Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Everything In Moderation

Here is an interesting commentary on the McCain problem. I agree that we should perhaps calm down, take a step back and think about compromise. That's how politics works best after all. I am just not sure if I can actually trust McCain or other neo-cons to follow through on such a plan. McCain already told us at CPAC that he might listen to conservatives if they wanted him to change his policies. His promise might not be good enough for me. I might need some more evidence to back up a statement like that. McCain might have to oppose embryonic stem cell research, or he might have to try to get troops out of Iraq, or he might have to understand what's wrong with the economy. McCain might have to do something about border security -- something that doesn't grant amnesty to illegal aliens. He might even have to come up with a fiscal plan where the government does not spend more than it brings in. Or he might have to be somebody other than McCain. Yeah, I like that last sentence best.

12 comments:

little-cicero said...

Double meaning for "take a step back and think about compromise," We need to consider the enormous benefits of McCain's compromises. He has enough IOUs in Congress to use the Democratic Majority to his advantage in many cases. Mike Huckabee's relationship with Senators on such issues as SS reform would be like that of President Bush. We hail outsiders in Washington for all the right reasons, but if we actually want something done, it's time to consider the advantage of inner-Washingtonian diplomacy.

Esther said...

One of the things I want in government is transparency. Somehow I don't think this benefit of McCain's would enable transparency in government. On a side note, I have said that I won't vote for McCain. I don't really know if that's the absolute truth. I might change my mind when faced with Obama or Hillary as a future presidential prospect. It's a huge dilemma for me.

little-cicero said...

Why do you want transparency?

Esther said...

Because it's just kind of scary that so much stuff happens that we don't know about. I mean, that's how lobbyists and special interests get their way all the time instead of American citizens. In order for self-government to work we need transparency.

little-cicero said...

I agree, it can be scary. It can also be scary if too transparent- a president appealing directly to the people who makes a lot of changes in government has another name: demagogue.

When a president uses the transparent FDR style, there is the likelihood that the people, having done him a favor by supporting him and pressuring congressmen, will expect something in return, just as Senators will react after doing a favor. The President, owing and indebted to the people and showing trust in their judgement, will be forced to consider popular opinion, because his power depends on it. Strangely, this is the pressure President Bush so famously seems to thwart, yet he prided himself on being an outsider.

When someone votes an outsider into office on the request for change, they are acting emotionally (in my opinion). We must consider the source of the President's power when considering whether he can change things in Washington. And if Joe Public is going to vote that guy on the presumption that the power source is "the people" he damned well better be ready to take the reigns and responsibility of government into his hands. Are most Americans really ready for such a transparent republic?

Mmm My first political rant in quite a while. It feels good.

Esther said...

One thing on McCain being owed favors by Dems: have the Democrats ever come through on something like that? I think they usually go their own way no matter who is pulling the strings. Bush was owed some favors after he reached across the aisle a few times during his first term. I can't think of any time when the Democrats bothered to remember that fact. The term "outsider" would only apply to Bush if his father had not been president.

Also, excellent rant. But I think we are in far greater danger of our government taking away our freedoms right now then we are in danger of a tyranny of the majority (public opinion). The executive office holds way too much power right now.

Esther said...

I thought of something else, of course. You know, we are talking about the guy who periodically loses his temper and screams unprintable profanities at his colleagues while he is debating them (i.e. in a public place). Somehow I can't see him endearing too many members of Congress or the Senate.

little-cicero said...

LBJ didn't endear many people either. That didn't stop him from being effective.

The Democratic party has just enough majority right now for a few votes to make a difference. If they had a 5% majority margin, I would agree that they could and would do whatever they wanted regardless of a few senators owing favors. As it is McCain's IOU's can make a tremendous difference.

The next question for me would be "to what degree are the McCain IOU's reciprocal and in the Democrats' favor. I can only speculate that the Democrats had more to gain politically from passing McCain-Feingold and McCain-Kennedy during an otherwise futile Republican Presidency than did McCain, for whom these are now clear obstacles in his appeal to conservatives.

Esther said...

LBJ's ideas were crappy and didn't work. They've all been reformed now.

The Democrats don't answer to IOUs. They are the party that sticks together and votes together even when they vote to do nothing. I cannot see IOUs having any effect when the people who owe them do not even recognize their existence.

Tracy said...

I might also grow a third arm.

Esther said...

Tracy, if you grow a third arm I will definitely vote for McCain.

little-cicero said...

You could be right; I don't know as much about political history as you, and if you're right that there's a double standard, the IOUs could more work against McCain than for him.

One of the arguments raised against McCain by Republicans is that he doesn't stick to his principles. This could be an asset for him, as I argued in a recent post. Two things McCain is not: dogmatic and unloving to his country.

I have been philosophically wrong in suggesting that there's some form of power other than knowing what is right for the country. Once the ruler KNOWS what the country needs, there is no other power needed to accomplish it. One of McCain's assets is that in foreign policy, he knows war. This is a Socratic position, and though counterintuitive, I must agree- if McCain comes to truly know "this is right," what can stop him from carrying it out? An argument? He has tested every argument so he can deflect every argument. A senator? He is then in a position to educate the senator, if he truly knows.

If the argument is correct, then we need look for no president but one who knows. Obama's orational skills are then irrelevant. I apologize for defending a silly argument. Good Day!