Reaction: Interesting piece by Brooks today

As everyone feigns interest in work and school waiting for the Thanksgiving break to begin, I thought I’d pass along some thought-provoking material from the New York Times columnist David Brooks today.

Two quick points.  First, I thought it was interesting that in describing the Sun/Moon dichotomy in American politics, Brooks appears to make the case for political mercantilism.  Economic mercantilism was the idea that there was only a fixed amount of wealth in the world.  When one king or explorer found wealth or acquired wealth, another party or kingdom lost that wealth.  Here, it sounds like the classic view of politics has been that when one party loses support/votes, the other party gains.  Political mercantilism.  Just like economic mercantilism, this view no longer holds up.  Both parties are losing support.  Losing voters.  Losing confidence.  No one is gaining it.  In fact, just like global wealth, we’re all losing.

Second, Brooks highlights what that means for Independent voters.  Brooks writes, “Independent voters are trapped in a cycle of sour rejectionism — voting against whichever of the two options they dislike most at the moment.” In his conclusion, he imagines a “third force” that might wedge itself between the two parties.  I’m not sure if that’s a third political party or simply a “wedge issue” that brings both parties, or at least one, back to the light.

The bottom line is that just like economic mercantilism was replaced with free market/wealth creation concept (my apologies to true economists of which I’m not).  Political mercantilism must be replaced.  Innovation.  Let’s extend the analogy. “Wealth” creation?  Entrepreneurship? The Industrial Revolution of politics.

That’s exactly what I’m hoping for.  The Industrial Revolution of politics.  Invention followed by rapid change/advancement/improvement.  We’re primed for a game changer.  We thought Obama was the game changer.  It turns out Obama set the stage for it.  If you’ll indulge a baseball metaphor, I wanted Obama to be the clean-up hitter but instead, he’s a leadoff hitter.  He’s not the game changer, but now the question is – will he be on base when the home run is hit?


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