Sunday, September 20, 2009

Red, White, and Blue

This is hilarious!

I was in Gmail, reading the latest messages, and at the top of the Inbox was the "Sponsored Link" to "Stop Robin Carnahan!" Clicking on the link took me to the webpage, where I read the following plaintive plea:

Stand with the NRSC by signing up.
Help us end the Democrats' one-party rule in Washington and bring some desparately-needed checks and balances.


By the way, this was all targeted at "Electing a Republican majority Senate."

I find this effort hugely ironic. Just a few years ago, Tom DeLay, Karl Rove, and so many other Republican luminaries were trying to create a "permanent Republican majority." There's a book on Amazon called "Painting the Map Red," by Hugh Hewitt, subtitled "The Fight to Create a Permanent Republican Majority." It was printed in March, 2006, when it looked like there might be a chance for that to happen.

The ad on Gmail was what I would expect from a party that got its clock as thoroughly cleaned as the Republicans did in 2008.

Now, philosophically, I think that the ideal situation is when there is more or less parity in party membership in the House and the Senate. This state of affairs requires that the Administration, the leadership of the two houses, and others involved in legislating develop a way of working together that will deliberate and create good legislation that achieves consensus. This is the ideal.

In today's polarized, hyper-partisan political climate, though, that ideal is about as likely to happen as the sun rising in the west. The party that tried to create a permanent majority in the first decade of this century now wants to try that whole operation again. Does anyone look back with fondness on the last eight years? Maybe there are some Republican operatives who do, but when I look back I see eight years filled with hubris, overweaning arrogance, incompetence, and no sense that "truth" was anything more than something else to bend and warp to serve the need to remain in power at all costs. Aside from a few bright spots like increased aid for HIV care in Africa, the last eight years were a disaster visited upon these United States of America.

In case you reading this think I'm some sort of uncritical Democratic Party fanboy, recalibrate your expectations. I expect the same intelligence, competence, and efforts to work across party lines, and for the good of the country overall, from the Democrats as I would from the Republicans. Since the Republican party seems at present unwilling to reach for a standard of competence and intelligence demanded by the problems and opportunities facing this country, that leaves only the Democrats stepping up to the plate.

The obstacles and obstructionism that the current GOP has been exhibiting are making it less and less likely that I will ever vote Republican again. Unless they come to their senses, and somehow moderate the more extreme members of their increasingly shrill party, they will continue  to relegate themselves to being a minority party with a regional power base. And well-deserved it would be.

The courthouse in the town square of Harrisonville, Missouri, county seat of Cass County, has engraved above its doorway the motto, "A public office is a public trust." We've seen entirely too many instances in the past that show how easily this notion is discarded by our public officials and elected leaders. These desecrations of the ideal of public service have come equally from Republicans and Democrats. Our national troubles are too serious and put our nation at too much risk for business as usual to be the order of the day.


I can't believe I'm the only person in this country who feels this way.

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