Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Democrats: no big ideas, please

Well, it’s actually only one Democrat: Jonathan Chait, who all by himself vindicates the theses of James Ceaser, John Seery, and the editors of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas. Chait seems to be happy with a kind of pragmatism aimed solely at winning elections. Debates about big ideas, he concedes, favor conservatives.

I’d say: gotcha! But I think he’d have a counterargument, which would go something like this: we’re so smart we don’t need ideas. Which suggests to me that the real Platonic guardians or would-be philosopher-kings in American politics are not the evil Straussian neo-cons (that’s beginning to run trippingly off the tongue), but the liberal mandarins populating the Clinton Administration-in-exile. Ideas are for dummies.

Scott Winship, who seems to be the principal contributor to The Daily Strategist, thinks he disagrees with Chait, but really doesn’t. He doesn’t want big ideas, he just wants catchy slogans. Would Bill Galston please set him straight!?!

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