Politicized Is the Dumbest Word in Politics

A little more than 20 years ago, the Texas legislature was afire with controversy about a redistricting project. Advertising my ignorance of the process, I asked a veteran state legislator at the time whether he thought the redistricting process was "politicized." No, he explained, it isn't politicized; it is political. "Redistricting is the most political thing a legislature does," he said.And the scales fell from my eyes.Politicized may be the most abused and least understood word in our political lexicon. The New York Times complained that certain policies of the George W. Bush administration "politicized" health care; Nancy Pelosi, whose ability to keep a straight face is not natural, once lamented the "politicization" of the Justice Department; Boyd Matheson, a conservative activist and former chief of staff to Mike Lee, charges that Harry Reid "politicized" the workings of the Senate; Myron Ebell, who oversaw the Trump administration's EPA transition, says that the agency relies on "politicized" science; Barack Obama, answering critics who accused him of ghoulishly exploiting sensational shootings, said that such episodes are "something we should politicize." Some of these complaints make sense, and some do not.  Continue reading...

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