Full circle


Andrew Sullivan—linking to Joe Klein, who I linked to while linking to Dan Gardner, who was linking to Paul Wells—on the state of play in Washington.

The main impression I get from the various Obama peeps and appointments and, well, vibe, is that their fundamental interest is in governing. For eight years, we had an administration interested entirely in politics. These incoming people have actually thought about what to do with respect to actual, practical problems.


Full circle

  1. Point being that the change in mood in Washington may spill over here (whether by a change in culture by the CPC or–more likely–a change in government)?

  2. I agree, except I’d say 16 years (ie including the 8 clinton years) instead of just 8 years. The clintons cared a lot about spin, I would say.

    I have some (perhaps naive) hope that the Adults are back.

  3. I remember the days when we had a government HERE that had some measure of a desire to actually provide good government. These guys here now, it’s all politics all the time. Sigh

    • Yr memory must reach further back than mine. Which govt would that be, exactly/

  4. Wow! What a novel concept. Governing instead of politics. “Can we have some of that, Mr President?”

  5. The argument between governing or playing politics depends on where you sit on the political spectrum, I think. As far as I am concerned, Obama just wants to increase the number of public employees, and funnel money to unions, with his bailout package. Don’t all pols think they are on the side of angels while pols in other parties are clearly evil?

    Christina Romer, the head of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, is a leading economist/researcher in how much more effective tax cuts are, compared to public spending, to stimulating economy but she’s been sidelined in this debate. If Obama cares more about governing, rather than politics, why aren’t we hearing more from her?

    • JWl I take yr pt but i don’t think you quite finished it. I’m not sure you can easily separate the two but one indicator is whether policies are consistent and followed through on. I supose it also depends on how clear yr mandate is. Obama’s is clear, SH’s not so. But SH has consistently squandered his opportunities to govern in favour of politics. What i’m not clear on is it because he thinks he has to, or is it because he doesn;t know where to go. In any case Obama has opted to lead for now and SH…who knows.

  6. How on earth could a politician of any persuasion ever exercise good governance without playing politics – all true political gamesmanship is basically about 2 things cultivating relationships and thinking (acting) strategically and all good governance can only be achieved by understanding the political game irrespective of the type of gov’t as this applies to human (and animal see primates as well as other types of mammals) organizations – sorry the point is absurd and non-sequitor. Good governance is good politics and vice versa good politics leads to good governance.

    • I think i can second that. But where’s the ideal balance between the two. It’s way to early to tell with Obama , but Harper has clearly favoured the later.[ politics]

    • I am not sure that I fully agree that good politics necessarily translates into good governance. It seems to me that one can identify what amount good political maneuvers that were ultimately not sound in terms of governance.

      that aside, even if you were correct, i think your assumption of ‘good’ politics is part of the problem. in the accusation, that the Tories have been overly focussed on politics, no one is saying that they are good politics or good at politics.

  7. Since I can’t really argue with the statement, “good governance is good politics and good politics leads to good governance” that must mean Stephen Harper has been playing BAD politics. It certainly hasn’t been good governance, nor can I see any way it will lead to good governance (unless he loses an election, that is)

    Good politics doesn’t equal gotcha politics, is I think the shorter version.