August 13, 2012

THE LEFT AND RIGHT ARE TOO PAROCHIAL TO NOTICE...:

Paul Ryan and the triumph of theory (E.J. Dionne Jr., August 12, 2012, Washington Post)

If Paul Ryan were a liberal, conservatives would describe him as a creature of Washington who has spent virtually all of his professional life as a congressional aide, a staffer at an ideological think tank and, finally, as a member of Congress. In the right's shorthand: He never met a payroll.

If they were in a sunny mood, these conservatives would readily concede that Ryan is a nice guy who's fun to talk to. But they'd also insist that he is an impractical ideologue. He holds an almost entirely theoretical view of the world defined by big ideas that never touch the ground and devotes little energy to considering how his proposed budgets might affect the lives of people he's never met.

In making Ryan his running mate, Mitt Romney guaranteed that this election will be about big principles, but he also underscored a little-noted transformation in American politics: Liberals and conservatives have switched sides on the matter of which camp constitutes the party of theory and which is the party of practice. Americans usually reject the party of theory, which is what conservatism has now become.


...but Mr. Ryan's positions are neither merely theoretical nor even mildly radical any longer, they're the mainstream practice of the Anglosphere and other Third Way countries since at least the Chicago Boys innovations of the Pinochet regime.  This initial example was quickly followed by the governments of Margaret Thatcher, Bob Hawke, and Labour in New Zealand. Eventually Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, George W. Bush, Tony Blair, David Cameron, Stephen Harper, John Howard, John Key, Frederik Reinfeldt and others followed suit.  As these names suggest, not only do voters not reject the "party of theory," but throughout the English Speaking world in particular, identification with Third Way "theory" is the surest predictor of electoral success.  



Posted by at August 13, 2012 5:28 AM
  

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