Read My Lips: Voters Do Not Care About the Legislative Process of Healthcare Reform

by Henry Farrell on March 15, 2010 · 4 comments

in Me The People,Political Science and Journalism,Public opinion,Senate procedure

Clive Crook resurrects the canard.

In the last big push to get reform through, using whatever deals, scams, ruses and parliamentary evasions fall to hand, the public and their concerns are pushed ever more to the periphery of Washington’s vision. … Recovering voters’ respect for the outcome, even assuming the outcome is good, looks an ever more distant prospect. … Democrats facing tight elections are right to worry that “in due course” might be a long time. It is hard to see how the public will forget this mess between now and November. … passing an unpopular bill by questionable means is unlikely to prove an electoral tonic.

John, of course, has been all over this. However, he merely has ‘data’ and ‘analysis’ on his side. Clive Crook, in contrast, has the punditocracy’s trump card – confidently-worded assertions. Less sarcastically (OK – only slightly less sarcastically), when I become world dictator, my first act will be to decree that pundits who promiscuously write about how “the public” thinks this or that, without any reference to data on what the ‘public’ (a dubious concept in most of these debates anyway) actually thinks will be required, under pain of death, to rewrite their columns so as to substitute the word “I” and related personal pronouns/possessive adjectives for the word “the public” throughout. In the interim, readers are invited to make the necessary substitutions themselves. As illustrated by the following

In the last big push to get reform through, using whatever deals, scams, ruses and parliamentary evasions fall to hand, me and my concerns are pushed ever more to the periphery of Washington’s vision. … My respect for the outcome, even assuming the outcome is good, looks an ever more distant prospect. … Democrats facing tight elections are right to worry that “in due course” might be a long time. It is hard to see how I will forget this mess between now and November. … passing an unpopular bill by questionable means is unlikely to win my vote.

which happily has the dual advantage of being punchier and more accurate than the original.

{ 4 comments }

KenS March 15, 2010 at 4:00 pm

I propose that columnists adopt a convention of the Tuyuca language, which requires verb endings that indicate how the speaker knows what he is saying is true. People like Crook will need a shortcut key for the ending that means “I have no idea what I am talking about.”

wilburpup March 15, 2010 at 7:55 pm

How is it that Henry “knows” the public does not care about the legislative process?

Ah….it must be because he is an #associate# political SCIENCE professor. An oxymoron worthy of the name.

go vols March 15, 2010 at 9:48 pm

Henry, of course, links to a post with actual data. Not the strongest set of data in the world, but not nothing either.

Wilbur, by contrast, is apparently too lazy to actually read the post, or doesn’t know how a hyperlink works, and is content to launch lame ad hominems instead.

Jeff March 16, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Not only that, Wilbur thinks there’s actual meaning in the word “associate” when referencing a professor’s rank. He probably thinks it means Henry isn’t a “real” professor.

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