Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The political Marquis(es) of Queensbury?

"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?


xoff said...

It's a gimmick, good for publicity but little else.

Elections are about drawing distinctions and making choices. That's why we have campaigns. The idea of joint advertising, on its face, is ludicrous. What kind of choice is that? Vote for either one of us? Voters can't vote for both of them, although they seem to think they can both serve if one of them wins. (There's no danger of that, so no matter.)

And what happens post-primary, when the dynamic duo is split up?

Sorry, but this is a farce It does not pass the smugness test.

Anonymous said...

Yeh, I think you're both being unfair. Let them give it a try -- unless you two, S&S and Xoff, have got a better idea (short of yet more laws with more loopholes) on how to improve the political campaigning mess in the country. And how anyone can compete against the Sensenbrenner money.

Let us in the district decide, even if it means less money for campaign managers.