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The brick wall

A brilliant article in the New Yorker (“The Obama Memos” by Ryan Lizza) had me slapping my forehead in recognition of the answers to questions that have been plaguing me for the last couple of years regarding the highly toxic political air we breathe: there’s no logic there, no reasonable argument that can allow a consensus to emerge, no common sense. The problem for Democrats such as myself is that we still believe in dialogue and discussion. Meaning that good points will be recognized and pondered, concerns will be given serious thought to, conclusions can be reached and the whole exercise allow, if not win-win solutions, at least lose-not-too-much ones. Our big, huge illusion being that despite differences, not only both parties but all parties and their constituents ultimately strive for the common good.

OK, I know. I’ve always been demonstrably naïve, believing that good will and what I see as unassailable logic work and I’m always shocked when they don’t. I have this truly awful relative who is offended when people react negatively to her beyond-the-pale rudeness and then expects, nay, demands, an apology. This other person I know, intelligent and well-read, still mightily defends Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq. When I once more question the justification for war when there were no WMDs and no links to Al-Qaeda (the reasons given for the war and not what I believe to be the real one, the billions Halliburton and Cheney chums stood to make as contractors), that person’s answer is that going to war was the right thing to do. So, logic has nothing to do with it.

The Republicans or Tea Partiers or conservatives whoever they are couldn’t care less about the common good and are deaf to logic or reasoning, which makes it so difficult to understand what drives them, beside rage. What the Lizza article makes clear is why thinking along the lines of two-plus-two-makes-four no longer works. The whole article is eminently readable and illuminating but here’s a long quote to whet your appetite:

“There really is a red American and a blue America. Polarization also has affected the two parties differently. The Republican Party has drifted much father to the right than the Democratic Party has drifted to the left. [Jacob Hacker, a professor at Yale] told me that ‘since 1975 Senate Republicans moved roughly twice as far to the right as Senate Democrats moved to the left and House Republicans moved roughly six times as far to the right as House Democrats moved to the left.’ [Thomas Mann of the bi-partisan Brookings Institution, and Norman Ornstein, of the conservative American Enterprise Institute] write ‘One of our two major parties, the Republicans, has become an insurgent outlier—-ideologically extreme, contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime, scornful of compromise, unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science, and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.’ ”

Given the Republican candidates’ dismal performance in this electoral campaign, Obama at this point appears a shoo-in come November. But this article tells me why he won’t be allowed to achieve much more in his second mandate than he is in the first.

  1. bobbie troy
    February 10, 2012 at 2:53 am

    Wow, you said it all and very well, Saiheh.


  2. February 16, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Polarization seems to pay off: the republicans took control of Congress despite the damage in lives and treasure their party had recently inflicted on the country, the ayatollahs ride high and continue looting Iran, Netanyahu who single handedly destroyed the Oslo peace process continues his systematic war on the Palestinian middle class (that same one that would and could comfortably coexist with Irael), and Assad and Kim the third continue to oppress, suppress and kill.

    So, why make concessions to anything or anyone instead of continuing as conquering fundamentalists barbarians?


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