"Things get sold in this country every day without people having to die behind it"
- Jimmy McNulty, The Wire
My first reaction to the two Concordia professors who want to run together was to push the smug alarm. It smacks of this notion - which tends to be associated with moderate Republicans who won't admit they have become Democrats - that politics is a science, i.e., that there is some neutral way of identifying the public good that we might all agree upon if we just got out of the partisan muck. While these guys say that they disagree each other, I wonder. I am generally suspicious of those who say we can rise above partisanship. There is a reason that we cling to our partisan divides. They reflect real differences of opinion about important stuff.
But maybe I am being unfair. There is a sense in which I think that there is a higher way to which pols can aspire. It has nothing to do with agreeing or coming together on issues. I has to do with how our differences are expressed.
I have spent years in a profession in which highly aggressive people fight with each other everyday over things that matter greatly. It can get pointed and there are lawyers who stretch the truth, make silly arguments and are routinely uncivil. I call them bad lawyers. Without exception.
Believe it or not, good lawyers fight hard for their clients and generally manage to do it without misrepresentation or making the intellectually silly arguments that just about every campaign spokesperson makes every day. They manage to treat each other with respect.
That does not seem to happen very often in politics and, of course, it cannot be mandated or made to happen by law. But is there a Moneyball opportunity here?