Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Two Cheers for Democracy

What is it with the New York Times and its lacklustre support for the democratic process (at least while Democrats are in charge)? Back in September the paper's pundit di tutti punditi Thomas L. Friedman applauded "benevolent" authoritarianism (which is what he claims they have in China) because that type of government can push through its agenda easy-peasy. And today this anti-democratic palaver appears in a Times editorial (my bolds):
The $154 billion jobs bill passed by the House last week will allow the 217 Democrats who voted for it to tell their constituents that they care about unemployment. But it’s unlikely to do much else. The Senate will not address the issue until next year. By then, midterm election politics will be coming into full swing, with Democrats calling for more jobs and Republicans fanning voter fears about deficits.
The real challenge — for President Obama and for Congressional Democrats — is to not get bogged down in that debate but rather to make job creation the undisputed priority for 2010...
Yeah, isn't it awful that the Democrats have to "get bogged down" and debate stuff with those ee-vil Republicans? Wouldn't it be better for all concerned if everyone acknowledged their inherent virtuousness and wisdom, and they could get busy "fixing" things (like creating jobs for the unemployed) right away, with no "debate" to slow them down?

Hey, it works in China/Saudi Arabia/Iran/Cuba etc., right?

Update: James Bowman of the New Criterion blog mentions another NYTer who's not so keen on "debate"--Paul Krugman:

Now that they’re running — or, as some would say, ruining — the country, the Democrats seem never to have heard of the venerable parliamentary principle, attributed to the 14th Earl of Derby in the early years of Victoria’s reign, that the duty of the opposition is to oppose. Certainly Paul Krugman in today’s New York Times recognizes no such principle. The Senate health care bill is "seriously flawed," he writes, and "we’ll spend years if not decades fixing it, but it’s nonetheless a huge step forward. It was, however, a close-run thing. And the fact that it was such a close thing shows that the Senate — and, therefore, the U.S. government as a whole — has become ominously dysfunctional." Not just dysfunctional, mind, but ominously dysfunctional. This is a curious notion: that legislation of which Professor Krugman approves ought to be passed by acclamation or there’s something badly, something ominously wrong with the legislature...

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