Friday, September 11, 2009

the problem with partisan politics

I live in California. Out state government is completely disfunctional. The state politicians are completely and absolutely partisan regardless of the impact it has on the citizens of the state. We see it particularly focused every year when they form a state budget. The Republicans come to the table with a single mantra - "no more taxes." The only option is to cut programs, and thanks to the state constitution, they can only cut funding on programs that have not come into being via the proposition process, mstly programs for the poor. There is nothing else to talk about. It doesn't matter whether those cuts will destroy lives of real people. No new taxes. Period. And the Democrats come to the table saying "we will not cut programs." There is no room for anyone to compromise and no room for discussion. The result is paralysis. And the ones who suffer are the people of the state.

I fear that is the direction we have gone in national politics as well. I agree with Keith Olbermann in his commentary on Joe Wilson below except that he misses the source of the stupidity... absolute partisanship that puts political ideology above the welfare of the people. My bias is that this is a trait much more common among those on the right than the left, but regardless of that, it is a characteristic that harbors the seeds of the destruction of our political system. When representatives forget the people they are supposed to be representing and put political ideology above the people's needs, we see stupid comments like this, hear outright lies regarding the ideas of the opposing party, and in general see our process break down.

Joe Wilson cannot look at any of the proposals honestly because to do so might require him to see things differently and perhaps even to compromise a bit. His ideology will not allow that. And we all suffer.


Dave Miller said...

Roy, I had posted on the breakdown of comity in the political arena a few weeks ago, but from a little different perspective.

You can access it here:

I think it is good that you can at least acknowledge some personal bias. But I would point out that many people on the left said that Bush was equal to Hitler, did not care about our armed forces, and even liked sending them to die in Iraq.

Those are pretty horrid things, and that is before we get to the Katrina quotes.

It strikes me as somewhat revisionist now to hear the left say that was different.

It really wasn't. It was just as disrespectful of our President then as it is now. Wrong is wrong

Now of course none of that excuses the current behavior by the GOP, but it does offer some perspective.

Perhaps if nothing else comes out of the whole "Wilson Affair" but a slight return to professionalism and decorum amongst our politicians, it'll be good.

I have noticed quite a few people "talking" about this on the net lately.


roy said...

hmmmm... Dave.

First off, I do see partisanship on the left that becomes ideological to the degree that it puts that ideology above the welfare of the nation and of individual people. Still I don't think it compares to that we've seen from the right.

I remember many folk on the left comparing Bush to Hitler... and the bumper stickers that said something like "Bush lied, people died." The difference with the Obama comment are that basically lies, while many of the Bush comments were accurate. He did lie and his lies led to many thousands of people dying. And if he didn't lie then his administration certainly did. Remember Rumsfeld saying they knew where the WMD's were? The Wilson comment was clearly inaccurate. (section 246 of the house bill clearly excludes illegal aliens).

I don't remember hearing anyone on the left saying that they liked military folk going off to Iraq and dying. Indeed, most of the comments that I remember from the left against the war were that the military folk were dying for nothing and that they wanted the deaths to stop. If you have a link or a citation for that, I'd like to see it.

I also don't remember any left wing talk folk encouraging people to go to Bush rallies with guns or any left wing clergy praying that Bush would die and go to hell. Those are pretty significant differences.

I'm sorry, the degree of hatred from the right is a lot scarier than that from the left. And IMHO the partisanship is more destructive.