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Room For Disagreement

my questionwrites
My natural home is in the bipartisan center....
Gogoevidentlymajor themeOpen University
I am ... a reality-based center-left technocrat.... My natural home is in the bipartisan center, arguing with center-right reality-based technocrats about whether it is center-left or center-right policies that have the best odds of moving us toward goals that we all share--world peace, world prosperity, equality of opportunity, safety nets, long and happy lifespans, rapid scientific and technological progress, and personal safety.

In both cases, the more ideologically outré goals of left or populist factions were suppressed by the moderate and conservative wings of the party. Wilson made highly--some would say excessively--compromising appointments to the Federal Reserve Board. FDR designed Social Security and other legislation as moderate alternatives to more populist policies.

By contrast, it's hard to point to similarly productive and effective eras of bipartisan compromise in the area of reality-based, technocratic policies, at least at the national level. (Bill Whalen and Chris LeHane are now saying we're getting productive and effective politics out of California's Republican governor and Democratic assembly; we'll see. You might also make a case that New York State politics in the progressive era were productive, effective, and bipartisan.) I suppose parts of the Eisenhower, Nixon, or Clinton eras might qualify as bipartisan, technocratic and successful: but I do not know that we would claim they were more successful than these partisan eras. And as far as partisan effectiveness goes, you could say that the Republican-dominated 1920s and early 2000s have brought similarly productive legislative eras; that they have been effective in the reality-based, technocratic sense is at best unproven. So while I share with DeLong and my fellows here at Open U the joy in reality-based arguments among people who share common goals but dispute how to reach them, I don't think it's necessarily true that such useful disputes more often occur between people aligned with politically opposed institutions. --Eric Rauchway