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Political Rancor
Previous | Next by rich 19 January, 2003 - 7:00 PM

I have been a bit of a news nut sense my early teens. I called into my first radio talk show when I was 14 or 15. My interest in political side of the news seriously piqued when the Clinton scandal(s) started emerging. It held my interest less because of the actual sex scandal, but more because of the “witness to history” side to everything.

Looking back on that with a few more years of maturity, I think I understand the debate to be whether we as a nation were comfortable with a president with an unfortunately public libido. I think somewhere while the articles of impeachment were ceremoniously walked between the House and the Senate as a nation we decided that, yes we were bothered by this, but it was no reason to take such a drastic step as to remove the president we had voted for. Political observers from all sides generally acknowledge that if he were allowed to run again, Clinton would have handedly won in 2000. So all told the whole mess in 1998 was much to do about nothing. Who did it benefit? No one is the answer. For nearly two years both conservative and liberal agendas were stuck in the mud. The leadership of this country was worried about phallic shaped tobacco products, negligent dry cleaning habits and the meaning of the word “is”. Republicans charged an administration with failing to have the “moral authority” to effectively lead our nation. Democrats charged a Republican lead congress with a vast conspiracy to bring down a President. Both were right, and our nation as a whole lost.

Now we have a Republican administration and a Republican congress. The Democrats feel backed into a corner. This is quite understandable. Liberals in this country are not really all that nervous about this country’s traditional hawkish party speaking harshly and carrying a big stick. What they are nervous about is the Republicans taking that stick and swinging it around roughshod, on all opponents, foreign and domestic. I am not speaking to whether that is a ligament worry that liberals have, but it is their worry. Regardless of my level of concern here I am glad there is an ebb to the flow looking out of that kind of stuff. Liberals also are worried that their traditional domestic issues will be shoved down the drain and the garbage disposal will be turned on. Racial equality, the environment, and the “little guy” are all championed by liberals. Regardless of my opinion here these are issues that good people hold strong views on. I respect that. As the liberal point of view on these issues make up a sizeable demographic of this country I want them to be well represented.

Unfortunately, I find it hard to take many staunch liberal or conservative arguments seriously. However well intentioned, the deeper one immerses themselves into their partie's line the closer one gets to having the end justifying the means. And increasingly the “means” I am talking about is personal character assassination. Liberal arguments lately (the past 2 years) have, at the first challenge to the sensible nature of the program that is being advocated, responded with “yeah well president Bush is a dumb buffoon”. Yes, the man for sure is not an eloquent speaker and not exactly an authority on world history and geography. I understand how this bothers some and agree that the traits I listed are desirable ones for any leader, especially the leader of the dominate world power, to possess. However he also posses traits that endear him to the public; he has a plain spoken manner, personally is moral and a strong religious conviction. Arguably, these are also good traits for a leader to posses.

I would like for people to argue the issues. In the course of 5 years we have gone from a Democrat that can’t keep his pants buttoned up, to a Republican who maybe should keep his mouth a little bit more buttoned up. Sure we can keep arguing these personally traits, but why? There are so many more important things that really matter rather then the continuance of the soap opera that Washington is.

My convictions tell me that the bottom line is this. Both our current and our former President are good men who love their county. They honestly differ about how to better America, but that is the intention of both. They also both are human and have sometimes rather embarrassing personality flaws. Yes it can make for an interesting side story. Let’s not make it “the” story. Let’s make the story the issues. The issues are what matter. Get passionate about them. Then, go Vote, Vote Vote. May the best idea win.

1/20/2003 >> ben

fighting... urge... to... edit... spelling...
i'm still on the fence about how much and to what extent (holy mother of mercy... they're playing a great song on CSI Miami! rofl... stay for a while i think?) the president truly affects things... i can't help but fight this image of the roman emperor ruled by forces out of the limelight... any (factual) information either way on this?

1/20/2003 >> rich

Sorry, I truly suck at spelling. Never have been good at it, never will be. I try hard. You should see things before I go over them 4 times to correct the things that I find. Feel free to go back and fix my fuck ups if it makes you feel better.

1/21/2003 >> spike

the president holds immense power, if only as the one holding the bully pulpit of the nation. The current administration has been quite capable of getting its agenda through congress, mainly because they have gotten many of our legislators to think that if they do not go along with the president's agenda they will be destroyed, either personally or their political agendas

I think Bush is less moral than he puts on. I do think that Clinton had some need issues, but he actually did more than Bush has so far to actually help the greater mass of people in this country.

But i do agree that the human flaws of our politcians shoulf more often than not be left out of the equation. That doesnt mean we should let racist, sexist or other 'ist' go. But we should actually be having conversations about the issues with some substance behind the dialogue.

I truly believe that a major part of the problem is that there is a legacy of anti-intellectualism in america, hence why Bush's 'plain-spoken-ness' gets him points. His style of speech speaks to his lack of depth of thought about the issues and that is more dangerous for the country than a blowjob.

If americans were really made to care about the deep issues, not the rhetoric of fear or hatred that dominates the news these days. I think a fully informed and INTELLIGENT public is needed for our form of representative democracy to wok. Right now we dont have that and that ist he fault of the major media and of the failed public education system.

Politicians have taken a cue from the media so that 30 second spots and sound bites are the norm of the public dialogue. THIS is riduculous. THe problems facing this country cannot be solved if we continue the game of politics as usual. Also, the number of people who participate in the process might help this some, but i think we need completely PUBLICLY FUNDED elections across the board, local and national. This would be the best way to take out all special interest and monied influence in our political process. I think the only way people should have influence is by lobbying and voting, not through financial means. That means lobbyists should win over politicians through charisma and dedication to their views and politcians should pay more attention to their entire electorate and not just those who fund their campaigns, because their constituents, all of them, from the large economic producers of their area to the poor woam on welfare, their votes should actually be equal.

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