Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Politics of Compromise

I begin with the most recent post, since I think it can be summarized and responded to in one sentence each: Democrats are blaming Bush for Katrina (or to be fair, be slow to respond) (ok, the response may take two sentences)
Response: (1) The National Guard is controlled by the Governor, not the President, so any delay in response is tough to blame on Bush -- though I know it won't stop you from trying. (2) The images on TV are of people in desperate need of help, and the government can and should do everything it can to help; keep in mind however that these are the same people who ignored an order to evacuate, and that the levee didn't breach until the day after Katrina passed, so the government couldn't start working until Wednesday... and 60 hours (Wed AM - Fri PM) to evacuate fully a major, flooded US city doesn't seem that terribly unreasonable to me. (Ok, it was run-on sentence)

But I think this transitions nicely into how I can stomach getting my way 85% of the time and still look at myself in the mirror. Oddly enough, usually I'm blamed for being unable to compromise, and not for compromising to readily, but still...
I think that, even at its best, a political part can't be any more than a gathering of people who, roughly, believe in some of the same principles. And here, I mean broad principles, like "smaller government" or "pull yourself up by the bootstraps". In many ways, the modern Republican party was caused by Democratic success in the 1960's and 1970's. Back then, the Republican party really was controlled by socially moderate, business-oriented, small government Republicans. And, as a result, we kept getting our butts kicked in congressional elections, because we had no coalition. We also learned that the Dems were never going to let us get rid of major parts of the federal government in favor of state control, so we might as well make the federal apparatus work for us. And so on to the present day.

So in the end, can a successful political party be any more complicated than a coalition of similar, if not the same, ideals? Probably not, and maybe that's a good thing, since it keeps government honest. Face it, if it weren't for the difficulty of governing a coalition party as the modern Republican party has become, our control over all parts of the government (what with our majorities in every body) would be absolute.

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