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June 29, 2015

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I'm a little bit put off by your model of party ideals, which is at least a little silly and headed in the David Brooks/Third Way centrist direction: "an ideologically-driven party run by the true believers, rather than pragmatists."

I don't understand why that's your gloss on this, exactly, except that women's reproductive issues hit several of your blind spots rather neatly.

Leaving that aside, the parties both been sorting ideologically and polarizing worse than in the glory days of the Ford and Reagan presidencies of your youth. You could call down to Georgetown and talk to Hans Noel about this, based on his new book: http://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/politics-international-relations/american-government-politics-and-policy/political-ideologies-and-political-parties-America

But we do agree on the difference between parties: The Republican Party is broken (as per Bernstein: http://www.salon.com/2013/04/06/the_republican_party_is_officially_broken/) while the Democratic Party is not, at least yet.

But in the broader schema, this is so small beer and so low stakes, as a point towards broken ness that I don't understand why you ran around freaking out about base care and feeding in the first place.

The interesting case to make is Hillary Clinton considering supporting a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United as a contrast to, say, Walker's marriage equality constitutional amendment. Constitutional amendments are almost all pure base service given the number of veto/failure points.

But even then, she's said she's interested in supporting, one, while he's proposed one directly.

The relevance of my commentary was the relative operation of highly ideological parties in a polarized environment.

The Democratic Party still has room to run before it goes late Trotskyite Student Union like the current GOP. Doesn't mean it won't, but this is far more likely a mix of Senatorial ass-covering as well as base service/public policy.

What will be interesting is facing off against a more broken, more "Maoist self-criticism session" prone version of the GOP after 2016 or 2020. The GOP will have to do more to pour sand in the machinery of government, either from the White House or House of Reps, meaning shutdowns and fights over abortion and guns.

If the Democratic Caucus moves left and has constituents to service with real public policy preferences, not cries for help, what's the end game?

What are my other blind spots?

I'm also still not following the argument. As I read it, you argued that the Democrats had not yet reached the point of throwing babies out with the bathwater for the sake of ideological purity. On the bill in question, the Democrats compromised (in this case on reproductive rights) and kept the baby (of the human-trafficking bill). Ergo, you were correct. How that relates to "Third Wayism" is not clear to me. Could you explain?

Hmm, I'd have to think about your other blind spots for a while to list them tactfully.

I'm suggesting that the Democratic Party is functioning like an ideologically coherent party in a polarized system; that the Republican Party is broken, even for a polarized system.

I'm relating it to "Third Wayism" because you suggest a healthy system is one in which pragmatists exceed and "true believers" do not. It may be just felicitous phrasing, since it chimes with the David Brooks' fetish for the mushy middle of American politics, the "radical centrism" that's both boring and lazy.

To play this a bit more closely your way: The Democratic Party in this scuffle acted on what it saw as a legitimate public policy good regarding reproductive health, women's rights, base care/feeding, and Senatorial ass covering. It had a measurable, demonstrable outcome that it wanted, that generated utilitarian good to the highest number of people at the lowest cost. That's pragmatic, even after all the fighting, right?

The Republican Party hates women's reproductive healthy and its association with government in every way, prioritizing slutshaming and demonstrations of commitment to slutshaming over any sort of outputs. So, the GOP here is "true-believing" in your parlance, but in my head, I see it as acting theologically, rather than logically.

(If you actually want fewer abortions, etc, you do a lot of stuff for reproductive health anyway, but they want less access to education, pills, and contraceptives, as well as abortion.)

Why I think we're talking past each other is that your phrasing is tied to the coalition party governance of your youth, and I've worked to unpack this, at least for my understanding.

Does this clarify our disagreement?

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