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« Herman's 0-9-4.5 plan | Main | Ron Paul means it »

October 22, 2011



Excellent. I hope you made a similar comment to his NYT website.

Robert Lipscomb

I submit it goes back to Thomas Jefferson's Kentucky Resolutions.

Rich Horton

You know... you've got two choices here; you can look at it simply like an ideologue, OR you can try to look at it like a political scientist. Nocera gave us a hypothesis we can actually find a measure for. We can look at the numbers of cloture votes in the Senate and use that as a measure of discord in the proceedings.

Has the Senate become more discordant in the years since the Bork fight? Well, yes. (You can find a graph for cloture voting on Wikipedia: )

So, is Nocera's hypothesis confirmed? Well, not exactly. WHen you look at the graph the two eras that seem to kick off marked increases in the amount of political discord are the Watergate era (for obvious reasons), and the era marked by the election of Clinton in 92 and the election of a Republican Congress in 94.

It also has to be said that your analysis isn't really borne out by the data either. By this cloture measure the Senate was a pretty harmonious place from 1948-1970, despite McCarthyism, "Who lost China-ism", and the rise of the Civil Rights movement. If politics of the era were really so discordant why doesn't it show up on this measure? Are there other objective measures that will show the discord you claim? (My use of cloture voting is a quick and dirty solution, though an entirely defensible one I'd argue. The rule for cloture hasn't been changed since 1949, so we know we are dealing with an apples to apples comparison.)

That's my two cents. Mileage will vary depending upon how ideologically fervent one is.

CK MacLeod

Rich Horton: The assertion that political science can or does transcend ideology is highly ideological.



Rich Horton

CK: Uh, no. The real question becomes is it possible to talk about politics without it becoming an excuse to stick ones tongue out at ones "enemy". You, seemingly, deny that is even possible. You'll forgive me if I do not view that fact as a sign of your enlightenment.

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