The Nature of a Politician

67896-004-ABA798A3 Once a week, David Brooks and Gail Collins have quick little debates on one of the New York Times blogs. I often like these off-the-cuff discussion better than their actual columns. Last week they chatted about Disney Parks, David Weigel, and whether or not pundits should mock political figure. (via James Joyner)

David Brooks: But it’s harder to be scathing when
you actually know the people. Occasionally you will run into a really
bad person, but that’s pretty rare. Most people in public life are in
it for the right reasons. They’re representing a point of view or a
group. They’re faced with horrendous character tests — a system that
perpetually tempts them to put loyalty to the team ahead of loyalty to
the truth. I find the most accurate approach is to view them with
sympathetic scrutiny but rarely outright scorn.

Of course scorn is more fun to write, but we’re supposed to be writing for the readers, not for ourselves.

Gail Collins: On behalf of the scorn contingent, I
have to protest. I’m with you about there being very few evil people in
politics, but there are a LOT of self-satisfied, shallow careerists,
and I was put on this earth to make fun of them.

It's kinda quaint that in this world of blogs and twitter, people are still concerned that they could be too harsh on politicians. I'm with Collins on this one. Politicians should be mocked.

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