David Brooks writes in today’s NY Times about “Children of Polarization”, “For many students, the main axis of their politics is not between left and right but between idealism and realism”
…Iâ€™m struck by the universal tone of postboomer pragmatism.
…In general, their writing is calm, optimistic and ironical. Most students in my class showed an aversion to broad philosophical arguments and valued the readings that were concrete and even wonky. Many wrote that they had moved lately toward the center.
…he now finds himself, as he says, cursed by centrism â€” trapped between the Pat Robertsons on the right and the Democratic elites on the left, many of whom he finds personally distasteful.
He has come to admire the prairie pragmatists, like Montanaâ€™s Jon Tester and Brian Schweitzer. In a long conversation with his brother Sage, who works on the ranch, Kendall decided that what the country needs is a party led by â€œentrepreneurial cowboy politiciansâ€? with a global perspective.
…Heâ€™s a big fan of school vouchers and now considers himself a moderate Democrat: â€œIâ€™m a Democrat because I think the Democratic Party is a better vehicle for the issues I care about: balancing the budget, checking President Bushâ€™s foreign policy and curtailing global warming. However, Iâ€™ll switch to the Republicans in a heartbeat if I believe my ideas are better received in the G.O.P.â€?
For many students, the main axis of their politics is not between left and right but between idealism and realism. They have developed a suspicion of sweepingly idealistic political ventures, and are now a fascinating mixture of youthful hopefulness and antiutopian modesty.
If my Duke students are representative, then the U.S. is about to see a generation that is practical, anti-ideological, modest and centrist (maybe to a fault).
Thatâ€™s probably good news for presidential candidates like Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton, whose main selling point is their nuts-and-bolts ability to get things done.
But over all itâ€™s bad news for Republicans. While the G.O.P. was once thought of as the practical, businesslike party, now most of my students see the Republicans as the impractical, ideological party â€” on social and science issues as well as foreign and domestic policy.
Thatâ€™s not the way to win the children of polarization.
Political sands are always shifting. Labels become obsolete. Paradigms evolve. People with little interest in politics can find themselves bewildered to figure out who stands for what. Political parties are challenged to be in a constant state of reinvention.
I have been a Democrat and a Republican and an Independent. I changed when the parties changed. Now I find myself sliding back towards appreciating the Democrats because they are remaking themselves into a party of pragmatism and inclusion. The GOP has lost the benefit of the doubt that they are the party of fiscal restraint, organizational competence, the masters of foreign affairs. So what do they want to be? It is a new game.
We each have own way of organizing our worlds. I tend to embrace the progressive aims to move the world towards more fairness, health and opportunity. I tend to embrace the conservative method of optimizing free markets to most efficiently utilize resources. The most viable political movement that best combines these gets my money and vote. Apparently the next generation of leaders are sorting through the same choice.
Born 1950, Married, Living in Austin Texas, Semi
Retired Small Business owner and investor. My political interest
evolved out of his business experience that the best decisions come out of an objective gathering of information and a pragmatic consideration of costs and benefits. I am interested in promoting Centrist candidates and Policies. My posts are mostly about people and policies that I believe are part of the solution rather the problem.