Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I had my very own...

...Marshall McLuhan moment last week.

Although, unlike the scene above, it wasn't McLuhan and it wasn't in a movie theater. It was instead a political scientist named Matt Grossmann and in the form of a tweet:

Apr 3
To clarify our graph, would likely all be categorized as ideologues in survey.

Now, I don't know whether to feel chastened, or flattered to be mentioned in the same sentence as Jonathan Chait and Andrew Sullivan. (If any member of Chait's or Sullivan's staff saw that tweet I can only imagine what they were thinking: Who the devil is BoringOldWhtGuy?)

I wanted to respond to Mr. Grossmann but didn't know exactly what to say at first and didn't think I could express it in only 140 characters anyway.

Mr. Grossmann's tweet was prompted (I assume) by a post I wrote last Thursday in which I said, "...while Democrats are (mostly) pragmatists, Republicans are (mostly) ideologues." To illustrate, I used a chart from a paper Mr. Grossmann wrote, "THE IDEOLOGICAL RIGHT VS. THE GROUP BENEFITS LEFT: ASYMMETRIC POLITICS IN AMERICA." (Did I actually read the paper? Of course not.) My post must have come across as snarky (or pretentious, like the guy in the clip above) to warrant that tweet from Mr. Grossmann.

But is he right? While I sure don't think of myself as an ideologue, I'll concede that I'm not entirely objective. Is Jonathan Chait an ideologue? Maybe, but I'll let him answer for himself. But Andrew Sullivan? I wouldn't say so. He's said many times that he's a conservative in the tradition of Edmund Burke and Michael Oakeshott, but he's also been a strong supporter of President Obama's. So what would Mr. Grossmann say is Sullivan's ideology? Conservative, liberal, or what?

Mr. Grossmann, if you're out there, please respond. Thanks.

No comments: