« Oh. My. God. | Main | No Downpayment? No Problem. »

The Base: So What?

Andrew Sullivan worries about the real motives of the Republican base. Elsewhere in many posts I've seen and won't dignify with links, conservative bloggers identify lunatic protestors, assert that they are the Democratic base, and that therefore you shouldn't vote for John Kerry. The reality, of course, is that any major party presidential candidate attracts the votes of millions and millions of people. The overwhelming majority of these people have no idea what they're talking about. Public ignorance in the United States is massive -- and exists on both sides. Ideology aside, the base of either party would be an absolute disaster if put in charge of the country -- they wouldn't have the foggiest idea what to do. That's why the government is run by professional politicians, professional political operatives, and professional policy analysts, not by random members of the public. It's like how movies are made by professional filmakers, not by movie fans.

UPDATE: Brad's right, of course, that serious policy analysts don't seem to be much in evidence in the Bush administration, at least on the domestic side (there's something unserious about the security team, but Doug Feith's not a political hack, either, so it's hard to know what to say about this) though I do hear good things about the guy in charge of policy toward the homeless, and whoever came up with the "millenium challenge accounts" knows what he's doing.

August 31, 2004 | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8345160fd69e200d834213fc353ef

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Base: So What?:

» Matthew Yglesias Writes Something Very Silly from Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal: A Weblog
Matthew Yglesias writes something very silly: MatthewYglesias: ...the government is run by professional politicians, professional political operatives, and professional policy analysts, not by random members of the public... Can he name a single profes... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 31, 2004 8:54:36 PM

» Technocracy? from Kalblog
I don't think Matthew Yglesias has walked into a Congressional office lately: That's why the government is run by professional politicians, professional political operatives, and professional policy analysts, not by random members of the public. It's l... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 1, 2004 9:21:06 AM

» Expertise from Winds of Change.NET
A few days ago, I decided not to reply to one of Matt Yglesias' sillier posts (hey, it happens to everyone - I just seem to find them on his site more often than others),... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 1, 2004 8:07:21 PM

» Expertise from Winds of Change.NET
A few days ago, I decided not to reply to one of Matt Yglesias' sillier posts (hey, it happens to everyone - I just seem to find them on his site more often than others),... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 1, 2004 8:09:09 PM

Comments

Really brushing up on those elitist, mandarin, creds, eh?

Hope you get a job out of it.

Posted by: absynthe | Aug 31, 2004 8:40:50 PM

I liked the subtle dig at Kevin Smith there at the end. ;-)

Posted by: Blixa | Aug 31, 2004 8:45:34 PM

It's like how movies are made by professional filmakers, not by movie fans.

You sure?

Posted by: SoCalJustice | Aug 31, 2004 8:46:15 PM

The professional movie-maker version of The Phantom Menace contained Jar-Jar Binks; the movie fan edit of the film didn't.

Posted by: dmm | Aug 31, 2004 9:03:43 PM

"The overwhelming majority of these people have no idea what they're talking about."

A majority of Americans believe that WMDs were discovered in Iraq after the invasion.

WTF?

Posted by: Joel | Aug 31, 2004 9:07:53 PM

And just to help Matt make his point about amateur politicians being the destruction of the Republic, consider the following losers who should have gotten professional help, it's a who's who of screw ups, Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams...C'mon Matt, read a little history.

Posted by: S Brennan | Aug 31, 2004 9:23:27 PM

S Brennan:

Washington, Jefferson, et al. were elitists by any reasonable measure, weren't they? Reluctant, amateur revolutionaries perhaps, but weren't they well educated in a land full of illiterates and misery, i.e. professionals? I could be wrong.

Posted by: fnook | Aug 31, 2004 9:34:28 PM

It is relevant that this guy is actually a Republican Party delegate. That puts him way farther into "the base of the Republican Party" than almost any other position one could hold. As versus a random protestor who's thinking, "God, I wish I could vote my conscience for Nader again."

Posted by: Kimmitt | Aug 31, 2004 9:35:30 PM

Public ignorance in the United States is massive -- and exists on both sides.

Hack Gap alert! On both sides, please! Matt, here's how a conservative pundit would have said it:

"Public ignorance among liberals is massive -- thank Jesus Christ that our side is so well-informed."

Posted by: pdp | Aug 31, 2004 9:52:05 PM

Fnoak,

I believe Matt said; "That's why the government is run by professional politicians, professional political operatives, and professional policy analysts, not by random members of the public. "

You Said; " weren't they well educated in a land full of illiterates and misery, i.e. professionals? " (Note: There was very little poverty in early America - labor shortage, but...whatever)

Perhaps Matt meant what you said. In which case every well (college or advanced degree?) educated, wealthy (self made, or inherited?) person should consider themselves a professional politician. Hmmmm....

Posted by: S Brennan | Aug 31, 2004 10:30:18 PM

conservative bloggers identify lunatic protestors, assert that they are the Democratic base

That has a rather defensive ring to it, as if to say "don't lump me in with those louts". But their side isn't defensive at all about their freaks, even though they are both freakier and more numerous than ours.

Internalizing the gibes of one's foes is the shortest and most certain route to becoming Mickey Kaus. And that's a fate I wouldn't wish on anyone, let alone urge them to aspire to.

Posted by: son volt | Aug 31, 2004 10:34:57 PM

It is most likely an intended dig at the Bush administration, along the lines of MY's continuing series:"The Hunt for Bush's Brain."

Additionally, MY may be alluding to Juan Cole's criticism of Franklin's lack of qualifications to initiate Iran policy. He speaks no Persian, for instance. How high a level of experience and expertise is required to handle extremely complex policy matters? Matt would set the bar higher than Republicans seem to, valuing ideology over experience.

I also liked the dig at Tacitus.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Aug 31, 2004 10:44:27 PM

However, having read Sullivan's comments, I would I think disagree with part of Matt's post. What you see in the Convention Hall is precisely the cream, the elite, the best of the Republican party. The top 1% of the base, the most active and powerful party members.

This is an entirely differently selected group than the street protesters. And that the people on the floor wore the Purple-Heart bandaids speaks volumes about the character of most members of the party.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Aug 31, 2004 10:48:58 PM

The loopiest lefties voted for Nader or didn't vote, whereas one of the loopiest righties is Dennis Haster, Speaker of the House. And while the left fringe probably is as incapable of governing as the right fringe, the right fringe is angrier, more murderous, more determined, and much, much larger.

I basically disagree with Matt's professional elitism too. The New Class, etc.

Posted by: Zizka | Aug 31, 2004 10:49:27 PM

Elsewhere in many posts I've seen and won't dignify with links, conservative bloggers identify lunatic protestors, assert that they are the Democratic base, and that therefore you shouldn't vote for John Kerry.

Correct me if I"m wrong, but I'm guessing that one of their names might rhyme with "Vinstapundit."

Posted by: JP | Aug 31, 2004 11:42:38 PM

He speaks no Persian, for instance.

Profile from Haaretz:

"[Franklin] speaks Farsi, Arabic, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese (in addition to English). "

(Farsi = Persian)

Posted by: EH | Aug 31, 2004 11:55:26 PM

I agree with that, although I'd probably be put into the ignorant masses section, even though I think I'm a step above the average voter when it comes to paying attention and such.

Posted by: Brian | Sep 1, 2004 12:02:51 AM

If it looks like I contradicted myself with what I said over at DeLong's site, let me explain. I think Yeglesias is right by saying that's why we have this particular system. But I also think DeLong is right that we lack this particular system - one that is heavily influenced by sound policy - with the Bush administration.

Posted by: Brian | Sep 1, 2004 12:08:15 AM

"... conservative bloggers identify lunatic protestors ..."

Have you seen any pictures of the GOP delegates?

If I were a Republican, I wouldn't be talking about the "lunatic" protesters.

Posted by: synykyl | Sep 1, 2004 12:11:24 AM

If by "lunatic protestors" it is meant the hundreds who have gotten themselves arrested today, I believe those protestors do nothing to help the PR of the Democratic Party and its nominee nationwide.This is not a condemnation of the protestors; it's just a fact that newsclips of crowd violence and swarms of police on the move give the impression that those crazy Eastern pro-Kerry liberals are so "not like us" as to be considered dangerous and the enemy. Ultimately it hurts Kerry's campaign. It's too bad since Sunday's huge peaceful march was excellent PR.

Posted by: monabona | Sep 1, 2004 12:11:52 AM

"Franklin became concerned with Iran as a threat to Israel and the US, and learned a little Persian (not very much--I met him once at a conference and he could only manage a few halting phrases of Persian)" ...Juan Cole, whose personal judgement I respect more than the generic Haaretz bio

Frankln's Farsi

And I have mixed feelings about the practice followed on certain blogs that every statement of fact must be accompanied by a cite.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Sep 1, 2004 12:13:07 AM

Sounds like Matthew wants the elites to run everything.

Posted by: Kevin Gregory | Sep 1, 2004 1:10:35 AM

Kevin, that's a good way to keep you out.

Yeah, earlier I spoke against Matt's elitism, but then I realized that without it, Kevin might come to power.

Posted by: Zizka | Sep 1, 2004 1:27:52 AM

Republican Base=Evangelical Christians

Until the rational parts of America get that through their head, the possibility of sanity is lost.

Rick Perlstein (rocks!) at the Village Voice with The Jesus Landing Pad

PBS FRONTLINE (ROCKS!) with The Jesus Factor

Posted by: Josh Narins | Sep 1, 2004 4:33:52 AM

Yeah, Matt, let's keep the riff-raff out of Washington. You're right, what we need are more "professional policy analysts." That should do the trick. The last thing we need is ordinary Americans.

Posted by: Slothrop of Boulder | Sep 1, 2004 7:43:28 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.