Ignorance is one of the leading problems in the world of politics. It has been for a long and most likely will continue. To many, this sounds harsh, dismissive and arguably ignorant. But, let me explain.
I am a firm believer in moderate politics. When a country is too extreme we see problems. Currently, we are in a period of extremism and ignorance. People believe what they want to believe, not what is a more logical conclusion. Some are so suspicious that they believe Obama is not a US Citizen, even though he has a birth certificate, has shown his certificate and has US born relatives. These people feel that we are all being duped by a grand conspiracy.
Usually, these types of people would be laughed at in a professional or academic setting. There used to be a strong desire to exclude conspiracy theorists in the mainstream. Unfortunately, the right wing latched onto these beliefs. They witnessed a sharp shift in momentum from Obama and the Dems to the ultra-conservative Tea Party.
Some of these leaders, like Palin or Michelle Bachman, got into a position of power by expressing vague doubts about the current administration and by asserting that some of these conspiracies could be true.
Some see this as a conservative renaissance, that the US will be in awe of their wisdom and we will vote Republican for the rest of our lives. While the Dems will surely lose some seats in the House and Senate, no renaissance is afoot.
The leadership of the Tea Party has proved to be ignorant and stubborn, two characteristics that do not go together. Worse yet is that many knowledgeable politicians, like Tim Pawlenty, are left to try to woo these Tea Partiers in order to support his base. This is eerily similar to a former alcoholic coke-addict who was wooing the Christian right, how did that work out for him? (It actually got him to the Presidency twice, but his legacy is tarnished)
Bush W. was no more a fundamentalist Christian then Sarah Palin is a neo-libertarian. They both lied in order to get votes. But, this is not new. Obama certainly lied to get votes. Remember the whole shutting down Guantanamo thing? Yea, about that….
Obama is a skillful politician, and the right-wingers need to have a candidate that is just as skillful. Unfortunately, they do not have this leader. At this point in time all of the candidates offered by the right are too weak and will fail against Obama. Unless, Tim Pawlenty gets wider support.
The state of politics in the US will undoubtedly find a balance. Unfortunately, extremism is balanced out by more extremism. Only when this cycle stops will real issues be addressed.
Examples of my ORIGINAL political thought: ( let me know what you think of my theory of action and reaction!)
Jimmy Carter was a reaction to the ultra realist Nixon and Ford Administrations.
Reagan was a reaction to the perceived ultra-idealist and inefficient Carter Administration.
Bush 1 continued Reagan.
Clinton was a reaction to the pro-business and “older look” of Bush and Reagan.
Bush W. was a reaction to the immoral behavior of Clinton.
Obama was a reaction to the nationalist, realist and ultra-militant approach of Bush W.
The next president, either in 2012 or 2016, will be a reaction to Obama. They will be more financially conservative and most likely more of a realist. I just hope that this leader chooses a moderate approach.
A great article from the Economist entitled:
HAPPY days are here again for the Republicans, or so you might think. Barack Obama’s popularity rating is sagging well below 50%. Passing health-care reform has done nothing to help him; most Americans believe he has wasted their money—and their view of how he is dealing with the economy is no less jaded. Although growth has returned, the latest jobs figures are dismal and house repossessions continue to rise. And now his perceived failure to get a grip on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is hurting him; some critics call it his Hurricane Katrina; others recall Jimmy Carter’s long, enervating hostage crisis in Iran. Sixty per cent of Americans think the country is on the wrong track.
All 435 seats in the House are up for grabs in November. The polls portend heavy losses for the Democrats, who currently enjoy a 39-seat majority there. Quite possibly, they will lose control of it. The Republicans stand less chance of winning the Senate, where a third of the seats are contested this year, but they should win enough to make it almost impossible for the Democrats to break a filibuster there by picking off a Republican or two. The second two years of Mr Obama’s presidency look like being a lot tougher than the first.
Malice in Wonderland
Mr Obama deserves to be pegged back. This newspaper supported him in 2008 and backed his disappointing-but-necessary health-care plan. But he has done little to fix the deficit, shown a zeal for big government and all too often given the impression that capitalism is something unpleasant he found on the sole of his sneaker. America desperately needs a strong opposition. So it is sad to report that the American right is in a mess: fratricidal, increasingly extreme on many issues and woefully short of ideas, let alone solutions.
This matters far beyond America’s shores. For most of the past half-century, conservative America has been a wellspring of new ideas—especially about slimming government. At a time when redesigning the state is a priority around the world, the right’s dysfunctionality is especially unfortunate.
The Republicans at the moment are less a party than an ongoing civil war (with, from a centrist point of view, the wrong side usually winning). There is a dwindling band of moderate Republicans who understand that they have to work with the Democrats in the interests of America. There is the old intolerant, gun-toting, immigrant-bashing, mainly southern right which sees any form of co-operation as treachery, even blasphemy. And muddying the whole picture is the tea-party movement, a tax revolt whose activists (some clever, some dotty, all angry) seem to loathe Bush-era free-spending Republicans as much as they hate Democrats. Egged on by a hysterical blogosphere and the ravings of Fox News blowhards, the Republican Party has turned upon itself (see article).
Optimists say this is no more than the vigorous debate that defines the American primary system. They rightly point out that American conservatism has always been a broad church and the battle is not all one way. This week California’s Republicans chose two relatively moderate former chief executives, Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, to run for governor and the Senate. But both had to dive to the right to win, which will not help them in November. And in neighbouring Nevada the Republicans chose a tea-partier so extreme that she may yet allow Harry Reid, the unloved Democratic Senate leader, to hang on to his seat. Many of the battles are indeed nastier than normal: witness the squabble in Florida, where the popular governor, Charlie Crist, has left the party; Senator Lindsey Graham walking away from climate-change legislation for fear of vile personal attacks; and even John McCain, who has battled with the southern-fried crazies in his party for decades, joining the chorus against Mexican “illegals” to keep his seat.
As for ideas, the Republicans seem to be reducing themselves into exactly what the Democrats say they are: the nasty party of No. They may well lambast Mr Obama for expanding the federal deficit; but it is less impressive when they are unable to suggest alternatives. Paul Ryan, a bright young congressman from Wisconsin, has a plan to restore the budget to balance; it has sunk without a trace. During the row over health care, the right demanded smaller deficits but refused to countenance any cuts in medical spending on the elderly. Cutting back military spending is denounced as surrender to the enemy. Tax rises of any kind (even allowing the unaffordable Bush tax cuts to expire as scheduled) are evil.
This lack of coherence extends beyond the deficit. Do Republicans favour state bail-outs for banks or not? If they are against them, as they protest, why are they doing everything they can to sabotage a financial-reform bill that will make them less likely? Is the party of “drill, baby, drill” in favour of tighter regulation of oil companies or not? If not, why is it berating Mr Obama for events a mile beneath the ocean? Many of America’s most prominent business leaders are privately as disappointed by the right as they are by the statist Mr Obama.
Down the rabbit hole and beyond the Palin
Out of power, a party can get away with such negative ambiguity; the business of an opposition is to oppose. The real problem for the political right may well come if it wins in November. Just as the party found after it seized Congress in 1994, voters expect solutions, not just rage. The electorate jumped back into Bill Clinton’s arms in 1996. Business conservatives are scouting desperately for an efficient centrist governor (or perhaps general) to run against Mr Obama in 2012. But tea-party-driven success in the mid-terms could foster the illusion that the Republicans lost the White House because Mr McCain was insufficiently close to their base. That logic is more likely to lead to Palin-Huckabee in 2012 than, say, Petraeus-Daniels.
Britain’s Conservatives, cast out of power after 18 years in 1997, made that mistake, trying a succession of right-wingers. Only with the accession of the centrist David Cameron in 2005 did the party begin to recover as he set about changing its rhetoric. There may be a lesson in that for the Republicans—and it is not too late to take it.