Webster’s describes symbiosis as “the intimate living together of two kinds of organisms, esp. where such association is of mutual advantage.” America has always been a prime example of democratic symbiosis. There have always been two distinct organisms, liberal and conservative, that have managed to balance each other’s excesses via the ballot. The result has been an uneasy alliance that allows a liberal culture to flourish without fear of censorship and a conservative business atmosphere that creates enough wealth and stability to support the luxury of dreaming instead of worrying about mere survival. With these tools Americans have built the most vibrant creation engine ever imagined by human beings.
But the model has broken down. There are too many who seem to believe that one can survive without the other; that any further accomodation will result in the destruction of both. Republicans and Democrats would rather forgo legislating if it doesn’t advance their agenda and put some new restriction on their adversaries. Give and take has been replaced with all or nothing.
Can one survive without the other? On his blog, George Rebane has debated the idea of a “Great Divide” in which the aggrieved parties do the India/Pakistan two-step to live with likeminded neighbors who won’t call the cops on them every other day.
But the logistics would be difficult to navigate. For instance, Republicans are the majority in the Sierra Nevada, but what Enviro-crat would ever dream of giving up John Muir’s cathederal? And the liberals on the coast would be totally at the mercy of the Republic of the Sierra Nevada for their share of life-giving water. We remember that Mark Twain told us that whiskey is for drinkin’ and water is for fightin’ over.
In the years it would take to accomplish the division, probably with violence, America would be a shallow shell of its former self. While we worry about survival, other nations would move to fill the void. The only arrow left in the quiver would be a huge nuclear arsenal to throw our weight around, assuming we haven’t used it on each other.
Personally, I don’t want to live in a pure capitalist or pure socialist state. For all the faults I find in those I disagree with, I value their knowledge and experience, and most of all, their ability to curb the excesses of a one-sided government. The balance has served us well, whether either side will acknowledge it or not.
Ronald Reagan said he wanted to paint in bold colors rather than soft pastels, but how many people paint their houses fire engine red or electric blue?
Great article, RL. Your last sentence is the important question.
One thing to consider is how these local blogs are really just echo chambers for a select few. Most of the people I encounter in my daily Nevada County work-&-play world know nothing about the Nevada County blogging world, and when I tell them about it their eyes roll.
My two older boys–in their mid-20s now–have no time or patience for the back and forth of the old-style liberals and conservatives. They are GenY, they have left the old paradigms of the 1960s behind, and they are re-inventing how America will interact w/ a very small global village in the 21st century.
As far as GenY is concerned, the blogs represent a bunch of old cranks who can’t see the forest for the trees. I have no idea what they are going to come up with to help us move forward. But I am 100% positive that it won’t involve a Great Divide, nor will involve some sort of resolution between the old-style liberals and conservatives.
It will involve something else entirely, the key of which will be that us cranks will be taking our dirt naps by the time the change has occurred.
Perhaps a Northern and Southern California set of states would suffice? The divide in my view is simply ideological not physical. Humanity is much more complex in it views about any issue. Hell, even at the local level within the R party we have a McClintock/Aanestad bunch and a LaMalfa/Neilson bunch. In that case it is a personal problem not ideological though.
My sons are not political at all. They work and play without a left/right tussle. They will see later on the folly of non involvement though. The blogs are a from of entertainment and I have a great time within them. At 62 I cannot believe I made it this far. But, modern medicine, modern sanitation and decent food has allowed me to stay alive and be a pain in the ass of the liberal. LOL!
The one dimensional left-right model for politics is, well, one dimensional. Great to divvy up power two ways.
If all the words you have to describe something assume that same one dimensional model, you just reinforce it. Two dimensions is better.
“The Reason-Rupe poll found that “Americans cannot easily be bundled into either the ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’ groups”. Specifically, 28% expressed conservative views, 24% expressed libertarian views, 20% expressed communitarian views, and 28% expressed liberal views. The margin of error was ±3″
Maybe “real” Americans don’t fit into convenient boxes, but for some reason the politicians they elect have been pushed into ever smaller enclosures. There are only a few blue dog Democrats, and no moderate Republicans left in Congress or most of the state houses. It’s heartening to hear that the young are rejecting the Great Divide, but will there be a country left by the time they inherit it?
RL, I think the “no moderate Republican left in Congress or most of the state houses” is Democratic talking points, not reality. Just what a professional master of rhetoric would be establishing in order to dismiss the other side rather than work with them.
The moderate Republicans in Arizona, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Indiana, Tennessee, Georgia and Maine all have some kind of birther legislation in the works. The moderate Republicans in Arizona want to legalize pregnancy two weeks before conception, ban the morning after pill, and let doctors withhold information about fetuses if it might lead to an abortion. Conservatives were livid that Sectetary of State Clinton declared gay rights as human rights in a December UN speech. Many want to overlook Uganda’s “kill the gays” movement. Flipper Romney’s gay spokesman, Rich Grenel, resigned after pressure from conservatives.
Yep, big tent there. Lots of moderates. Hardy har har.
RL, all your recitation does is show there are conservative evangelical republicans in office, too. The moderates don’t make news that fit in Dem talking points.
There are 242 R’s in the House, and 47 in the Senate. If you think they are all extreme, you’ve been smoking something most of them think you shouldn’t be smoking.
If these moderate Republicans take the house, senate and white house, I predict they’ll go on a jihad to purify America that will even make the mullahs in Tehran smile, at least until the bombs start falling on them. The moderate Republicans love social engineering just as much as their inept counterparts.
So just so I can understand. Democrat legislation is not social engineering, only R’s? I would say one need only look at all the attempts of those California Democrats trying to get us all some self esteem, drug rehab programs, encounter groups and kumbaya singing around the campfire to better understand lefty social engineering. Also, all the tax policy passed by the left to force us all into compliance is social engineering as well wouldn’t you say? Like, let me see, removing the three cocktail lunch deductions?
RL, you wrote there were “no moderate Republicans left in Congress or most of the state houses”. That’s just Dem talking points. Now you’re fabricating a straw man trying to make it sound like I’m claiming moderates are dominant.
There are a significant number of moderate Republicans among the nearly 300 R’s in the Congress, but they aren’t close to being dominant. The BS about “no moderate Republicans left in Congress” is the sort of thing the Former Union Editor would make up to bolster his “moderate” fantasy persona, and the reason why some of the more feeble-minded conservatives in Nevada County have you pegged as Left. 😉
Regarding the inept and insane labels, I think you got those backwards. Dems, especially in California, have been doing the same thing over and over, more spending, more taxes, more bureaucracy, and wondering why things keep getting worse. That’s insanity by at least one definition.
It’s the inept Republicans who haven’t had a clue how to beat back the Democratic Santa Claus.
Watch out you’re upsetting the pure partisans that believe the only problem with our government are the democrats. Next thing you know you will be labelled a tree hugging frog saving hippi that hates freedom and America.
Todd and Greg my guess is you think McClintock is a moderate who understands and represents his “entire” constituency well.
I don’t know how I can make my position any clearer. The name of the post is “Inept Vs. Insane” and spells out why I think both parties have been hijacked by their darkest impulses. I like some Democrats. I like some Republicans. I’d like to see a government that plays on the strength of both ideologies in the area of fairness and efficient policies, rather than trying to destroy each other. It’s obvious to anyone who isn’t blind, deaf and dumb that we’re going in the opposite direction.
I’m used to being chastised by both sides. Doesn’t bother me a bit.
Ben, you’re insane if you think I’m either a Republican or a Conservative. You may be insane even if you don’t.
I doubt anyone has McClintock pegged as anything but a conservative Republican, including McClintock. Same goes for Todd J.
No BenE, I think the self proclaimed conservative McClintock is truly what he says he us. I actually have differences with him but overall most of the policies he supports I can agree with. We have come so far from the Founders vision of the experiment they put together that a McClintock is considered extreme by the liberals like BenE because he preaches following the Constitution. That is so amazing to me. BenE and the “purple” ex-editor have trashed McClintock at every turn (as has thr Sac Bee, who now endorses his pick for Congress, those damn hypocrites) as well as the Tea Party Patriots. RL has long told us he suspects the Tea Party has more issues they are hiding (social) and has yet to believe them they are just practicing three. But that is fine with me, RL is a skeptic and GOD knows we need that (except in global warming though).
BenE based on your writings I would classify you as a socialist, a rather extreme socialist. That is based on how I have observed your logic regarding conservatives. Are you a socialist BenE? I know you never answer our questions so I won’t hold my dragon’s breath.
RL has a view of what conservatives are and as I said in a previous comment that “social engineering” is not only a religious issue. It contains things like no smoking laws, taxes and regulations on what a employer or employee can and cannot do. How about the food police? Remember no coconut oil on the popcorn in theaters? On and on.
Rl does take a small swipe at the left ut it appears to me he needs to hit them harder with his humor. You know, to be more “fair”. Oh well.
Its called being a populist. I have read the Constitution many many times and have participated in Constitutional advocacy groups for 20 years. Here is thing I embrace the entire US Constitution not just a couple parts of it. As for the smoking laws, anti-salt laws, ect… we are on the same page. You would find we are on the same page on many ideas if you would stop painting me in to a box.
Here are some populist ideas off the top of my head that a majority of Americans support
Raising taxes on the wealthy
Protecting our air and water
Regulating big banks
Holding big banks accountable
Closing the revolving door between lobbyists and government
Getting corporate money and influence out of government
Public option with health care bill
Getting out of Afghanistan
Support same sex marriage
Support legalization or decriminalization of marijuana
Oppose Patriot/ FISA Acts
to name a few.
> Raising taxes on the wealthy
Raise them for everyone. Boost spending (liquidity) in the short run, then scale it back dramatically when the economy stabilizes.
> Protecting our air and water
> Regulating big banks
All banks. The results are in from the 2-3 decade experiment: the liberalization of our financial markets has been a disaster.
> Holding big banks accountable
> Closing the revolving door between lobbyists and government
Yep. But that includes, for the record, all interest groups.
> Getting corporate money and influence out of government
Yes. Include all groups (AARP, Unions, Big Corps) as well. If not, as there seems to be a strong argument for Free Speech here, then we need maximum disclosure and transparency.
> Public option with health care bill
I don’t necessarily like this, but I would support this to replace our current Medical entitlement infrastructure as long as I can buy supplemental insurance. Given what we have in front of us, this monstrous PPACA, I would accept a single payer by comparison with open arms.
> Getting out of Afghanistan
Yep. And everywhere else. Germany. South Korea. Japan. Kuwait. Italy. Kosovo. If not, let’s allow the, I dunno, Spanish to open a base in Fresno.
http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/MILITARY/history/hst1109.pdf (as of Sept. 2011)
> Support same sex marriage
Well, yeah. Supporting the 14th Amendment goes a long way.
> Support legalization or decriminalization of marijuana
Two things: There’s casual use of drugs by responsible adults which should be legalized or decriminalized at a minimum. And then there’s addiction, which effects a small minority of our population, should be managed and treated by health care professionals and not the prison system and should also be legalized or decriminalized. For addicts, harm reduction is key.
Oppose Patriot/ FISA Acts
Generally speaking, Liberty is more important than safety. We need to stop being such pussies about everything and stop frisking Nuns at the airport. Although those of us who’ve been subjected to Catholic schools, this may seem like payback.
Keep it up RL! My wife just read to me a blow by blow of the 1880 Republican convention when both polarities finally broke for Garfield, and he wasn’t even a candidate and didn’t want the job! This tells me that when it finally gets so obviously insane to all, a new voice will emerge from the middle that carries the majority. I think your blog accelerates the process and this is a good thing.
I guess you are just a pure democratic party hater then, my mistake.
There are no moderate republicans in DC or Sacramento because neither party leadership will allow the representatives vote for the interests of their districts but are instead told how to vote for their big party donor interests.
A little story, I was a guest at a high end fundraiser for a candidate for governor a couple years ago. This candidate talked about going to those who “released” legislators for the votes they needed on specific legislation and they made it a point to say that the legislator is just a puppet of the leadership/ lobbyists that control both major parties. I voted for Laura Wells for governor and this was definitely not her fundraiser.
BenE does not appear to understand the primary process of our system. If you want diversity get more people to run for election. There is no monolithic system of conspiracy (man behind the curtain crap). Liberals get elected because their voters turn out and as do any others. I don’t see BenE complain that urban legislators are almost exclusively democrat and liberal. Why do you suppose that is BenE? Alan West called the Congressional Back Caucus a bunch of communists. He is a black republican from a Florida district. So, BenE, do you support the policies and pronouncements of the CBC? Why do you only complain about the conservatives? Could it be you are a liberal bird of a feather (along with Mr. Purple)? No, when people like you only complain about the Republicans without nary a criticism about your brethren, you end up with as much credibility in the debates of ideas as you give us regarding the left.
“There are no moderate republicans in DC or Sacramento because neither party leadership will allow the representatives vote for the interests of their districts but are instead told how to vote for their big party donor interests. ”
It may well be that Ben really is insane, or at least blinded by his own hate.
Sorry, Ben, no Democrat hating here. The current crop of Dems are wrong, not evil. And I apologize for voting for you; had I realized you were nearly as crazy as the Democrat candidate Clint Curtis (identified as a D-Mars by the his local leftist free press rag in Florida) I’d not have chosen you as the Nun of the Above.
Over the last few months I have made statements condemning democrats and republicans and you have come to the republican side almost every time and made it clear my criticism of the democrats wasn’t strong enough.
Clint Curtis and Tom McClintock are a perfect example of R’s and D’s picking candidates to run for their party not the people. McClintock is from Southern California and his family lives in the 3rd district, which is a carry over from his 20plus year career in state government for Thousand Oaks region. Curtis moved to CA for the first time in January 10′ and into the 3rd district, he pulled papers to run for office in February. He moved back to FL not long after his loss in 10′.
I am not crazy but do have hatred for what the democrats and republicans have done to our state and nation through partisanship and corruption. Debating ideas and issues are great and what we should be striving for but partisanship and hyperbole has replaced debate. It is a sad thing to watch.
Ben, it’s the current Democratic Party that, when faced with being at the bottom of a big hole, wants to dig faster.
Your apparent problem with Dems is that you think the hole needs to be even bigger than they do. I just think we should stop digging and start filling in the hole, and that doesn’t make me a Republican or a conservative.
While I am not, nor have I ever been, a Republican or a conservative, they are at least paying lip service to some of the things that are needed. You aren’t.
Hate is not a productive emotion. Let it go.
I am talking about political parties and corruption not right vs left.
From 1976 to 1992 the cost of running for President increased by 10%. 1992 to 2008 the cost for running for President increased by 400%. A billion dollars was spent by the two major parties in the general election for president in 2008. Obama out spent McCain 2 to 1. Study after study shows over 90% of the time the candidate who spends the most wins. 1/3 to 2/3 of public representative time is spent fundraising for their next election. 2012 total election season is projected to see an increase in spending (this includes Super Pac/ Citizen United spending) of a 50% increase over the 2008 election cycle. The best return on investment at the moment is government.
Inept vs. insane is the problem, along with the stupidity of trying to fit everyone who comments on any issue as a lib or a hawk (or whatever).
The issue is/are The Issues that we need to fix – not voting on party lines to screw the other party so they look bad because their legislation failed.
We need to work on the problems, not argue back and forth about whose fault they were. That is so 4th grade.
Come on, Brad, we have to blame SOMEBODY…If we can’t point the finger at the politicians then we’ll have to blame (ulp!) the voters?
“We have met the enemy and he is us.” -Pogo
Ok, you’re right. Let’s blame the politicos!
Seems like all the discussion here continues to limit the alternatives (India vs Pakistan??!!) available to us. It is clear though that we’re not going to make progress together as nation under the current path to financial disaster and rampant criminalization. Moreover, it appears inevitable that in this state of affairs, those who can do can also leave, as they are demonstrating with greater ingenuity every day.
While everyone is talking about the mythical mean, few have bothered to step forward and summarize some relevant tenets for governing the country from the double yellow line. And of those, none have recognized, let alone embraced, the problem of the growing horde of unemployables (even recognizing this gorilla of a statistic in such debates instantly condemns you as a solid “right wingbat” with no credibility left to your name).
Being that this is a blog run by a self-described idiot, is it any wonder that I don’t have any magic bullets to solve all society’s problems? Speaking for myself, I am just damn frustrated that the “smart” people we keep electing can’t seem to get anything done while they’re bickering over birth control and who ate who’s dog. The solutions are there, and Simpson-Bowles would be a good start.
George brings up a good point about unemployment. Mechanization and globalization are going to leave fewer and fewer jobs for the unskilled. Will government have to hire them to dig holes and then fill them in, or will there be hordes of pissed off twenty-somethings roaming the country with nothing to do but rape and pillage? Makes you really look forward to old age, don’t it?
We are all idiots RL. Heck I have been a tard for my beliefs. Maybe they are right. Anyway, when the robots take over ala, Terminator, they will make no distinction between we idiots and the smart folks.
Look back to your young adulthood and the trade, tax, and the bank regulation policies for the answers.
Ok, George, so what do you recommend we do about the “growing horde of unemployables?” Or for that matter the cocky young man without health insurance who is suddenly paralyzed from the waist down in a sudden accident?
I guess that George missed our questions. Maybe we’ll hear his views in a later post.
I would posit to you that McClintock is conservative, but he is not a partisan hack. He will not hesitate to vote with the Democrats when they are correct and acting conservatively. He is a thorn in the side of the establishment Republicans in DC for this reason, as he will not blindly vote “Republican.” The establishment does not want free thinkers; they want partisan hacks.
tom mcclintock voting statistics
Go to partisan votes and McClintock isn’t all that independent. He is in the same ball park as former speaker Pelosi. If that is a free thinker we are in bigger trouble than I thought. Despite losing a handful of good representatives we should get rid of them all and replace them with citizen legislators as was intended. McClintock’s nearing 30 years in government and that is long enough.
Ben, with all due respect, you have no idea about that which you are speaking. Tom McClintock regularly votes against leadership. He has even voted with Dennis Kucinich. If McClintock regularly voted with leadership and the establishment, he would be raising large amounts of money from special interest which of course not happening. The vast majority of his campaign contributions come in small amounts and from individuals. I think that you are exhibiting some sour grapes.
Average Party Votes:
McClintock – 88%
Pelosi – 92%
Herger – 92%
Boxer – 93%
Feinstein – 91%
Reid – 90%
Garamendi – 95%
Barbara Lee – 91%
Matsui – 97%
Lungren – 93%
Denham – 94%
McCarthy – 96%
Need I go on?
Where are you getting your numbers? They contradict Ben’s by about only 4%.
Also, is 88%, using your numbers, what you consider voting against leadership? Really? I dunno, that’s a B+. He gets an A- for obedience if you use Ben’s numbers. Ron Paul’s numbers (this is NOT a plug for him, but maybe it should be) seem to be more “rogue” if you catch my drift:
As Ben noted, Mr. McClintock’s partisan voting pattern is similar to Rep. Pelosi’s since 2008-ish.
True. True. Ron Paul is a rogue and I really like that about him. But Ben framing McClintock as a pure partisan is just sour grapes. Now McCarthy or Denham on the other hand, I would agree with him.
And what was BenE’s share of the vote in his run? I think I got more in one of my local races than he did district wide. What a hoot! But, America being as great as it is, a man that gets almost zero support can have a loud and rasping voice as BenE does. No real clout though, hot air, yep.
McClintock gets the ire of the left because he speaks his mind and that mind reflects a sizable majority f the voters. BenE should move to Marin, run for Supervisor and fit tight in. Mr. Pelline could move back there with him and be his blog adviser. They could build a home in the empty field of LucasFilm.