After every election, the questions I usually hear from half of the electorate are: What is wrong with people? How can there be so many idiots? With everything that was going on, how was it not a landslide? There is a lot of mystery not only of what drives voting behavior, but how people think in the most basic ways. There is a huge lack of understanding between different groups of people. Not only do people not understand why more people don’t think like them, they find time and time again that predictions based on how they think others think are spectacularly wrong. The truth is none of us even knows how others think, let alone why. Unfortunately, I’m still working on the answers myself, but in this post I describe several theories I have heard. Discussing them ought to help point us in the right direction.
During the Republican primary of 2007, shortly before Christmas, candidate Mike Huckabee released what on the surface appeared to be a campaign ad.
What was Fast And Furious? Who is to blame for the death of Brian Terry? Should Attorney General Eric Holder be impeached? Was Obama in on the conspiracy? You won’t find those answers here; that’s not the point of this blog. I’m here to discover and report on the arguments driving political opinion in the United States. The “Fast And Furious” scandal is becoming a divisive issue with many of us lining up on different sides to vent our anger at each other. Before we begin, it would probably be helpful if we were first aware of what the counterarguments are, and to question whether we really know what happened ourselves. There is a conspiracy theory out there that the operation was designed to increase gun violence as a pretext for increased gun control rules. Preaching this theory without hard evidence is reckless, dangerous, bad for the reasoned political debate essential to democracy, and sets us against each other needlessly. It has much the same effect as the conspiracy theory that elements of the US government were in on the 9/11 attacks as a pretext for war. There are also accusations out there that those trying to get to the bottom of the scandal are motivated solely to hurt President Obama politically, or even by racism. These accusations aren’t much help either, and only serve to divide us.
Well, this is a tough one to explain. At first glance it seems to be yet another example of Republican hypocrisy and political flip-flopping, but the Republicans do offer an interesting explanation that makes me wonder.
Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say a lot of silly things for which they are criticized, but it is often missed that they have good reasons for saying things the way they do. Sometimes, statements are made in direct or indirect response to equally silly things that Democrats have said.
I recently saw an ad for The Rachel Maddow Show on the back of a magazine. The quote ran something along the lines of: “If your big idea is ‘no we can’t,’ I don’t want you leading the country.” I’m not sure what she’s talking about, but I have some ideas.
The author of this article has some of the same suspicions I’ve had for a long time; the two major parties collude on certain issues and not always in ways fair to the rest of us. Crony capitalism and the welfare state tend to go hand in hand and both major parties are guilty. Hopefully, understanding this will be the first step to overcoming partisanship. We need to stop defending our preffered parties when they screw up and remain true to our principles.
Furthermore, it shows yet another reason why labels are more trouble than they’re worth. Most people are against both crony capitalism and excessive welfare states (it seems) and so most people don’t fit the left-right paradigm. I had wanted to call both crony capitalism and welfare forms of socialism, but this would only confuse people; the word socialism means different things to different people. I had wanted to say that remaining true to our principles and rejecting both major parties was what the tea parties were all about, but the "tea party" label has become tarnished. People would assume I was endorsing violence, anarchy, big business, racism, or a mere front for the GOP to take down Obama. None of this is true.
Sorry, readers. I have been busy again. My employer has me working overtime and I've had lots of errands. I haven't had much time to keep up on the news or write.
It did occur to me the other day that I should probably answer the partisan claims made about the recent government shutdown. Democrats blame the Republicans, claiming they ask too much and have pursued a radical agenda that has little to do with cutting costs or balancing the budget, cutting essential services while maintaining questionable ones. Some have even gone as far as to imply that Republicans want to kill women and old people. Republicans blame the Democrats, countering that their budget proposal only returns spending to 2008 levels (after the dems had control of the congress for 2 years), nothing radical like 1789 levels. They claim that the Democrats failed to pass a budget last year when there was a Republican minority, probably just so that they could make an issue out of this now to blame Republicans for. They claim that at current levels, the various government programs in question will run out of money soon and that all they are doing is SAVING the programs by making some sensible spending cuts and improvements in efficiency.
Who's right? Well, logic alone dictates that since the shutdown only occured because an agreement could not be reached, and if either side got exactly what they wanted there would have been no shutdown, neither side can be held exclusively responsible. Republicans failed to agree to Democrat demands for reasons similar to why Democrats failed to agree to Republican demands. Everybody wishes there was a greater willingness to compromise, but both sides feel that their own side has already compromised more than enough.
It seems to me that our time would be better spent seeking solutions than playing the blame game.
This post is written so that my readers may better understand my opinions about global warming.
Since Obama's inauguration, the GOP has somehow picked up the label of being "the party of NO." While this is terribly inaccurate and misleading, it is partly a fate of their own making.
I have been told it was one of John Kerry's greatest gaffes during the presidential campaign of 2004. During a debate with President Bush, Senator Kerry criticized Bush's stance on same-sex marriage. While doing so, he brought up Dick Cheney's openly gay daughter. Republicans everywhere were outraged that Kerry would drag family members into the media spotlight just to score political points.
Before you go out trying to listen to and understand the other side, be warned. You will find that they come from a very strange world totally unlike your own.
History is complex. Economics is also complex. The history of the economy is extremely complex. In order to understand it, some relevant facts must be left out and a narrative must be imposed to sift patterns out of the chaos. Add partisanship to the mix, and you will end up with (at least) two very different stories.
Americans of African descent (not to mention other minorities) vote for Democrats by wide margins. I'm still in the process of learning why this is, but it seems to have something to do with an impression that many Republicans are borderline racist. In my lifetime I have heard many Democrats state, both implicitly and explicitly, that Republicans have racist tendencies. Democrats, on the other hand, have always stood up for the downtrodden. At least, so the narrative goes.
Hi, I'm Dan. I like chocolate, hiking, and politics.