Monday, February 23, 2009

Good Old Days?

From time to time, I've mentioned my skepticism about a "golden age" view of American political history, that looks back to a supposed bygone era, when philosopher kings (or their republican equivalents) made policy without regard to special interests, and erudite journalists wrote objective (dare I say "fair and balanced"?) accounts of the politicians' learned debates.

Apparently, the situation is the same on the other side of the Atlantic. Nick Robinson, a senior political reporter for the BBC, has written a blog post that introduces a radio series he's about to begin, on past British prime ministers. In it, he compares the troubles and reactions that faced their first prime minister, Robert Walpole, with those encountered by the incumbent in that office, Gordon Brown.

Robinson's commenters have mixed views about the effectiveness of the lessons of history. My blog is largely based on the notions that the American body politic can learn, not only from the lessons of our own history, but from the experiences of other countries.

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