Saturday, October 17, 2015

East Coast driving

In driving through Virginia and then the DC area over the last few days, experienced the ebb and flow of NPR: out in the country, you can't find it because it's not there, but in DC metro, it's difficult at times to tell what is in fact NPR from things that just sound like it.  At one point in time I felt like I had come upon Israeli public radio, so long was the focus on matters from that region.

Then there was CSpan radio, which I listened to for a good while.  First off, there was an excellent interview with Mitch Daniels, current President of Purdue University, one time Governor of Indiana, before that head of the Office of Management and Budget.  Great guy.  I'm not sure I'd vote for him, since he's a Republican, but it makes me happy to know that smart policy wonks like him still exist in the Republican Party, even if he has been pushed to the right and then marginalized. I certainly enjoy listening to him, even when I don't agree with him.

Later, I heard what seemed to be Supreme Court arguments being delivered about some very abstruse point about citizenship.  At great length.  It got so wonky I got lost, but it did comfort me to know that policy was being dug into at considerable depth by some erudite sorts, and that others were assumedly driving around DC or even sitting still while listening to it, because they cared.

I also stayed with friends who work in different parts of the government and are good and earnest people, working hard to execute within their respective corners of the public sector ecosystem. Overall, it reconfirms my belief that the whole "throw the bums out" discourse which dominates both right and left is misguided. Mostly, I think, it derives from the fact that communicating the principles and practices of conscientious governance is so far removed from the short soundbite/Twitter update mindset of a populace whose attention span grows ever shorter.

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