What’s Left? – Call It As You See It

Gavin Leighton

It is nothing short of breathtaking when people routinely abandon factual evidence for some inane position that is as useless as it is irrelevant. Half-truths are routinely stretched in Washington for political advancement and more often than not, hard questions are dodged. Unfortunately, the veil that politicians like to pull over their eyes seems pervasive to both parties and shows no signs of going away.

Examples abound in the political spectrum, ranging from mundane nonsense to statements that a paranoid child locked in a closet wouldn’t even come up with. Of recent, the most glaring examples come from the response to the stimulus bill. One response revolved around speculation over the prospect of a modern, high-tech train from Disneyland to Las Vegas. Let’s be clear, there is no part of the bill that calls for a train from Mickey Mouse’s backyard to Sin City. Independent organizations have fact checked this numerous times, as well as pointing out that many red districts are just as likely to get money for modern high-tech transportation development. Another claim out of left field is that the Obama administration is trying to subterfuge American law to re-demarcate congressional districts. Despite the fact that states have and will continue to define districts without the involvement of the White House, such statements continue to surface.

As mentioned, downright foolishness may be the characteristic that most extends past partisan lines in D.C. Top democrats are voicing their concerns to President Obama about his projected troop levels in Iraq not being low enough. Even though experts on the ground have warned that gains in the region are fragile, the most vociferous Democrats continue to offer their potentially disastrous advice to President Obama on appropriate levels of troop numbers in the Middle East.

Citizens are tired of worn-out party doctrine that ultimately hurts the voters. We all witness the grandstanding in Washington and have to ask why any of it is necessary. President Obama’s message of bipartisanship was so alluring during the campaign because the message of direct discussion resonates with voters. President Obama has now challenged both sides of the political spectrum while laying out open and straightforward plans, and favorable public opinion reflects that.

Recently, many Republicans have chided President Obama for not being bipartisan enough in passing the stimulus bill. These naysayers fail to realize that both groups need to extend a hand to reach an agreement. What is important to note is that it took the work of three moderate Republicans to get the stimulus bill passed. No matter what the result is in Minnesota, Democrats won’t have the magic 60 to pass every bill they want. Largely, the bills that will be passed in the next couple of years will rely on the discretion of several moderate republicans in the senate, thereby requiring both parties to reach across the aisle.

This fact is wasted on both the conservative analysts who threw these few Republicans under the bus for moving forward as well as on those Democratic observers who complained that the bill was too watered down. And this is what we are left with, commentators that are so inflamed that they can’t acknowledge the cooperation that took place, or will have to take place in the coming years. The inherent bias in some analyses is intolerable. Those with authority must be able to substantiate claims and demonstrate the validity of their positions. As recently as the summer of 2008, politicians and pundits made up a claim on a whim that Chinese companies were working with Cuba and drilling for oil within 100 miles of Florida. No such drilling existed.

Clarity in government has far ranging implications, beyond issues in the United States. Clearly, Hamas rockets are instigative and unallowable, however, they do not justify Israel’s response in which an exorbitant amount of civilians were killed and schools were destroyed. Only through acknowledging both sides’ legitimate points can we speak frankly, and hopefully move towards implementing a peaceful long-term agreement. This line of thinking is lost in Washington, where party politics and long-standing feuds serve as impediments to progress. Removing these mental road blocks, so as to be able to see things more clearly, is perhaps one of the most amenable ways of improving our navigation of domestic and international affairs.