Why does it have to be that way? Why do we have to be so bent on our own ideological views that we can’t even be civil? Is it that hard to have an honest discussion of the issues, where — gasp! — we might even admit when we’re wrong?
Time recently did an article on President George W. Bush, “The Love Him, Hate Him President” (of course you need a subscription to Time or the willingness to actually pay for it to read it online). The piece covers this polarization of American politics pretty well.
Maybe I’m just naive, but is it that hard to be honestly critical? I’m not a big fan of Bush, but I’ll acknowledge he’s done some great things. He’s offered amazing leadership after 9/11. His package of tax cuts seems to be jump starting the economy. He helped get a prescription drug benefit for seniors.
Those are all good things, but let’s be honest. The unilateral approach and lack of a follow-through plan have really hindered Iraq. While I applaud Bush’s efforts to consistently root out terrorism, a lot of his actions aren’t helping the problem.
While his tax cuts may be helping the economy (not being an economic expert I’m not sure how much credit Bush can claim, and being unemployed I’m not sure how healthy the economy really is), I can’t help but wonder about the nation’s ballooning debt. Sure, fighting terrorism is worth some debt, but that’s not the only cause. Are tax cuts really worth it when we just end up paying for debt in the long run?
A drug benefit for seniors is great (again, I don’t know how much credit Bush gets for this — it seems more like Congress did the legwork), but again I wonder about the cost and why they didn’t fight to lower drug prices. The way I understand it, the bill abandoned a provision that would allow the Federal government to use its massive buying power to lower the drug prices. I don’t understand why we’d abandon that.
Every one of these issues is not a cut and dry issue, and I wish we’d acknowledge that. I wish a politician would forget about the bumper sticker slogan and admit that while the Medicare bill is a start, it falls short. Or what about the Energy bill that’s bloated with add-on expenses to buy votes? It’s multiple times more expensive than what Bush asked for, but you don’t see him rolling it back and urging Congress to pass the original vision.
That’s the problem today. We’re all a bunch of Michael Moores and Ann Coulters. You call my guy a jerk so you must be a jerk! Mud-slinging at its finest. And through it all we can never rise above to have anything close to a clear discussion of the issues.
Maybe that’s just my overly idealistic vision of what politics could be. I guess by its very nature it won’t happen. Bah. And we wonder why voter turnout is so lame.