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September 06, 2011


Brendan's conclusions look reasonable. I have a few comments about the Times article:

1. I think it's a stretch to blame something Gingrich did 20 years ago for how Congress works today. The people responsible for preventing debate on the terms of the health care and Dodd-Frank bills were the leadership when they were passed: Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama.

2. If one wants to blame someone for initiating the kind of rudeness experienced by Elisabeth Warren, the turning point was the Dems' shameful treatment of Robert Bork. That's why the word Bork is in is the dictionary.

3. Bias is shown by the Times' gratuitous implication that the Tea Party ought to be blamed for polarization, even though Cooper hadn't mentioned them.

4. The article assumes that a polarized Congress means worse policy. It's natural that a long-time Congressman would believe this. However, I'm not sure I agree. I know of no evidence proving that polarized legislatures make worse laws. Note that the bitter battles between Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton led to balanced budgets!

In fairness, the Times piece in question was an op-ed column, not a Times article--though assuredly their news articles are often also misguided and counterfactual.

The reminder of why the word "bork" is in the dictionary is useful (not to be confused with the word boink, which is also in the dictionary).

Further to my previous comment about the Times's news articles, last week Charlie Savage wrote about Operation Fast and Furious, a subject Brendan's been paying attention to as part of his interest in what becomes a political scandal. In the course of fewer than 900 words, Savage managed to describe the operation as both "ill-fated" and "star-crossed." Apparently the fault, dear Brutus, lies not in the Administration but in our stars. Let it be noted that Charlie Savage is a winner of the NCTE George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language. Orwell would have appreciated the irony.

Some of you are only looking at face value...Bork was merely political payback for Democratic "indescretions" committed against the Republicans. Which further supports Cooper's assertions. It is from both sides of the aisle...

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