Evidence-Based Politics

In Politics on June 14, 2010 by thesignalinthenoise Tagged:

House Leaders John Boehner and Steny Hoyer on "This Week"

House Leaders John Boehner and Steny Hoyer appeared on the ABC Sunday morning talk show ‘This Week” today and, not surprisingly,  talked about BP and the oil spill.  I was struck not so much by what either one said, but rather by my reaction.  Perhaps I’m too cynical, but I couldn’t help but think — indeed, I was and am utterly convinced — that if the parties’ positions were reversed, they would each be saying exactly what the other said.

We need a third party in this country and we need it now.  Most importantly, we need a new way of looking at things and doing things.  I suggest the following starting points.

1. Principles, not ideology.  When I hear politicians like Boehner and Hoyer speak, what they say is utterly predictable because it is driven by ideology.  I’d much prefer that those in power be guided by various principles (such as limited government), but that the principles be subject to the facts on the ground.  We shouldn’t be opposed to a bit of experimentation and, when something works (irrepective of our principled expectations), we should be grateful and move on to the next problem.

2.  Evidence-Based Policy.  Instead of taking policy positions and making policy decisions based upon ideological predisposition, how about basing them upon actual evidence?  Before we go about spending huge sums of money, let’s make sure the proposed plan is likely to work based upon real-live facts.  What a concept, no?

3. Government, not Politics.  Nearly everyone is sick of politics.  Democrats don’t want to criticize the President because it will hurt “their side.”  Republicans won’t compromise for the good of the country because it will hurt them politically.  Everyone is seemingly focused upon politics.  How about some focus on good government instead?

I heard a wonderful story today about a local DMV office.  For most of us, the DMV tends to be Exhibit A for why government runs poorly.  It’s as if being rude and unresponsive is a requirement for working there.  However, I was told of a recent visit filled with good service and helpful solicitations by everyone involved.  It was such a shock that management was summoned.

“What is your primary role as the manager in charge of this DMV office.”

“To manage this office on a moment-by-moment basis to make sure the needs of consumers are met as efficiently and as effectively as possible.”

To accomplish this mission, the manager had cross-trained  all his personnel to do all the jobs so, even during peak times, consumers got served promptly.  What a concept — a governmental agency looking out for the citizenry, figuring out what works and putting people’s needs first.

That guy needs to run for office.


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