Sunday, August 14, 2011

Between Them Both

Pending a post on the Iowa GOP debate and the ensuing drama over the Ames poll, I got into a debate. Sort of. It's not a very strident debate, more like a discussion about the GOP's presidential field and the economics surrounding it. It's with Democrats, a portion of the population I don't get to talk to much. (I live in the Bible belt, and that's obviously synonymous with "Republican Country." Sometimes I wish I could move to California, but I'm sure I'd hate it there just as much, except for the weather around LA which is lovely. New Hampshire, here I come!)

Anyway. Democrats apparently frustrate me just as much as Republicans, mostly because of the inherent contradictions I see in their stances.

Republicans want government to stay out of their pocket and businesses, but it's just fine if the government comes into their bedrooms and tells them what to do.

Democrats want government to stay out of their bedrooms, but if it feels it needs to interfere in money and business matters to keep us "safe," that's just fine.

And it seems to me that, between the two, we're pretty much doomed. The only way those two can compromise is to mandate both sectors. All in the name of keeping us safe and/or righteous, of course. Hush, little citizen. Big government knows best.


suntzusays said...

One point I'd advise against is the idea that there's a well-defined and useful heuristic stating what each party is actually done or doing. The reality is that both are quite comfortable expanding the state virtually regardless of how it grows. This is a common media narrative for things like "Republicans like free markets". Except when they don't.

To be sure there are powerful rhetorical differences, and some policies on which there are actual disagreements and party unity behind such disagreement (abortion definitely is one of these and to an extent gay rights has become one of these as well). But in general, BOTH parties support all sorts of things that these heuristic gaps would suppose they would not. Democrats embrace and continue the war on drugs for instance. Republicans embrace and continue farm or oil subsidies. Both parties endorse foreign entanglements that we would suppose from media story telling that Democrats would be more squeamish about. And so on.

What might be more useful is to complain that the media doesn't tend to cover people who break from these orthodox positions that are broadly accepted by one or, usually, both parties (Ron Paul being one of these). When John McCain gets a name as a "maverick" for doing nothing that is considered radical politically and only very rarely, but very publicly, stepping out from his own party's line on issues and votes, we're probably not getting a fair shake of attention on real issues of power use.

Liberty said...

Very true, Sun Tzu. The media frustrates me as well, mostly because it propagates the idea that there is a true difference in the first place.