Michael Lipsky

Michael Lipsky, a political scientist, and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos. He is the co-author of Commission Politics: The Processing of Racial Crisis in America.


Recent Articles

Sins of Commission

I n stacking the nominally bipartisan social security commission with members all committed to some form of privatization, this mandateless president seeks to advance one of his top campaign promises. But he also debases the concept of a presidential commission as it has been used historically. In an increasingly polarized environment, the man who called himself "a uniter" misuses one of the few instruments for mobilizing consensus. The typical commission assembles wide representation from the leadership of affected interests to study particularly divisive problems or events. Democrats and Republicans, business and labor leaders, conservatives and liberals are charged with sorting out the facts, identifying the meaning of those facts, and coming up with recommendations. Experts may be included on the commission itself as well as on the staff. The commission buys time and potentially mobilizes support for a consensus. The simple idea is that if a panel that comprises a broad cross...