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Literary Critique of Putting Politics First - Term Paper Example

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Putting Politics First: A Critique In Putting Politics First, Jacob Hacker has put forward an interesting argument about how to successfully achieve the comprehensive health reform in the United States. His point is that, according to past experiences, policies are not merely approved based on its merits as best-laid plans cannot on its own and implemented without political support…
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Literary Critique of Putting Politics First
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Download file to see previous pages President Bill Clinton also attempted to pass a universal health care plan and it failed dismally. Hacker pointed to the fact that Clinton’s policy designers obsessed on the grand policy design that they overlooked the fact that the plan has to go through a policy network that is characterized by “hyperpolarized” polity. He explains: The plan embodied an elaborate political strategy that rested on the reconciliation of elite conflict over the appropriate path toward universal coverage… The problem was that this strategy placed policy development ahead of coalition building, bridging elite disagreements ahead of building public support. (p. 718) The strategy supposedly backfired because, in the words of Hacker, instead of building bridges of compromise, the plan has burned bridges behind them. Now this argument very much reflects the truth because of one critical variable in the United States policy network – polarization. If one looks at the way the US Congress conducts its affairs, one would unmistakably identify the congressional vitriol and how the political parties are each other’s throats whenever a policy is being introduced and debated upon, which are played up even more by intensive media coverage. This can be attributed to the way the ideologies of the Republicans and the Democrats have grown far apart, which saw, ordinary Americans aligning themselves more tightly with the parties that reflect their core beliefs. This is the reason why in policymaking there is always a need to consider the political component. This does not only make sense but this is a political principle in democratic societies. According to Whittington, Kelemen and Caldeira (2010), involving political parties is crucial because it is tantamount to integrating the voters that they represent in addition to the fact that “political parties remain the most important organizational entity through which democracy is organized, mobilized, and made effective.” (p. 27) To put it simply, the executive department, in designing and implementing policy, cannot effectively function alone. There are just numerous parties, stakeholders and pressure groups involved that the political parties remain capable in uniting them either through ideology or political muscle. Failure to use a political strategy, such as an emphasis on political compromise could lead to a protracted policymaking process or, worse, a plan itself would be shut down by the sheer strength of the partisan skirmish. The Clinton health plan was the most potent example of this. And, certainly, Hacker pointed this fact out by explaining how the Clinton plan was so complicated, that the administration lost its momentum along the way while the administration tried to salvage the initiative by building a coalition, which proved to be already too late. (p. 719) He added that the in-house policy development also attracted political resentment as the executive department was perceived to have blindsided other sectors of the policy network. Evidences Besides the discourse on the Clinton’s health reform plan, Hacker cited several other points to support his thesis. There is the case of strategy, for instance. In integrating politics in the health reform plan, it was posited to take into account the concept of fear. The idea is that health reform policy designers should take ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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