For years, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy trained public policy experts on a theory of why some common sense solutions were not adopted by politicians.

The theory is called the "Overton Window," named after then Mackinac Center Vice President Joe Overton, who died in a plane crash in 2003.

Overton stated that only a relatively narrow window of options are considered politically accepted by politicians looking to get re-elected. The window is defined not by what the politicians would prefer, but instead by what will win them re-election.

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Fox News commentator Glenn Beck has written a soon-to-be released novel called "The Overton Window."

In preparation for its debut in popular culture, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy is using the Internet to educate people about the theory that caught Beck's fancy.

The Mackinac Center has recently created a Facebook page and up a web page giving some details on the Overton Window.

"Our Overton Window page explains the origins and applications of the theory for the millions of Americans who are about to be exposed to it for the first time," said Michael Jahr, the Mackinac Center's director of communications in an e-mail. "Overton would be delighted to know that his insight into the importance of ideas is about to gain national — probably international — prominence."


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Jim Riley got his own fiscal house in order so he could retire. Now he wonders why his city government can’t do the same for their employees, and taxpayers who could end with huge bills from the unfunded retirement liabilities.

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