On the recommendation of a friendly reader, I've been reading 'Stealth Democracy,' which despite being published in 2002 and having nothing to do with health care, is probably the single most useful book for understanding why the Nelson deal -- and the long political process -- did such terrible damage to the health-care bill. The abstract gives a nice precis of the argument:
Americans often complain about the operation of their government, but scholars have never developed a complete picture of people’s preferred type of government. In this provocative and timely book, Hibbing and Theiss-Morse, employing an original national survey and focus groups, report the governmental procedures Americans desire. Contrary to the prevailing view that people want greater involvement in politics, most citizens do not care about most policies and therefore are content to turn over decision-making authority to someone else. People’s wish for the political system is that decision makers be empathetic and, especially, non-self-interested, not that they be responsive and accountable to the people’s largely nonexistent policy preferences or, even worse, that the people be obligated to participate directly in decision making.
January 25, 2010; 11:32 AM ET
Categories: Books , Political Science
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