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July 29, 2009

Are Our Domestic and International Politics Too Small?
Posted by David Shorr

Reset: How This Crisis Can Restore Our Values and Renew AmericaThe way I look at it, the domestic and international policy agendas have the same core challenge at the heart: will political leaders really work at solving serious problems rather than ducking them, taking rigid positions, and allowing inertia to take its course? Whether the problem is America's health care system, eroding standards of living globally, or nuclear proliferation, the road we're on doesn't lead anywhere good. In all of these areas, there has been an excess of rancor and a dearth of action. If you're a pesimist by nature -- and even if you aren't -- you might wonder whether dysfunctional politics will cause us to miss the moment and let these problems get away from us. Personally, the thread of hope I'm clinging to is the idea that American dynamism has historically given the country a capacity for renewal in the face of adversity; there's something in the DNA of our political culture that actually helps us meet major challenges. To help reinforce my slim hope thread, fortunately Kurt Andersen has produced a serious book (summarized on Daily Beast yesterday) on how US political and social culture can Reset our politics in response to the current crisis. He argues that the US has periodically shown a side of its national character that awakens and responds when the stakes for the common good are highest. Here's hoping.

UPDATE: Bloggingheads has a diavlog with Andersen here


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He argues that the US has periodically shown a side of its national character that awakens and responds when the stakes for the common good are highest. Here's hoping.

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