Looking Left and Right: Pointless Abstractions




Today’s sharply polarized and strategically focused political parties fit poorly with a constitutional system that anticipates collaboration as well as competition within and across separated institutions. As we initially wrote, parliamentary-style parties in a separation-of-powers government are a formula for willful obstruction and policy irresolution. The continuation of divided party government and the promiscuous use of the filibuster after the 2012 election have largely frustrated the policy direction affirmed by majority electorates and supported in polls of voters taken since the election.


The biggest secret of the Republican [2012] triumph surely lies in the discovery that obstructionism bordering on sabotage is a winning political strategy


Isn’t that special….




Actions [non-, to be more accurate] by the Congressional GOP make that Paul Krugman observation inarguable. There are scores of articles describing the tactics used by the GOP to stall, dismantle, or simply ignore legislative proposals put forth by either their Democrat counterparts or President Obama himself. The million—utterly pointless—votes against Obamacare; the idiotic—utterly pointless—hearings on a variety of idiotic witch-hunts; the federal government shutdown; filibusters … a seemingly endless string of denial, opposition, and obstruction. It has seemingly become a badge of honor to participate.


A couple of years ago, a Republican committee staff director told me candidly (and proudly) what the method was to all this obstruction and disruption. Should Republicans succeed in obstructing the Senate from doing its job, it would further lower Congress’s generic favorability rating among the American people. By sabotaging the reputation of an institution of government, the party that is programmatically against government would come out the relative winner.
A deeply cynical tactic, to be sure, but a psychologically insightful one that plays on the weaknesses both of the voting public and the news media.


Government creates the ‘public structures’ that support smaller, innovative business. Government defines the playing field for business, right down to defining and regulating the money itself. Government creates the laws that define what business even is, and the police and courts to enforce that law. Government provides the infrastructure that is the soil in which businesses thrive -or whither and die. Government educates the employees and innovators. Government negotiates the trade agreements that let businesses sell outside our country, and is supposed to protect our businesses from being undercut by those in other countries.
Government keeps larger, ultra-wealthy businesses from dominating, monopolizing and destroying the newer, innovative, disruptive, creative businesses that rise up out of We, the People.






Good thing there aren’t any consequences when nothing is being done to address these and countless other approaches to move us all forward….After all, why waste time contemplative the reasons, needs, intent, or issues prompting legislative proposals if you can just cut out all the chatter and say “No”?

Isn’t government incompetent and ineffective, after all? Doesn’t doing nothing and/or opposing/obstructing/denying prove that point? Besides, if the government starts doing things well, in ways benefiting millions among us not just now but going forward, providing more of us with more opportunities to contribute meaningfully and thus expand benefits for even more of us, then … uh … uh … where are we going with this?


For conservatives who want to regain that [majority of] support, and for Republicans who want a chance to govern, a crucial first step is to see the inadequacy of the oppositional and negative approach to the question of the government’s purpose and role. It is inadequate not simply because it fails to give Republicans enough to offer voters. It is inadequate because it does not amount to a conservative vision — on historical, philosophical, or practical grounds….
[The Founding Fathers] would have little toleration for politicians who are committed to abstract theories even when they are at odds with the given world and the welfare of the polity — who fail to differentiate between conserving the system by adapting it to changing circumstances and undermining the system by breaking with its fundamental aims and outlook.


That observation from well-respected conservatives, it should be noted. It definitely should be noted….


~ My Photo: Boston Sunrise – 08.31.16  ©


Looking Left and Right:
Inspiring Different Ideas, Envisioning Better Tomorrows

Be the change you want in the world Gandhi

The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm, but because
of those who look at it without doing anything Albert Einstein


~ ~ ~

As I state in the “About Me” section, I’m driven by an intense commitment to learn why those on the conservative side of the fence view so many matters of great importance to us all so differently than do those of us on the progressive side. Those contrasting behaviors, beliefs, and ideologies are contributing factors to the very problems we’re trying to solve—the ones we must solve if our own ambitions and our hopes for a peaceful and prosperous world we leave to our children are to be well-served.

If we don’t recognize and accept that bitter partisanship is not always the wisest or most beneficial strategy, the goal of a better future will forever be as far away tomorrow as it is today.

The late Senator Paul Wellstone’s observation continues to hold far more truth and power than we give it credit:

We all do better when we all do better

Why make setting up inevitable and enduring conflict the primary objective of policy and planning?


* I invite you to enjoy my two books [here and here], and to view my other   blogs–at this website website [see the link above] and also at Peak Oil Matters