How to make a political scientist cringe:
A bipartisan group of prominent political strategists on Tuesday announced an Internet information venture designed to interact with America's opinion leaders and serve as an antidote to the right-left clash that typifies political discourse on the Web.
The site, called Hotsoup.com, will debut in October and will be edited by Ron Fournier, former chief political writer for The Associated Press.
Hotsoup is the brainchild of some of the best-known practitioners of partisan politics in Washington, including Matthew Dowd, chief strategist for the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004, and Joe Lockhart, former White House press secretary under President Clinton and a senior adviser to Democratic Sen. John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign...
"We all share the belief that partisanship is largely driven by a debate that lacks information and lacks context, and we think this community can provide both of those things," Lockhart said.
From a marketing perspective, it's unclear why anyone would go to this site. There are many others like it out there already, and they uniformly suck. And from a behavioral perspective, the idea that partisanship is "largely driven by a debate that lacks information and lacks context" is stunningly ill-informed. There's plenty of information and context out there. Most people just choose not to get it.
I would write more, but Matthew Yglesias hit the important points yesterday:
[I]t always strikes me as remarkable that nobody ever seems to wonder if there might be actual structural reasons for the rise in political polarization that can't be overcome through a website. When you think about it, after all, polarization is the default state of a political system organized around zero-sum competition between two parties. America used to be less polarized because it used to have the functional equivalent of a multiparty system, thanks to the existence of racial segregation in the South. So should we bring back segregation in order to open up more possibilities for cross-cutting coalition politics? That seems like a bad idea. Should we amend the Constitution to create a parliamentary system with proportional representation? I actually think that would be a good idea in many ways, but obviously it's wildly impractical. So what are you going to do? Nothing, it seems.