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29 Feb 2012 01:54


Politics: Is partisanship the problem? Or is our political system the problem?

  • Snowe’s retirement will have many lamenting the endangered moderate and wondering how we can turn back the clock. But we can’t. About that, Snowe is right. Polarization is with us now and will be with us for the foreseeable future. The question is whether we will permit it to paralyze our political system and undermine our country or whether we will accept it and make the necessary accommodations.
  • Ezra Klein • Arguing that the problem with congress isn’t partisanship, or ideological polarization, but rather that the institutions and procedures codified in our political system aren’t well-equipped to handle a polarized congress. Klein’s prime example is the filibuster, which as we’ve seen the past couple of years, is absolutely crippling when the two parties in the Senate don’t agree on anything. “Our system, as any historian will tell you, was built by men who hated parties and anticipated their absence from American politics,” Klein says. “But as the two parties have polarized, we’ve learned that a system built for consensus is not able to properly function amid constant partisan competition.” source

08 Mar 2011 22:55


Politics: Senators running for the hills, not re-election

  • 8 U.S. Senators will retire in 2012 rather than seek re-election source
  • » What’s going on? Well, it’s a mix of this and that. A few of the retirees clearly weren’t going to win re-election, namely John Ensign and “Cowboy Joe” Lieberman. A few could have won but faced uphill battles (Jim Webb, Kent Conrad). Hawaii’s Daniel Akaka is just really old, and Kay Bailey Hutchison had promised that she’d retire if she lost her bid for Texas Governor (which she did). But some of the retirements — Jeff Bingaman and John Kyl in particular — seemingly came out of nowhere. We’ll just have to take ’em at their word when they say what politicians always say when they retire: they want to spend more time with their families.