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November 05, 2012

The Price of Hubris

Lexington: "Examined from close up, this has been a dismaying election. Too often the 2012 presidential campaign has thrown up large topics for debate--the role of government, the limits of welfare, or how to square globalization with the American dream--only to argue about them in small ways. Too much stress has been laid on the candidates' characters, life stories or personal good faith. Too little has been laid on the feasibility of their policies."

"Yet take a step back, and this small-minded, mean election points to a big, reassuring constant of American politics. Pitted against each other in contests turbocharged by partisanship and pots of money, politicians often overreach. Such partisan ferocity can pay dividends in election contests, notably by revving up the base in congressional or local districts whose boundaries can be gerrymandered to favor one side. But in time, and especially at the national level, overreach tends to be penalized. Encouragingly often the democratic system self-corrects. Time and again, the big landmarks and waypoints of this election have involved instances of each side going too far and paying a price."


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