We live in an America where our legislators have never heard of the word bi-partisanship. by Garc
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
The political side of America that I know is full with negative attack ads, politicians with huge egos, and an ever-growing sense of loyalty to one's political party. This, in my opinion, has led to an America that is so opinionated that it is a crime to work with a member of the other party. It is no wonder that James Madison wrote in Federalist #10 that we must guard against factions, and he could not have been more right when predicting what factions would turn this country into.
The two current parties are so far from the center ideologically that it is almost impossible to compromise on any issue. Instead of this compromise we get the political atmosphere of our present day where both sides are bunkered down for a war of words to try to capture the independent vote. Whatever happened to both of these parties trying to sell to the American people a vision that would lead this country into prosperity like we saw in the mid-20th century? Instead both parties focus on mudslinging and this only digs the parties in a deeper hole with the American people and gives the people more reason to believe that politicians on both sides are not looking out for them.
But I want to know what America would be like if we did have cooperation between the two parties? Would we be in the mess we are economically if their was bi-partisanship? It certainly is an interesting question. One that I will try to answer by taking both parties main talking points and trying to reduce them both to a point that both sides could agree upon.
Since our country went into the "recession" four years ago both sides have been pointing fingers as to who is to blame and what policy can get us out of this mess that the other side created. The fact is that both parties are to blame and there is no excuse for everyone to not own up to their mistakes. For Republicans mistakes came in the form of TARP and the huge amounts of money that were used to finance the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freedie Mac and company. On the flip side the Democrats can be held responsible for their huge stimulus package that was poorly regulated and can be considered ineffective at best.
But through it all the Republican party has held true to one policy and that is not raising taxes, especially the wealthy. They believe that by extending the Bush tax cuts and by keeping tax rates low among the wealthy that in turn they will invest in the private sector, boosting jobs and the economy. I believe this is far from the solution and for Republicans to use this as their sticking point to boost the economy is juvenile. Truly there are smarter Republicans than this, at least I would hope. This not only is not a viable solution to fix our economy but it also makes the GOP look like a bunch of elites who only care about the wealthy. Think how this proposed plan would come off to a mom on welfare (which needs to be reformed but that argument is for a different day), or a college student. The outcome does not look good for the Republicans.
Instead, why not give in to some concessions and slightly raise taxes for the wealthy and elite in our country. Sure some would say that this would come off as a victory for the Democratic party but I believe it would make the Republican party look like a party of the people. If average, ordinary citizens see that the so-called "elites" are trying to make an effort to help get this country out of the huge hole that they helped dig, then maybe this would spark a coming together of sorts among Americans instead of this so called "class-warfare".
If the Republicans did institute something similar to the Buffet Rule then not only would it give them a better stance with independent voters but it would also give them leverage to try to institute some of their more right-wing policies that are currently at a stalemate. For instance if the GOP made concessions on their platform it would put pressure on the Democrats to do things like relax environmental standards, or put pressure on the administration to approve the Keystone Pipeline as a whole.
In my opinion the Democrats seem to be winning the game of political mudslinging. The party continues to pit the Republicans against the middle class and women, and these tactics seem to be working. It doesnt' take much research to discover though that the last four years for President Obama have not been legislatively productive. This all well coming with the majority in both the House and Senate for the first two years of his term, and a current majority in the Senate. So it appears the Democrats are not the innocent kid being bullied that they make themselves out to be.
The party as a whole has an obsession with alternative energy. From financing companies like Solyndra to giving money to GM to promote the Volt, the party has shown time and time again that it is not a very good predictor of what the American people will buy into, literally. The Democratic party needs to understand that there is no way that we can run a country, as developed as ours, on purely sources of energy such as solar and electric. These energies may work on a small, science experiment scale, but they are not meant to power a country as industrialized as ours.
Regardless of the statement above, Progressives will continue to insist that alternative energy is the way of the future. If they are right then it is surely a long way off but steps should be taken now to ensure that this nation becomes energy dependent. Just like President Obama said "We need to become a nation less dependent on foreign oil." If the President is truly serious about this claim then he will need to let up on the noose that the EPA has put around the necks of US oil-producing companies. For starters, this means to promote fracking, the new process for extracting natural gas, that is changing the landscape of states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. It also means actively exploring opening up the Alaskan wilderness and Outer Continental Shelf to drilling so that we can drastically increase our capacity to produce domestic oil.
The President does not have to act like he is giving into Republican demands by increasing domestic oil production. To many this will look like a President that is ever so concerned about the average American, and will show that he is serious about energy independence which will please both sides.. Not only that but the increased production of domestic oil will also take pressure off the administration for a lack of advancement in the field of alternative energy that the President has committed so much time and resources to.
It is a shame that our politicians are so caught up in their party platforms that they fail to remember the real reason they were elected, to represent their constituents. Both parties need to realize the good in America and stop acting like the opposing party is Hitler and Nazi Germany, but instead embrace the differences and believe that there is true good on the opposite side of the aisle because if we are to resurrect the America we used to know it will take a collective effort by both parties to get America back on top.
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