Friday, August 20, 2010

Six of one, six of another

My original version of yesterday’s “Unprincipled” post on denying women the right to vote was longer than the one I actually put up. In that longer version, I went on to discuss what I believed was the larger issue:

The fact that some on the Right can entertain the notion of depriving women of the vote - even as a provocation, even only half-seriously - tells me that they don’t understand democracy any better than those on the Left. It’s also a small part of the reason why a Republican sweep in November won’t really mean much. Americans don’t hate the Left and love the Right any more than they hated the Right and loved the Left when they elected Barack Obama. We hate whichever side is in power, not because we’re all anarchists - or even Libertarians - but because it’s the side in power whose lack of principle is most obvious. Those out of power can proclaim their principles and promise to act on them; those in power can be clearly seen to act on no principles at all.

And I’m not entirely sure the much-ballyhooed Republican November sweep will actually occur. The more likely a Republican victory looks, the less principled the Right will sound. The only question is whether that lack of principle will become so obvious by November 2 that voters will simply decide to hate both sides equally.

Today Megan McArdle has up a post entitled, “Did Stimulus Work?”. Read the whole thing but here is her conclusion:

I'd like to think that had Democrats focused on alleviating suffering, rather than chasing "shovel ready" stimulus projects, Republicans might have gone along more easily. I have no reason, however, to think that this is actually true--any more than I have reason to think that Democrats would have seriously considered projects they couldn't plaster their names all over come election time. I am, in fact, extraordinarily depressed by the extent to which arguments over stimulus seem to be proxy wars over the permanent level of government spending, rather than serious attempts to address the problem at hand.

This is another piece of why a Republican victory in November - if it occurs - will not mean much. Neither party - neither side, Right or Left - is particularly interested in addressing what the voters want addressed and that becomes painfully obvious with regard to a party in power. Thus we are probably looking at a series of elections in which the only consistent result is to vote out whoever is in. This will go on until either power is so evenly split that government is deadlocked or a third party arises that is truly interested in addressing the problems the voters want addressed.

It is understandable that politicians wish to do good and to be seen to do good. Unfortunately for politicians in both parties, the voters are beginning to realize that our current crop of politicians is far more interested in the being seen than in the actual doing.

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