If a single move could restore civility to politics, that is it. Get rid of the left-vs.-right commentators who are just out scoring points for their team. This sort of opinion-mongering is not only boring and predictable, it is destructive of the truth. If your only credentials are “GOP shill” or “Democratic hack,” you’ve no business cluttering up the airwaves or the op-ed pages. My momma always told me that if you don’t know what you’re talking about, it’s best to keep your mouth shut. That’s good advice.
Whom do we put in their place? I say replace the pundits with people who have genuine expertise — whether from their academic work, professional life or personal experience — on the key issues of the day. Instead of partisan talking heads or mad hatters from the “tea party” preaching their views on, say, health care and taxes, let’s hear from doctors and insurance professionals, or the number-crunchers from the Congressional Budget Office. They’re much better equipped to help viewers, listeners and readers wade through the facts, arguments and data.