich's cohort of Republicans came into office in 1994, there has been a steady decline in bipartisan socialization and, indeed, socialization at all. He exhorted freshmen to return to their districts whenever possible, to be in D.C. only when absolutely necessary. The result is a dangerous loss in bipartisanship. It's easy to see opposing opinions as evil if you don't actually know anybody who holds those opinions.
- AP: Surry County to Open Poll for One Voter
There's just one guy in the 3rd Senate district in Surry County. State law requires that a polling place be open all day, staffed by three people. It'll cost $2,000. Bang-up job on redistricting, legislature. It's these little things that really show the attention to detail.
- New York Times: Public Views Congress as Top Culprit in Debt Debate, Poll Finds
Congress is at its highest-ever disapproval rating. If you were one of the people insisting last year that the majority had lost the right to lead Congress because of their low approval ratings, this might be an occasion for a little hypocrisy gut check.
Published by Waldo Jaquith
Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Charlottesville, VA, USA. more »
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We’re due for a total overhaul of the federal government, and 2012 looks like a fine time for it.
The governance coming out of DC is the worst in my lifetime.
I sometimes wonder if the internet generally makes political discourse in the public seem more vitriolic in the same way that the decline of bipartisan socialization in Washington has made both caucuses seem more intransigent. Even on blogs which are well-moderated by their owner (such as this one) it’s easy to assume that someone you’ve never met in real life happens to hold a contrary point of view because there’s something deeply wrong with him.
the parties are moving in different directions. Maybe its the other way around- perhaps the meanness of the politics has caused the decline. At any rate, when there is such a divergence of political ends, I’m not sure its in my best interests for my representative to be too chummy in Washington, when the result has very often been legislation and bureaucracy that I totally disagree with. Representatives should continue to spend more time in their districts then Washington, its easier for us to keep our eyes on them that way and perhaps encourage them to have much shorter political careers.
“it’s easy to assume that someone you’ve never met in real life happens to hold a contrary point of view because there’s something deeply wrong with him.”
Nah, I’ve met you, and I still think there’s something deeply wrong with you. ;) Sorry, you set yourself up for that one.
On a more serious note, I wonder if the lack of socialization and general dislike of the typical Washington bureaucrat impacts on how politicians interact with the non-politically held government jobs in DC, and, from that, on the general workings of our political system.
Those are the folks that, you know, are there forever, and can either make your life really easy, or really hard (assuming that they too are not totally incompetent). If you’ve got a politician coming in whose whole thing was, “Screw those typical Washington (insert job title here),” well, (insert job title here) isn’t going to do a damn thing for you, and will be more than happy to tell their colleagues about what a jerk you are.
I don’t even believe the parties are actually moving in different directions, though, Whit. It was agreed pretty early on between Boehner and Obama during debt negotiations that any plan would be focused only on cuts (as opposed to tax increases), for instance, and Republicans still walked away from the table. The Affordable Care Act reads like an amalgamation between Mitt Romney’s health care plan and another plan offered up by Congressional Republicans during the 1990s as a counter-proposal to Hillary Clinton’s plan, but it was still labeled “Obamacare” by Republicans because in their minds anything associated with Barack Obama must be bad.
The differences between the two parties, at least in terms of how it plays out between elected representatives in Washington, D.C., are far more personal than ideological right now.
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