Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Jonathan "Nostradomus" Chait

From The Big Con (published in mid 2007):
Even if the Democrats manage to win the presidency in 2008 and sweep up every plausibly contestable seat in the House and Senate they will have a hard time rolling back even the worst excesses of the Bush era, let alone enacting an ambitious progressive program. The political style displayed by Republicans relied on ironclad party discipline of the sort Democrats are unlikely to match.
Sounds pretty accurate, eh? Chait's book, while good, suffers from one major flaw: his abrasive style. The first chapter, explaining the lunacy that is "Supply-side economics", is fantastic. The later chapters, explaining how Republicans can pass unpopular policies in a democracy, are not as good. He does a good job of explaining how the Republicans manage to out-maneuver Democrats on a regular basis, but then frames it as the Republicans being "bad" for using these tactics and the Democrats being too morally pure to stoop to such tactics. A more honest assessment would probably conclude that Republicans are just plain better at it.

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