December 23rd, 2005


Who is the middle ground?

Here's a question that struck me this morning. When a country is as ideologically riven as the US is today, a common approach is to reject both sides, and instead bring in "technocrats". That's a somewhat loose term, but it generally means a government that is firmly non-ideological in its outlook (by whatever the prevailing definition of "ideological" is), and is instead focused on the nuts and bolts of making things work. When it works well, it's usually meritocratic, and often draws from all parts of the political spectrum, albeit mainly the less extreme members of the various factions.

It's sometimes hard to see the forest for the trees, and I'm really not sure who the technocrats would be if this were to happen in the US today. The extremists on both sides tend to get the publicity. But there's much to be said for the technocrat approach -- indeed, one can argue that the Clinton administration was largely technocratic in its outlook, and for all its bumps was largely successful.

So who would the technocrats be today? Looking at both sides of the political aisle (and possibly the overlooked independents that reject both), who do you think are the people who would do well in a non-ideological government today?

An interesting electoral relevation

Thanks to mindways for this link. The upshot is that it has now been clearly demonstrated that Diebold's fancy new voting machines are straightforward to hack if you have half a clue.

Some people claim that the 2004 election was stolen due by fraud: that the Diebold machines in some locations (specifically Ohio) were hacked to change the election numbers. This latest is no sort of evidence that that *did* happen, but does indicate that it quite plausibly *could* have happened, which is an important step in investigating the matter. It also indicates what sort of access was necessary in order to commit the fraud, which somewhat narrows the suspects if it did happen. It'll be interesting to see if this goes any further.

In general, it sounds like Diebold may be in serious trouble. Based on their record of the past few years (IMO, it is fundamentally unwise to use machines from a company that is explicitly biased towards one candidate), it couldn't happen to better people...