I am usually a fan of Charles Blow’s work, but his latest op-ed seems to me a bit sloppy.
Blow claims that one reason Democrats, and President Obama in particular, may be having trouble convincing the country to sign on to large-scale health care reform is due to the public’s overall lack of trust in the government. This is a completely plausible hypothesis and one that I agree with, as the numbers regarding trust are incredibly low right now (~20%). What I take issue with is the way Blow points out a “peculiar quirk of recent American politics”; namely, that American’s trust in government has generally been lower following the election of a Democrat to the White House and higher after electing a Republican. Blow does not say that the Democratic administrations caused the decline in public trust numbers, but he might as well have given how the short piece is written.
Is it possible? Sure. But given the data and graphic he provides there are all sorts of reasons to doubt it is the case. At the very least, if he is going to imply such a causal relationship he should have provided a bit more discussion. Simply because low trust numbers followed the election of Democratic Presidents doesn’t imply causation. Continue reading