Friday, February 19, 2016

"This sort of display helps explain why partisan identification among Americans is at or near historic lows."

The Fight Over Scalia's Replacement Shows Why Most People Hate Dems & Reps - Hit & Run : "Dems & Reps both have a good argument in the fight over who should pick the next Supreme Court member. Sadly, the argument is that both sides are sacks of shit.

...when it comes to the argument over whether a president should nominate a person to the Supreme Court in his last year in office, Republicans and Democrats can marshall all sorts of historical prejudice, most of which has been soaking in partisan hypocrisy like housewives' hands used to soak in Palmolive dish detergent. What is not at issue, however, is that the president has the constitutional right to do so and the Senate has the constitutional right not to act. I'm less interested in relitigating the recent and distant past when it comes to unspeakable acts of jurisprudential bullshit (hello, Chuck Schumer! hello, Ted Cruz!) than I am in pointing out how perfectly the current situation illustrates why confidence and trust in government has tanked in the 21st century. 

Before poor old Nino Scalia, the pride of Trenton, had even gone fully cold, Democrats and Republicans were already carping about the replacement process and hurling invective like a troop of howler monkeys playing with its own feces. The parties' handlers in the media—whether actually paid for by GOP or Democrats or simply assuming the mantle of "expert analyst"—went into partisan hyperdrive to walk through just what an outrage it was that Obama would even dare to nominate anyone or that the Senate would refuse to contemplate even a clone of Scalia (well, at least if it was derived using fetal stem cells...). This sort of display helps explain why partisan identification among Americans is at or near historic lows. In Gallup's latest take on the issues, just 26 percent of us will admit to anonymous pollsters on the phone that we are Republicans. That's one point above the historic low. And just 29 percent of us will cop to being a Democrat, which is the lowest recorded figure in Gallup's decades of asking...

I've written before about the problem with low-trust societies: Ironically, they push for more government involvement in everything as a reaction to reduced confidence in government. It's counter-intuitive but there it is. Especially from a libertarian perspective, it's a good idea if government is highly competent and sharply limited in its size, scope, and spending. In fact, the two things go together. I would submit that the decline in party identification and trust in government we've seen in this century makes total sense when you consider how poorly conservative Republicans governed and how poorly liberal Democrats have governed. Bush delivered not simply the opposite of what he promised (lower spending, humble foreign policy) but was incompetent in significant ways (Katrina, the wars, etc.). Obama may have inspired hope but similarly burned good will by deporting immigrants in record numbers, siccing the feds on medical marijuana shops, being pointlessly hawkish, and shoving a still-unpopular health-care bill through on strictly partisan lines. Each president was more than capably aided by their parties and their zealots."

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