Sigh. Drew Westen. Again.

Oct 29 '11

The New York Times devotes additional column inches to the opinions of Drew Westen.  Last time, that didn’t work out so well.  How about this time?


bq. Because of their attitude toward authority and hierarchy, Republicans in Congress are more likely to follow their leaders… Democrats on the other hand react so strongly against taking “marching orders” that they can scarcely stay on message even if their political lives depend on it (which they often do).

Fact: Democrats in Congress are as unified if not more unified than Republicans in Congress.  See here or here.


bq. …the most popular political figure or institution in the country remains “none of the above.”

Westen again:

bq. If the American people aren’t drinking the Kool-Aid from either side of the aisle, it’s probably because they don’t trust the water from either well.

Fact: When Obama is pitted against a generic Republican candidate or any of the current Republican candidates, only a handful of people, perhaps 10% at best, say “neither” or that they are “unsure.”   Lots of polls are here.  The same is true when a generic Democratic congressional candidate is pitted against a generic Republican (see here).

Fact: When you ask people whether they consider themselves “a Democrat, Republican, an independent, or what” and then ask those who say “independent” or something else whether they lean toward the Democratic or Republican party, only 10% of Americans describe themselves as truly independent. And this number of true independent is smaller now than 30 or 40 years ago.  See here.  And most independents who “lean” towards a party vote loyally for that party.  See here.

Fact: People’s partisan identities have become a stronger influence on vote choice since the 1970s.  See here (gated).

Fact: Almost 3 out of 4 Democrats (72%) currently approve of the job that Obama is doing as President.  See here.

Fact: Among Republicans who recognize the candidate, more than 60% of Republicans have favorable or strongly favorable views of Romney and Perry.  About 75% have a favorable view of Cain.  See here.

It’s true that the large majority of Americans don’t trust the government and also disapprove of Congress and either party in Congress.  But these facts are largely due to a weak economy and to people’s perennial dislike of Congress as an institution.  We don’t need a psychotherapist to diagnose the malady.

Westen portrays the American public as disgusted with both parties and their presidential candidates.  But Americans largely identify with and vote loyally for a major political party.  And Democrats tend to like Obama.  And Republicans tend to like most of the Republican candidates.

In reality, Americans are disgusted with only one party: the one they don’t belong to.  As for their own party, well, the Kool-Aid tastes pretty good.