Between logic and the heart

Logic and the heart.

That is what it all boils down to in American politics isn't it? The Republicans are the party of logic and pragmatism (in the classic sense of the word) and the Democrats are the party of just doing what is right, right?

I am having a discussion on Twitter with @dogwalkblog about this same idea. Mr. Dogg is to the left and I am to the right. I suspect, though, that we have much more in common than we have differences.

I have recently read several articles, the last one by Fred Barnes in The Weekly Standard about how the Republicans in the House (both as a minority and as the majority) as well as minority Senators were totally pwned by Obama as they tried to craft deals with the administration to govern this huge nation of ours. While they negotiated in good faith with the President, he had no such ambitions. 
AsteriskNote: I am sure that if I read a recounting of events from the POV of a Democratic insider, the take-aways would be different, but most negotiations are begun, worked and concluded with a set of unwritten rules.  This is why Americans can negotiate with Canadians, Norwegians, Indians, Japanese and even Saudis, but we have such a hard time with North Koreans, Iranians, Robert Mugabe and Hugo Chavez.
Speaking of Hugo Chavez, although I loathe the policies of the man, I can respect one thing about him... we all know who he is. Of that, there is no question because he tells us! When I objectively look at our current President, I see him lining up a lot closer to Chavez, philosophically, than to Reagan. If you read his books, follow his career, take note of his friends, and look past his rhetoric, you see a much different man. If you look only at the veneer, you see an attractive, smooth, athletic man who plays basketball, sings a mean Al Green, acts pragmatic and comes across as a devoted family man.

I am convinced that his public persona is just a veneer, and that if he wins a second term, his true self will finally come out, although he will continue to polish his veneer because that is the way he is. Reagan was called the Teflon President, because nothing thrown at him seemed to stick. In Obama's second term he will be known the Lemon Pledge President. All of the scratches, stains and smells will be glossed over with a liberal coating of Lemon Pledge.

Am a sorry for ranting about politics so much, but politics can be likened to the banks for the river called America. The character and power of a river, the vista of a river and the damage created when a river escapes it's bounds are all defined by the banks of that river. 

Our current political 'banks' were largely shaped by Democrats in the post-World War II era. The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of the House was Democratic until Newt's revolution in 1994. Everything had a balance in Congress as long as the Republicans stayed in their corner and behaved themselves. The agenda and control of the House and Senate belongs to the majority. When Newt took over, the previous 40 year majority became apoplectic over their loss of power. They did everything they could to derail this "duly-elected" group of Congressmen. 

Unlike the House, the Senate bounced between Democratic and Republican control. Each time the Republicans took control back from the Dems, it seems that a new arms race convened so that the new minority could hold sway over the "duly-elected" majority. Thus, the tactical use of the filibuster to control legislation coming out of committee and the need for a 60 vote 'majority' to pass any legislation. 

Party control is king in Washington. What this does is it makes me vote for ANYBODY running for Congress or Senate that does not have a (D) beside their name. As a generic citizen (one that does not 'buy' politicians), the only real thing that my vote does anymore is select Nancy Pelosi or John Boehner as Controller of the House, or decide if "Dirty Harry" Reid gets another two years as Senate Controller. Pretty sad isn't it? A Democrat candidate for Congress may actually be a better, more qualified candidate than the Republican, but I will not vote for that person, because the Speaker of the House has so much sway.

So, back to my thesis of the choice between logic or the heart. I am NOT a heartless person, but I want to focus my help to those that truly need help.I want to ensure fairness in business dealings and not allow big moneyed business to either run roughshod over existing laws, or let them be able to purchase new legislation which clears the way for their next big thing.
Fairness can be shown by giving unemployment insurance to individuals who are out of work and cannot find work. It is the right thing to do. If benefits, run out, extend them. Provide them with housing if they lose their house through foreclosure. Help them with food by giving them Food Stamps and WIC. Help their children break out of poverty by forgiving their student loans. Give them health insurance because it is the humane thing to do. But, at what point does it cease being help and become a requirement. Why, beyond simple human pride, would someone choose to work? 
But fairness, as controlled by the heart, is not fair to everyone is it? As Jonah Goldberg points out in his new book "Tyranny of Cliches", one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter is a false argument. How we define our patriots or our terrorists must depend upon the collective morals of our nation, doesn't it? So, how is a nation, so seemingly divided as we are today, to decide upon a singular definition of who is a patriot, who is a terrorist and what behavior is unacceptable and deserving of punishment?

When we select a president, we are really selecting the moral compass of our country for the next four years. I don't think that Mitt Romney putting his dog crate on the roof rack 30 years ago, or Barack Obama eating dog meat in Indonesia 40 years ago has any bearing on the US in 2012. At this point, we have a really good idea of what motivates and drives these two men.

I pray that America chooses wisely in November.



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