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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Why Does the NYT Think That Politicians Are Philosophers?

Why Does the NYT Think That Politicians Are Philosophers?

Thursday, 04 November 2010 05:24

It would seem pretty obvious that politicians respond to the concerns of interest groups. A successful politician manages to garner the support of enough powerful interest groups to get the money and votes to put himself or herself in office. They don't have to pass tests in political philosophy.

Therefore it is peculiar that a NYT article would refer to the "the core philosophical disagreements" between Republicans and Democrats. It is not clear what this means since there is little evidence that either side is guided by philosophy rather than political expediency. Philosophy does not win elections.

Comments (9)Add Comment
written by izzatzo, November 04, 2010 7:44
Philosophically speaking, the whole country has been sobbing with relief since hearing John Boehner speak in tears about chasing the American Dream, working night shifts and running a small business ... and passing out checks on the floor of Congress during votes on pending tobacco legislation. Philosophically speaking.
vote philosophical conscience or vote least worst
written by frankenduf, November 04, 2010 12:16
Dean may be too glib here- Marx wrote that an idea only becomes powerful when taken hold of by the masses- so philosophy can certainly play a role in mass voter movements- the problem is that pr science has deconstructed philosophy into propaganda, and use media control to hammer home the controlled messages as the 'truth'- so no, the koch bros certainly aren't lovers of wisdom, but they know how to turn ideological mantras into electoral victories
philosophical parties
written by pete, November 04, 2010 1:44
These do very poorly, like Socialist Workers, Green, Libertarian...they are refreshingly consistent, more or less, but tragically ineffective....leaving us to the monopoly of the 2 pragmatic and nearly indistinguishable parties
Says Boehner:
written by diesel, November 04, 2010 3:38
“I believe that the health care bill that was enacted by the current Congress will kill jobs in America, ruin the best health care system in the world and bankrupt our country,” Mr. Boehner said. “That means that we have to do everything we can to try to repeal this bill, and replace it with common-sense reforms that will bring down the cost of health insurance.”

"The core philosophical difference" between parties is that one party's beliefs bear at least a passing resemblance to the world around us, while the other's is an imaginative confabulation.
The Corporate Party of America
written by Ron Alley, November 04, 2010 4:02
The Corporate Party of America, Right Wing and the Corporate Party of America, Left Wing share a common philosophy. What changed in the bailout plan after Mr. Obama was inaugurated? Could healthcare reform be passed without reserving a place at the table for the insurance companies?

It's really mind over matter. The parties mind the business of corporate interests and the interests of the voters don't matter.
written by Joe, November 04, 2010 4:21
The philosophical idea is that voters want their taxes cut, money spent on them to increase and money spent on others to decrease.
written by diesel, November 04, 2010 4:40
The sad thing about Boehner is that he really believes that going from a kid mopping the floor in his Dad's tavern to being a Congressman is a step up.
US - one party with two right wings
written by Hugh Sansom, November 05, 2010 6:14
The New York Times is just playing its role as journalistic hagiographer, preserving Official American Mythology. (Much as Harvard is the academic hagiographer of the US.)

There is an excellent account, with outstanding predictive power, of what motivates 95% or more of Democrats and Republicans — what does big money say?

The "philosophy" that motivates both Democrats and Republicans is, as Dean Baker suggests, self-serving money-grubbing.
written by Robert A Pinkus, November 08, 2010 11:19
It would be more accurate to use the term "ideology" instead of "philosophy."

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.