Monday, April 16, 2012

The Unpersuaded

So, this weekend I had to journey back briefly to NJ (I was home for all of 30 hours) and while hectic, among other things, it gave me a chance to pick up a batch of New Yorkers for which I've been to lazy to change the subscription address. On the return leg of my trip, I found this article in the March 19 issue, a fascinating piece about the true nature of the "Bully pulpit" and how much power of persuasion the president actually yields. Essentially, Ezra Klein (one of my favorites on the magazine's staff) explains that whether a piece of legislation in Congress will be a party-line vote or not, for him to take a stand and speak on the issue in an apparently misguided attempt to sway voters and reps alike, simply has the effect of polarizing the issue and often makes it harder to pass. In other words, trying to utilize the Bully pulpit hurts Heads of State more than it helps. A must read for any president buffs (looking at you, Wulderk) or anyone who thinks people actually listens when he talks (you too, Boole). Enjoy.