How do we put all the acrimony of the campaign behind us? Today’s show is based partly on a post I wrote a few weeks ago. We’re electing someone who can lead. But how willing are we to follow?
Our guests are: Marc Hetherington: Associate professor of political science at Vanderbilt University. He’s the author of “Why Trust Matters: Declining Political Trust and the Demise of American Liberalism.” Russell Hardin: Professor of politics at New York University and the author of “Trust and Trustworthiness.”
I want to hear your comments. For purposes of the discussion, assume a candidate in next week’s election that you don’t favor… wins
9:09 a.m. – Hetherington says a CBS poll on trusting the government recently showed it was at its lowest level ever. True, I’m thinking, but the fact of the matter is after next Tuesday, we’ll still have a government. Hetherington says it all comes back to “performance,” but what comes first: embracing a route to follow or following after it’s clear the route is the way to follow?
9:12 a.m. – Hardin comes down on the mistrust is good side of the argument and I wouldn’t disagree and it makes me regret using the word trust.
Here’s a story: Yesterday on the Current, I read a story about a guy in Pennsylvania who fired a gun at some kids who were stealing his lawn side. Afterwards, I told the story to them and waited for one of two reactions. I only got one: “Whose lawn sign was it?” In that moment, it was clear to me that our standards of behavior is rooted in politics.
9:15 a.m. – I’m uncomfortable with how Kerri is framing the question. “Is distrust healthy?” Of course it’s healthy. We’re not supposed to be sheep. But that’s different from transitioning from a “closed mind” during the campaign phase of government to an “open mind” on the part of the citizen during the governing phase.
9:17 a.m. – Are we reaping what Republicans have sewn, a caller asks? Not really, a guest responds since government has expanded under the Republican administration. Hetherington says Republicans end up losing in the end with an anti-government mantra. “You don’t want government to fail so spectacularly that nobody wants you in charge,” he says.
9:20 a.m. – Hetherington notes that the next president has to put “the bickering behind us,” but how? He says Roosevelt was able to do it long enough for there to be “some results on the ground.”
9:21 a.m. – Hetherington says we were never more trusting in government than we were in 2004.
9:30 a.m. – I just read Nathan’s comment on the air regarding skepticism. Hardin says that’s what Jefferson meant when he talked about trust in government. He says we have trusting relationships in small groups, but not in the larger sense.
9:31 a.m. – Interesting comments from Jessica:
To regain my trust, folks elected next week would need to promise that they will not run for another term, OR that they would not fundraise or campaign for their next election until 6 months before the election.
It’s an interesting view and gets to the heart of my original treatise. The 2010 election cycle begins next week. And, if you believe the New York Times, the 2012 election cycle is already underway.
9:34 a.m. – The conversation is a bit too philosophical for my taste. Think of the morning of 9/12/01. How do we get that unity of purpose back? I’m not suggesting the answer is everyone should just do what they’re told by leaders. But we were looking past the means to an end, and seeing unity in an end. It’s very much an emotional state that I think also think Roosevelt had going for him that we don’t have in 2008. Reaction?
9:40 a.m. – A caller suggests one way to restore trust is for the next president to appoint a cabinet members of different political stripes. William Cohen, a Republican, was the defense secretary for Clinton, for example. Of course, he was a Maine Republican and a lot of Republicans will tell you that’s not a real Republican.
Jesse Ventura appointed the most bipartisan (tripartisan/) cabinets in the history of Minnesota. In the long run, it didn’t do him much good with the governing process, even though he might well have been re-elected had he run again.
9:44 a.m. – Nancy says the problem is the current administration
We were lied to about reasons to enter Iraq, about the outing of Valerie Plame, and more. We’ve seen this administration “reframe” all kinds of things in political language that turns reality on its ear — the — what was it? — “clean air” or “blue skies” act that actually reduced the quality of the air.
Perhaps that’s true Nancy, if you’re a Democrat, but many Republicans don’t see it that way and if Obama wins on Tuesday, we just flip where people are standing. We’ll replace your dissatisfied group with a new dissatisfied group. So we’d be in the same situation.
But you’re right, the govenrment is “us,” but how do you define “us?” Is it the people with whom you agree politically? Or is it everyone, including those with which you vehemently disagree politically and what’s the plan for getting everyone pointed in the same direction. That’s the question that people are ignoring.
9:48 a.m. – Does a president need ” a certain quotient of trust?”
“Absoutely,” says Hetherington. “The anti-govenrment distrustful environment our country is characterized by.,… when trust in government is high, we innovate more.”
9:55 a.m. – I gather than the reason nobody has posted with the hypothetical that “the other guy” wins next Tuesday is people simply don’t want to think about the possibility.
9:58 a.m. — Let’s take it this way. You’re the winning candidate next Tuesday and now you’re looking straight into the camera and you have one thing to say to your political opponents that can make the difference between success and failure. What is it you’re about to say?