Joe Klein has a very good take down of David Broder’s recent column:
David Broder has a very strange column today, praising a paper by the conservative scholar William Schambra in which the author criticizes Barack Obama for being interested in…policy. This is something I’ve noticed over the past twenty years: the Republicans–some of whom used to give a good faith effort to figuring out how best to govern–have lost all interest in policy. They care about power, and are willing to do just about anything to retain or gain it.
The argument against policy is that it’s…just…too…hard. Presidents like Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama believe in the possibility of rational public responses to chronic problems like health care or climate change. Their dreams are led astray by the realities of politics–lobbyists and craven pols who impose the fatally flawed as the enemy of the good. This is an argument neither new nor coherent.
I hadn’t thought of this angle, that Broder’s point is completely ridiculous because….what the fuck is the alternative to enacting policy?
My reaction to the column was different: it heralds the official Village recognition of National Affairs, a new high-brow winger publication that we’re likely to hear a lot about over the next couple years. Bobo drooled all over the thing a few weeks ago too. Be afraid, be very afraid.
Broder tells us that the “advisory board is made up of noted conservative academics from James W. Ceaser to James Q. Wilson”. The focus seems to be on policy and social science rather than wanking about Burke and Hayek. So let me ask you this: is there anything to conservative social science research beyond pro-voucher propaganda, pseudo-scientific attempts to justify white supremacism (Murray, Sailer, Saletan), and concern trolling liberal programs?