Books and Their Covers

This is a quick post to record a thought I had today: When did we start labeling politicians as "D" or "R" in the media? 

It strikes me that the party designation carries a lot of baggage with each representative politician, regardless of their actual conduct, speech, or voting records.  It's a shortcut for the public, but taking shortcuts in this area may be a really bad idea.  One of these days I want to find out how that practice started, why it started, and whether the benefits outweigh the risks.

Of course, we use labels to short-circuit experiential judgment constantly, and the legal profession is one of the worst offenders.  Journal membership, clerkship experience, GPA, LSAT score, specialty bar membership... It all affords us an "easy" way to identify ourselves and sort each other into groups.  But knowing the resume-padding nature of many of these things, how do you boost their effectiveness? How do you convey their reliability?