For Whom the Bell Blogs

Two stories led the New York Times this morning—one on NSA spying, one on the cutbacks in social programs. Which one the blogosphere cares more about is obvious—and sad.

Two stories lead the New York Times this morning. One gives notice that the Justice Department won’t be turning over internal memos revealing its lawyers’ on-again off-again opposition to the warrantless wiretaps and the theory of executive authority that went with them. The other tells us that the House just voted—in accord with the Senate and a promised signature by Bush—to cut “spending on health and education programs.” Said cuts include some items that might not be so bad. They also include “a freeze in payments to home health care providers” and “increasing co-payments and reducing payments for prescription drugs” for Medicaid recipients.

The average consumer (and producer) of the blogosphere can safely be predicted to care much more about the first story than the second. One story potentially affects people with time on their hands and a penchant for political dissent. The other affects the kind of person who will finally have to give up his own apartment and become an inmate in a nursing home, or who will now have to choose between treating her diabetes and buying enough peanut butter for her toddler’s lunch.

My opinion that Democrats should try to run on health care more than spying is mostly political. But it’s not just political. From those to whom much political information is given, much is expected.

Author: Andrew Sabl

Andrew Sabl, a political theorist, is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Ruling Passions: Political Offices and Democratic Ethics and Hume’s Politics: Coordination and Crisis in the History of England, both from Princeton University Press. His research interests include political ethics, liberal and democratic theory, toleration, the work of David Hume, and the realist school of contemporary political thought. He is currently finishing a book for Harvard University Press titled The Uses of Hypocrisy: An Essay on Toleration. He divides his time between Toronto and Brooklyn.