Left-right Political Model “Obscures More Than It Reveals”

Lynne Kiesling

I don’t really have an opinion about Tucker Carlson’s new online journalism enterprise The Daily Caller. I do, though, really like what Arianna Huffington said in her guest column there today about the uselessness of the left-right political model, and how the media do themselves and us a disservice by leaving on those left-right blinders:

… the binary division of the debate into right vs. left obscures more than it reveals.

John McCain and Maria Cantwell are joining forces to bring back Glass-Steagall-type banking regulations. Ron Paul and Alan Grayson are pushing through legislation to audit the Fed. George Will agrees with Russ Feingold that we should not escalate in Afghanistan. Howard Dean and Michael Bloomberg are both down on the health care bill. And on and on it goes.

The outrageous news last week that the New York Fed under Tim Geithner told AIG to withhold from the public key details about payments that put billions of dollars into the coffers of major Wall Street players, including Goldman Sachs, offers a perfect example of just how archaic the right vs. left framing is.

Many progressives, including me, have been very critical of the administration’s coddling of Wall Street.  Indeed, I called for Geithner’s resignation back in March.  But, as of late, the loudest calls for further investigation of the AIG bailout — and Geithner’s role in it — have come from Republican lawmakers including Rep. Darrell Issa (who blogged about it on HuffPost) and Sen. Charles Grassley.

Yet, afflicted with a kind of mental Tourette’s, the traditional media just can’t help shouting “Right!” or “Left!” any time a contentious issue arises.

2 thoughts on “Left-right Political Model “Obscures More Than It Reveals”

  1. I have long thought that the one-dimensional model for politics was too simple to be of much use. The meme of the one-dimensional model pursists so it must be fit. It must serve some group or groups interests.

    The post you cite makes useful observations. In our knowledge age it will become increasingly easy to understand and make connections in n-dimensional models of value systems. Individuals will be empowered to acquire their own knowledge and make their own decisions, and rely less on following opinion leaders. I only hope that our schoools and other institutions do not stifle this possibility.

  2. I’m so tempted to do the textbook scene from ‘Good Will Hunting’ on Jay right now…

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