The role of ideology in the Presidency

There’s a significant difference between the Presidential election and those for Congress (or even Supreme Court appointments). The top positions in the legislative and judicial branches ought to be primarily ideological. They’re charged with interpreting the will of the people and guiding the country in broad strokes accordingly. That is ideological by nature, and I think it’s wholly reasonable to support a senatorial candidate who you think best matches your worldview, regardless of their prior qualifications. Therein lies the big difference with becoming President, and it’s been evident during the current administration:

Who is running the White House?
Politico this week had a profile on Denis McDonough, Obama’s current Chief of Staff. The article also includes some great history and insight on the different roles that position has had over the years. Regardless of how you feel about the president’s politics, it is clear from this article (and many others over the past six years) what an atrocious manager he is. The president oversees the largest and most complex organization in the world, the United States government. Too often we cast a ballot for President based on who we believe sees the world as we do. The reality is that the President, above all, ought to be an incredible executive. The legislature and court serve to balance out his ideology — but if he can not lever the bureaucracy to be effective, the government fails. It’s not surprising that Obama has been miserable at this: he never led any organization of appreciable size prior to his election. Top managers at Fortune 500 companies train for decades to ascend into the c-suite. It is one of the things that terrifies me regarding almost all of our presidential candidates. If you have never had to align and move a large organization in your life, how can you be an effective president? 

The Republican Party may be failing
The Party Decides has been the most oft-cited book this primary season, as people hold onto some shred of hope that the GOP will stop Trump/Cruz. Nate Silver takes a look at why he and others have been wrong thus far, and how the Republican party may not only be failing to control the process — but potentially splintering completely. I fall into a Libertarian or “Modern Republicanism” (per Eisenhower) camp, and think the hijacking of the party by the extreme religious/social right has been a disaster. It’s no surprise to see the party searching for an identity; I just do not see how the traditional Republican coalition can survive, as the libertarians and traditionalists move in one direction and the Religious right and neoconservatives move in another.

I’m in debt — and it’s not my fault.
The explosion of the cost of higher education is ridiculous. It is wholly obvious how it happened: we’ve created a market that is completely unhinged from any kind of economic reality. In asserting that every person needs to go to college and creating unlimited amounts of debt to finance it, we created incentives for colleges to increase costs (and they will continue to do so until market forces push them back down). My whole generation has a mountain of debt, and, at least in my case, would have done things very differently with the benefit of hindsight. But pieces like this one in Slate drive me CRAZY. Yes, it’s a shame we’re all saddled with a lot of debt. But when I read about people who claim no responsibility, total ignorance, or make it out as thought they’d been completely swindled I want to strangle them. As long as we continue to abdicate all responsibility from our decisions, the college costs boom will continue. 

The end of Twitter
I think it’s bit early to be writing the obituary for a vibrant, active social network, but I’ve been thinking something similar myself lately: is Twitter more or less done? I find a lot of utility in Twitter, but it’s exactly that: utility. I never spend time perusing Twitter, or just kicking around for fun. I’m on there to either drive traffic to my site (which it is very effective at!), promote by business (again, excellent!) or to get immediate news/information related to evolving events. I’d hate to see Twitter go, because it does what it does better than any other platform. But it seems listless in some ways, like its desire to increase character count, and I wonder if we’re in the midst of its long, inevitable death.