Why Haven’t We Done Anything About Global Warming?

When Barack Obama was elected President I thought he would put global warming at the forefront of his environmental policies and lead America into doing the right thing.  Three years later and its like George Bush is still president.  What happened?

Global warming is the defining ethical issue of our time, and it seems that most people want to ignore it.  Why?

I can only assume it’s greed and hatred of liberal philosophy.

I can’t believe that global warming deniers actual believe the crap that spews from their mouths.  I believe conservatives associate global warming with liberal politics and they will fight the idea even if God’s face filled the sky and told them Al Gore was his chosen prophet.  The conservatives hate liberal philosophy so much that they would turn to devil worship if God joined the liberals.  The oceans could rise ten feet and they would still deny global warming.  No amount of evidence will convince these people we have a problem with putting too much carbon in the atmosphere.

ABC News has a nice essay on this, “The American ‘Allergy’ to Global Warming: Why?”  This article even states the percentage of Republicans accepting the idea of global warming has gone down.  That’s because of the Tea Party influence on the GOP.  All the 2012 Republican candidates have embraced the idea that conservatives should all believe the exact same philosophy and anyone that doesn’t is a traitor to the party.  Any deviance from the party line and you’re a rabid yellow-dog Democrat.

America is the leader of the world on this issue – and we’re got our heads jammed in the sands and our asses hanging out for all the rest of the world to admire.  Conservatives would rather make a virtue of being an asshole than admit to any idea associated with liberal thinkers.

To my Republican friends, you need to look at yourself and do some soul searching about your reputation.  I’m not the only one worried about you, even some Republicans are worried about their image.  See “Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult.”  It’s one thing to believe in paying less taxes and promoting business, and another thing to running the country (and the world) into the ground.

One of the problems dealing with global warming is misinformation.  Conservative politicians tell their followers the issue is still open for discussion.  Really.   Read “Scientific Consensus on Global Warming” which shows clearly that there’s no quibbling among scientists.  Yet, the American public continues to think there is.  Read Politics & Global Warming.  Here’s the key finding of the report:


The right answer is about 98% of climate scientists think global warming is happening and caused by man. And supposedly the other 2% think global warming is happening but there might be additional causes.  76% of the Tea Party folks are either not very worried or not worried at all about global warming yet only one percent of them got the question right.  Of course only 18% of Democrats and Independents got the question right too.  Global warming is not a problem for most Americans, even though 98% of the people most trained to know think there is a problem.

Climate scientists spend their whole lives studying this issue, and they have billions of dollars in research money to apply to the problem, while harnessing the most powerful supercomputers, and using the resources of NASA and other scientific organizations around the world.  They are telling us we have a problem and no one believe them.  Why?

Because they don’t want to believe.

The human race is about to be tested on how smart it is and it’s going to fail miserably.

My only conclusion is we prefer our fantasies over reality.

And you know what’s tragically hilarious.  If we had applied the money we spent on the Iraq war to retrofitting for global warming we’d be well on our way to solving the problem and have created a tremendous boost for the economy that would have kept America in the economic lead for the rest of the 21st century.  By refusing to face up to reality, the conservatives have put the American Empire on the quick road to decline.

Instead of seeing global warming as the defining challenge of our lives, something to face up to and make ourselves great, conservatives had chosen to run away.  Instead of seeing green technology as a gold mine of economic expansion, conservatives have decided to cling to their old ways and let the country go down the tubes.

I hate that the conservatives have made this choice for us, but we can’t do anything unless we all pull together.

I’m getting close to being old – turning 60 soon, so there’s no telling how much longer I’ll be around.  I feel sorry for the youngest generation though.  Conservatives think the worse thing that will happen to the young is they will get the bill for social security.  That’s actually something that could be easily fixed with some minor policy changes and small tax increases.  All the plagues  in the Old Testament will be nothing compared to what global warming will do to our country and the world.

Hey, I wouldn’t count the rapture getting you off this sinking ship either – we’re all going down together.

To answer my original question, why haven’t we done anything about global warming, well the answer is we did.  We chose to ignore it.

JWH – 9/25/11

I am not the only one asking this question, at the New York Times, Elisabeth Rosenthal asks “Where Did Global Warming Go?”  She only confirms what I said about our country, but does point out that Europe and other countries do take this problem seriously.

JWH – 10/16/11

44 thoughts on “Why Haven’t We Done Anything About Global Warming?”

  1. Great post, Jim. But note that nearly 100% of climate scientists recognize that global warming is a problem. It’s just that around 2% of them don’t think that it’s primarily caused by human beings (just partly by us).

    Of course, even if it wasn’t primarily a man-made problem, the consequences would still be just as bad. And really, 98% is an overwhelming scientific consensus, by anyone’s standards. Believing the tiny minority instead is just believing what we want to believe.

    1. I used the 98% figure because that’s what the report uses – and I shouldn’t take their word for it completely. I’d like to see more sources on scientific opinion on the issue. I find it hard that any scientist would believe anything other than mankind is the cause.

  2. While I don’t disagree with all of your points as to why global warming isn’t a priority for President Obama, despite his promises, I think you miss the major point which is that the more immediate crises always take precedent and with his desire to push a health care agenda and the awful world economy coupled with our own awful economy coupled with the ongoing wars it matters little what anyone believes about climate change–it is not an immediate priority and all that anyone cares about it the immediate priorities. Even politicians, because they need to get re-elected and they are not going to do so by ignoring the immediate threats to deal with future threats, no matter how terrifying those might be.

    I know you like to push the democrat vs. republican buttons a lot but I don’t see this as a uniquely democrat or republican issue. The democrats controlled the whole govt. during parts of Clinton’s presidency and Obama’s and controlled the house and senate for much of Bush’s…and the universal “they” haven’t done anything significant about climate change the whole time.

    So if you are being fair there is no excuse for anyone and the blame should be shared equally.

    I’m no Obama supporter, but I can hardly blame him for not being able to handle the myriad of crises he has inherited and those that have grown worse (plus all the new troubles) during his Presidency. I wouldn’t want the job. The stress!!!

    1. Many people believe working on the global warming problem would be a major stimulus to the economy. Some people like Thomas Friedman believe going green would solve our economic problems and make us economic leaders again.

      Also, if we keep putting off dealing with global warming because of other issues we’ll never get around to working on it at all.

      I believe a President gets to deal with all the problems he’s handed, and not just the ones that help him or hurt him political. I voted for Obama in the primary and the election. I wanted him to succeed. I’m still a supporter. But global warming is off the radar politically and that’s bad in my opinion.

      1. I believe the government, not just the President, SHOULD deal with all the problems they are handed but I believe that our system of government over the last several decades in particular have become more about dealing with issues in a way that lead to re-election rather than efforts that are for the betterment of all.

        I know it is highly cynical, but I am no longer a believer that a bunch of wealthy and privileged men and women truly represent their constituents who put them in office. There is more self-preservation and self/special interest in government than anything else. And again that goes for all parties.

        I should qualify that although I am not an Obama supporter, I do want him to succeed. He is our President and I do believe he should be respected in that role. I felt for him when he won, knowing he had landed in a no-win situation.

        1. I agree with that Carl, The entire government should be working on our problems. I also believe that special interests have corrupted our government and re-election corrupts our elected officials. I also don’t feel represented. I feel like I’m on the sidelines watching a football game between two rivals who are more concerned with winning than working. Carl, I’m also glad about what you said at the end. I think too many Republicans would like the see our country fail just so it would help them in the next elections.

  3. I’m hoping I didn’t sound too grouchy about my frustrations with our government. I am a very proud American but one who feels that massive changes need to be made. I don’t want those changes to come about because everything falls apart. I want people to be proactive and make the changes now. You would think with all of the intelligence and drive in this country and all of our history and everything else we are blessed with as a nation that we could find some way to pool our resources and delegate problems to groups that could solve those problems. It shouldn’t be just a President, or an administration. They ought to be able to lead and guide, be able to delegate and monitor.

  4. The quick answer is Obama didn’t do what he promised because he is a politician.

    But actually Obama is politically a conservative Republican, not a liberal Democrat. He’ll talk up a liberal agenda during elections because technically he is a Democrat, but he doesn’t believe in that political philosophy any more than Alan Greenspan does. All of the people he appointed to his administration came from the same class of corporate finance executives that both Bushes appointed from. The same ones Romney would if he could get himself elected. The same ones Al Gore would have appointed if George Bush the Second hadn’t successfully lead a coup de’etat.

    No solutions can come from a dead political system. Most people are either too ignorant or too busy to understand or participate in politics. Both of which are 100% intentional outcomes of our educational and our economic systems. The one product America can still out-produce all other nations in the world is unquestioning dumb-fucks.

  5. Parties / heads of state are voted in by the people for doing / promising what the people want, not what is right or what is best.
    People don’t want taxes. People are not convinced there’s either a problem or that there’s something that can be done about it.
    Politicians have to worry about getting voted back in in 3 or 4 years, so they do what makes people happy.
    Makes you think about the benefits of a one party state like China, eh?

  6. Who’s happy? Perhaps the 1% and the hope-to-be 1%’ers. That is the false choice presented to the American people, you either accept that today is the best possible world, and any deviation from it is sure to lead to Muslim Hippie Godless Communistic Homo NAZI death camps. We’re frightened into doing nothing, while jobs evaporate and our country looks more and more like China or Burma every day.

    No politician does what they promise. We can vote in a Kenyan Socialist or a Teaparty Libertarian and it makes no difference in the final policy. Our political system is dead, incapable of change because the people don’t count. The founders said the people should decide, but now the people who pay the bribes make all the decisions. It won’t change until the people take that power back. Occupy Wall Street!

    1. I disagree Greg. In the last mid-term elections the people voted in a bunch of Tea Party Republicans that has had great influence on their party. Of course I thought it was a terrible influence, but it was effective. They have dug in their heels and have forced a kind of shutdown on spending.

      1. The last term I’d use describe the policy resulting from the 2010 elections is effective. The republicans haven’t done anything to turn the economy around or cut spending. They’ve larded the rich with billions in more tax breaks, giving them money we’ll have to borrow from China. Trillions flows into the War on Terror/Homeland security. Trillions continues to be spent in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its a pathetic joke. The few things they changed involved sticking it to the Unions and making it harder to vote (against them). They advocate the same policies Bush used to all but destroy our country. Same lies, same people calling the shots. Nothing will change until things get so bad people riot in the streets, then we’ll see all that Homeland Security money being used to kill and torture Americans.

        1. No, they weren’t effective in helping the country, they were effective in gaining control over their party. I consider the Republicans effort to thwart Obama by making sure the economy doesn’t recover just short of treason.

  7. << "We can vote in a Kenyan Socialist or a Teaparty Libertarian and it makes no difference in the final policy."

    I’m sorry, but that’s complete nonsense! That’s what the right-wing wants you to believe, so you won’t vote. Don’t be gullible enough to believe it.

    Any president has to work with Congress, and no politician is going to get everything his own way. (As it turns out, Democratic presidents have a much harder time of it, because Democratic Congresses are normally willing to work with a Republican president, while the reverse has not been true for decades.)

    But to think, therefore, that it didn’t make any difference whether we elected George W. Bush or Al Gore,… well, that’s just crazy talk. Just because you don’t get everything your own way, that doesn’t mean there aren’t real differences, significant differences, between the candidates.

    Honestly, I’m disappointed in Barack Obama, too, in many ways. But let’s not let that disappointment make us as crazy as the Tea Party, ourselves! Jeebus, that’s all we need, a crazy left to go along with the crazy right…

  8. It’s pretty easy to blame Republicans and Conservatives for the nation’s lack of motivation for arresting global climate change, but they only control 1/2 of one of three branches of the US gov’t. I woul dbe a bit more anoyed with the guys controlling 1.5 branches who have done a lot of talking, but little else.
    I also don’t thik it matters much what the cause is. Our use of dirty technology will decline (because petroleum is getting more and more expensive), and it just makes good sence to be clean. The big issue is how do we prepair ourselves for the predicted climate of the future? I never hear anyone talking about that part. How will we get energy and food? How will we trvel to get to work, or go see gramma or the grand canyon? What is ready today to fill the gap created by the end of coal and oil?
    I guess another issue is that there is no right answer. Whatever solution or partial-solution ones mentions, some other group is deeply opposed to it, and will stop at nothing to make sure the solution is never implemented.

    Lastly, everyone knows the climate is changing, but the average American doesn’t feel they can really do much about it, and most of us are waiting on the loudest among the “tree huggers” to shut uip and find a solution that works and that Joe six-pack can actually afford.

    I’ll keep riding my bicycle to work, planting trees, raising my organic (goat manure) veggie garden, my bees, and my bats, keep my thermostat set as low int the winter and high in the summer as my wife will tollerate, and continue to make the greenest choices I can afford. I will not, however, force anyone to live as I do – that’s more a job for the Green Police and the Brown Shirts.

    1. I did open the essay by saying Obama wasn’t doing anything like I expected. But I do blame the conservatives for spreading misinformation. Did you see the Time magazine article about this? The climate change deniers are using the same tactics as the tobacco industry used to delay dealing with the issue. And I think most Americans just want to let the issue slide so they are willing to believe there isn’t a consensus among scientists about the problem.

      See: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2096055,00.html

      1. Come on James, conservatives AND liberals spread misinformation. They just happen to do it more often on their own pet topics. I give you kudos for being more balanced than usual with your article, don’t undo your rational post with a return to myopic political speak.

        1. Everybody spreads misinformation because of poor knowledge. And liberals do spread lots of flaky misinformation. But I really do believe there are elements of the conservatives that have made an art of consciously spreading misinformation. I’m not the only one to think this Carl. Read that Time article. These people are quite savvy at manipulating the public. Now I do think liberals manipulate the public, but they do it in other ways – ways I believe are more ethical, but still manipulation.

          1. We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. Not about what you say about the conservatives, even though I consider myself one I agree wholeheartedly. They are savvy at the shell game. But I believe the liberals are just as savvy at it and are not any more ethical in their playing of the shell game. And until those who believe there is a disconnect between unethical and self-interested behavior between conservative and liberal politicians start to see that all politicians (as a group, I will concede that there are well meaning ethical individuals on all sides) are more interested in keeping the American public in the dark about their own pet interests by pointing out the flaws of the other party, nothing at all will change. We’ve had decades of leadership where one party or the other controlled the presidency and both houses and nothing changes. Things get worse and worse because by and large no one party is willing to stand up and chuck their political talking points and instead focus on and eliminate any of the major issues. Instead we get whatever band aid makes the party look good to the voters who will soon be having to be wooed for the next round of votes. We as Americans need to demand more from those whose salaries we pay in addition to the large percentage of our income that we allow them to take to ostensibly run our nation. And the first step in making that change is to stop focusing on “the conservatives are doing this” and “the liberals are doing that” and instead focus our energy on supporting people who bring solutions to the table and are willing to abandon their re-election strategy to do so.

            Do those people even exist? Hard to say, sounds a bit like a fairy tale when I actually put it in black and white. 🙂

          2. Oh, I agree that both parties are corrupt and self-serving and don’t do enough for the American people. But what I was talking about was one special kind of technique used by the conservatives and big oil companies to fight changes required to deal with global warming. Time said the technique was invented by the tobacco companies, but I think it’s been around a long time to deal with scientific conclusions. Science is hard to understand for most people. What the conservatives have learned is they don’t have to refute scientific claims, they just have to make the public believe they are still open for debate. There is no debate about major issues evolution, smoking or global warming. But because science is always learning stuff at the detail level conservatives use controversy at the micro level to confuse people at the macro level. It’s quite effective. It’s easy to sow doubt in people’s minds. It’s much harder to educate them about complex issues.

          3. I don’t disagree with that James. But to be honest, I think the liberals are every bit as in bed with the big oil companies but they have the benefit of the conservatives who will do all the dirty work for them. The liberal politicians know that they can take “bold” public stands on issues like global warming and other such issues because they can count on the Republicans to keep courting the oil companies. In that sense everyone wins. The liberals can keep driving their cars and flying their jets and making speeches about how it isn’t their party that is Big Business or Big Oil why at the same time they don’t have to risk voter wrath or the wrath of these big company machines by actually making real and true changes to laws, etc. That is where I get frustrated by liberals who bash conservatives because it seems to me the liberal party is the one that gets to have their cake and eat it too. I haven’t seen the democratic party, when it is in control, make any significant inroads to the problems of our dependence on foreign oil or the way industries are affecting the environment. Sure, they have made small changes and do a good job talking them up to make them look like big changes, but lets be honest, we are in a huge crises in so many areas and those crises keep escalating and neither party is doing anything significant right now but jockeying for the next Presidential election.

            I don’t see this as a uniquely democratic or republican problem. I see it as a people problem. We have lost our way and our leaders are a reflection of that. We are a nation in debt up to our eyeballs, embroiled in the affairs of far too many other nations, and we spend millions if not billions of dollars every year greasing the wheels of the political machine in advertisements, pet projects that amount to nothing, artificially inflated government funded projects and this could go on and on and at its heart all of this ends up being about staying in power. I cannot imagine a more frustrating place to be than Washington D.C. for a new democrat, liberal or republican senator or representative who truly has great ideas and an interest in seeing this country return to some degree of greatness. I certainly don’t envy a one of them.

            I guess the bottom line is, taking it back to your global warming focus and an area in which I think we agree, if global warming is so important to the democratic party (as they proclaim it is) why haven’t they made any real and lasting changes to deal with this during the times that they have been in power? If I were a card-carrying liberal I would demand the creation of a tea-party-esque movement to hold the liberal politicians responsible for not delivering real and lasting change to match their verbal commitments to reduce global warming. When liberals get passionate about holding their own party’s feet to the fire the way that tea-party members have then I think you might actually see the dems doing something when it comes to the issues they proclaim matter to them.

          4. You’re completely right Carl, global warming is a problem for everyone. And you should notice that I started out the essay saying how disappointed I was in President Obama.

            But I can’t help but believe the common citizen would be more concerned with global warming if our leaders made it an issue. I think the Democrats are letting the topic slide and the Republicans are doing everything they can to actively avoid the issue. Probably the Democrats want to let it slide because they are afraid they’ll lose their seats in Congress if they push it. There is a two way street. The Congress does respond to public demands. Unfortunately, the public demands are pretty selfish, so Congress ends up catering to their whims as well as caving in to the demands of big money. We need a better system. That’s why we have the Occupy Wall Street movement. The 99% are realizing they are being forgotten.

          5. Don’t get me started on the Occupy Wall Street movement. Do a little digging in that and it is just another shell gamet: many people paid to be there representing unions and other special interests, others who have no real clue about why they are there and a number who seem to think that some communist style sharing of wealth is the answer to all their problems. I’m a little suspicious of anyone who has the time to sit around trying to disrupt the work day of businessmen and women who have a job to do. Our economy is built around investment. Even if you don’t like it, being a public nuisance isn’t the way to enact real change.

            If you look again you’ll see that I did acknowledge the fairness of your post and that you started with Obama, I just called you on it when I felt you drifting away from that in the comments and moving back into what I interpreted as the ol’ “its all the Republicans fault” line.

            I agree that the American people need to be more concerned about the ‘real’ issues our nation is facing, but they can hardly be blamed if their leaders aren’t concerned about them and if the media uses their vast expensive machine to churn out all the Jerry Springer type stories while paying little attention to the ones that matter. If we as people are easily swayed by group think then I wish someone with influence would start swaying us in a direction that takes us away from the daily grind of pointing fingers and playing politics as usual and would instead focus us on the exciting and real changes that brave individuals and forward thinking corporations are working on. If the government started getting behind some real innovators instead of pushing all the money to the same old special interest groups year after year, we might return to being a nation that lent money instead of borrowed it, that was on the cutting edge of scientific and technological discovery, a nation that spent as much money enhancing lives in other nations as we do destroying lives now.

            And it bears mentioning again here that for all my frustration and moaning I am proud to be an American. I love my nation. I don’t think either party has the exclusive ‘right’ answer. And I do think there are a number of talented and determined individuals in America that even now are spending their energy on the seemingly little but ultimately important job of taking their lives back. People are choosing to be more fiscally responsible and get themselves out of the bondage of massive credit card debt. People are learning to use their money wisely so that they can live content lives and actually have more money to feed into the economy by giving to others in need. People are demanding more from their government and are educating themselves about what is important and are finding ways to get involved. That is what we all need to do, as individuals.

            But as long as we keep listening to the half-truths that are spoken to us every day from politicians with a greater concern about their own ongoing employment than they are about real change, we won’t see a national change for the better. We just won’t.

          6. Carl, I don’t know why you’re not more sympathetic to the Occupy Wall Street folk. You talk about how our government is corrupted and here are people protesting that corruption. What’s not to like. Sure they aren’t very articulate, but then these are people who have been ignoring politics all their lives thinking the people in charge were looking out for their best interests and now they’ve discovered they aren’t. Now it’s time for a political education.

            Here’s a good start about how the corruption works.

          7. I don’t have any problem with the “idea” of the Occupy Wall Street movement but the reality of things like this generally bother me. And what bothers me about it is when I turn on the news and hear people talking about how they are doing their best to make sure the people who are trying to go to work cannot get in to work. Now this may be a minor incident and a few really controversial people who the news finds to interview, but I am not one who is big on making your frustrations known by hurting someone else in the process. Sure the big, big movers and shakers in these companies have screwed and are screwing people over big time. But the average Joe trying to go to work in the system shouldn’t have to endure an onslaught on abuse every day just to get to work.

            Additionally I get frustrated because these kind of movements, when investigated more deeply, turn out to have huge numbers of paid protesters and people in them to stir things up that don’t really and truly care about whatever issue is being protested. What they really have is their own agenda.

            So no, I don’t have the sympathy for it that I probably should.

            Bill, I don’t know what to say to you as we will never see things the same way. I have no problem complaining about my party. So I won’t argue about your assertions, one-sided as they are. I can’t support your assertions that democratic politicians are better. They just aren’t. The whole system is corrupt and off course. Not just part of it.

          8. I agree that the protesters can be silly, stupid, annoying and even law breakers. That’s how it was back in the 60s too. Abby Hoffman was an asshole with his street theater and pranks. But this movement will get its act together. Like the Tea Party, this is unrest for the liberals. Both ends of the political spectrum feel there is something wrong, and they are as mad as hell and can’t take it anymore. They just don’t know why things are wrong, or how to fix them, and it’s very frustrating for them. Carl, if you lost your job you might find their cause a lot more appealing. And I think they are starting to focus on the right issues. Big business, as personified by Wall Street, runs this country, and it’s not concerned with the average citizen but how the 1% can get richer. The 99% are realizing the 1% is benefiting and they are not even though we all share the same economic system.

    1. “We’ve had decades of leadership where one party or the other controlled the presidency and both houses and nothing changes.”

      I’m curious about this statement, Carl. Exactly when would that have been?

      True, George W. Bush had six years where Republicans firmly controlled all three branches of the federal government, but a lot changed. We got record-breaking budget deficits (instead of budget surpluses), two wars for no reason (and without raising taxes to pay for them), and a bubble in arcane financial instruments that ended with the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression.

      But in this “both sides are equally bad” meme, where’s the equivalent? Barack Obama had only two years where the Democrats controlled Congress (the Supreme Court remained solidly Republican), but note that Republicans in the Senate filibustered everything. For pretty much every vote, Democrats needed a super-majority to accomplish anything at all. This was not the case – ever – when the Republicans controlled the presidency.

      Bill Clinton likewise had only two years where the Democrats controlled Congress. Yeah, I suppose if you go back to Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Democrats pretty well controlled Washington, but you can hardly say that “nothing changed” back then!

      Besides, that far back, the Dixiecrats controlled the South. Those people are all Republicans now. (After the Democrats passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Republican Party made a concerted effort to appeal to white racists, and they quickly took the South. From being solidly Democratic, it’s become solidly Republican. But that means the racists are all pretty much in one party now.)

      Yeah, I get pretty disgusted with Democrats, too, but this “both sides are equally bad” meme is just flat out wrong. The problem with our political system in general is that money is critically important in elections these days. So even the Democrats can’t afford to make the wealthy – or corporate executives, now that the Supreme Court has decided that corporations are just “people,” too – unhappy.

      But there are real differences between the parties. Much as I get disgusted with the Democrats, there’s just no comparison with how bad the Republicans have been for America.

      And I agree with Jim. There’s no comparison with the Republican’s propaganda machine, either. Republicans deliberately try to destroy our trust in America’s government institutions, because as the party which is “anti-government,” they stand to benefit politically when we lose faith in America. And Republicans are deliberately anti-science, because science tells them what their supporters don’t want to hear.

      Democrats are far from perfect, but they’re not Republicans. And that makes them pretty darn good in comparison.

      1. I believe I mentioned the past several decades and in my opinion nothing has changed. We’ve been at war for the past several decades. The economy has been a concern for the past few decades. We’ve went from a nation of lenders to a nation of borrowers. Global warming and environmental issues have been a problem. Healthcare has been a problem for decades. And to me nothing has changed in regards to doing anything significant about these or many other issues from Reagan’s time onwards.

        Or maybe I should clarify that to say that things have gotten progressively worse, so in that sense they have changed. And I blame both parties equally for that as they both hide behind their rhetoric when things aren’t going their way. And things won’t get any better until the American public stops buying into the idea that either party is solely to blame.

        Dig a little deeper. For any of the things that have happened in government that we don’t like you’ll find members of both parties who have voted for them including not raising taxes, funding wars, etc.

        By your logic we can blame the Republicans for all the things that happened when Bush was in office but the democrats have an excuse for nothing significant being done during the two years Clinton and Obama had democratic congresses? I’m sorry but it cannot be both ways.

      2. Carl, you said we had “decades of leadership where one party or the other controlled the presidency and both houses” of Congress. I was just asking for clarification. After all, two years is not decades.

        And if you’ve paid any attention at all to recent history, you’ll know that, although the Democrats “controlled” the Senate – i.e. they had a majority – that didn’t do them much good in passing legislation, because the Republicans filibustered everything. This is not the way it was for the six years George W. Bush enjoyed a Republican Congress. (For all their faults, most Democrats at least try to put their country above partisan political considerations.)

        It’s also the case that the Democratic Party is quite diverse. Senator Ben Nelson, from my own state, is as conservative as any Republican. Indeed, he often joins Republican filibusters, and even more often, threatens to do so unless good legislation is weakened. Yes, as individuals, Democrats can be pretty bad, too.

        But this “both sides are at fault” meme is just a way of excusing the worst faults of the GOP. I have absolutely no problem with criticizing Democrats. They all deserve it some of the time, and some deserve it nearly all of the time. But there is a clear difference between the political parties.

        You can’t justifiably blame the Democratic Party for the disasters of recent decades. They haven’t been perfect, but they’ve been far more fiscally responsible than the Republicans. Remember when Dick Cheney said that “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter”? Deficits didn’t matter to Republicans until Barack Obama took office – and won’t again when they regain the presidency.

        And further back, there have been times when the Democratic Party did what was right, regardless of the political consequences. Just look at the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Democrats knew that they would lose the South, but they passed the bill anyway (with all of the “Dixiecrats” voting against it, but a Texas Democrat signing the bill). What did Republicans do? They initiated their “Southern strategy” of deliberately appealing to white racists.

        No one is perfect, and certainly no political party is perfect. But the Republicans have been a complete disaster for America, and there’s just nothing comparable on the side of the Democrats, not for decades. If we refuse to place the blame where it belongs, if we just shrug and say that “both sides” are at fault, then no one will ever be held accountable (and no one will get the credit for brave stands like the 1964 Civil Rights Act).

        Frankly, I can’t think of a better way of destroying our country than by deflecting blame and praise alike from where they truly belong. The worst of behavior is rewarded by this “both sides are at fault” meme.

        1. The worst of behavior is never “rewarded” by the idea of holding everyone in leadership responsible for the direction the country is taking. We should always be demanding more and better by the people we pay to represent us.

          Are you actually championing the idea that because democrats didn’t filibuster and allowed disastrous policies to go through during republican controlled administrations (not to mention the many that actually voted “for” them) that this somehow makes them better than the republicans who do? Are you championing inaction by the democratic party? I don’t see anything noble about the party giving sway to the republicans which is what I am reading into your statements. What I read in your statements is that the republicans have actually gotten things done and that you are not happy about what those things are nor the way in which they got them done. If that is the case, why aren’t liberal democrats demanding that their leaders learn how to step up and get things done? Why aren’t you demanding that Bill? Are you really and truly happy with the democratic party? Are you really and truly happy that in two years of the Obama Administration that little of substantive value has occurred in the areas in which Obama promised change? Leave off making excuses for a minute and leave off the blame and explain to me how you could possibly want to defend what you’ve got in the way of leadership?

          What I am hearing (perhaps wrongly) is that you want to blame republicans for most of our woes. I want to blame them all. You seem to keep turning this discussion back on me as if I am championing republican politics and all I have been saying the entire time is that everyone, republican and democrat, has the right and I believe the duty to be outraged at where our country is at and should demand swift and decisive action to change the course of this nation rather than spending billions of dollars and most of their efforts on political gamesmanship and jockeying for re-election.

          If it helps you feel better I’ll be more than happy to (and already have) accept all your statements about what republicans have done wrong. But to somehow paint the democrats as any better either by championing their inability to get anything done or by saying they are better sports for not standing in the republicans’ way is something I cannot get behind.

          I’m equally unhappy with the way things are and don’t feel that many of our leaders over the past several elections have been anything to write home about. It went from picking the worst of two evils with Bush and Gore to picking the supposed “savior” of our nation who just turns out to be all talk and little action.

          I’m not willing to champion or give credit to either of these political parties. I’ve said before that I think there are good, honorable and well meaning individuals in each party (and the other minor ones) but the parties themselves have lost their way. I’m even willing to believe that President Obama is well meaning and truly desires to see positive, lasting change in our nation.

          If democrats have something they believe in then it is time to stand up and fight for it, not blame republicans and take an “oh woe is me” stand about how it is the republicans’ fault that democrats can never get anything done whenever they get control of the presidency and both houses. Not to mention the times they’ve had control of both houses when they haven’t had the presidency.

      3. Carl, I just think that if you’re holding everyone responsible, then you’re really holding no one responsible. If you don’t analyze responsibility more closely, then you let those who are most responsible escape from any consequences. After all, according to you, they’re just like everyone else, right?

        How do you really expect things to improve if you don’t distinguish between degrees of responsibility? When you tar everyone with the same brush, what does that accomplish, except to provide cover to the worst offenders?

        Many Democrats went along with those disastrous Republican policies, and I’m not happy about that. Some of them went along because they were conservative themselves (unlike the GOP, the Democratic Party contains liberals, moderates, and conservatives). Some of them went along because they feared opposing a popular program. They were just cowards.

        There were other reasons, too. But the point is that Democrats acted as individuals. Those who were wrong, were wrong. But by and large, those weren’t Democratic policies which were wrong, they were Republican policies. Of course, Democratic policies have definitely been wrong, too. But they weren’t that disastrously wrong, not even close.

        Re. filibustering, constant filibusters are destroying our system of government. I don’t want the Democrats doing that. Republicans are destroying America’s institutions because they’re identified as the “anti-government” party. Remember “government is the problem”? Anything they can do to destroy our faith in our own government helps them politically. So they do it. No matter what it does to our country. The end justifies the means, right?

        It would not help the Democrats politically to do that, but I wouldn’t want them to do it even if it did! I already pointed out one example of Democrats doing what was right, rather than what was politically beneficial. So why would I want them to put politics over the good of the country now?

        Of course, I think they should have filibustered more than they did. And I’m certainly not happy at those Democrats who went along with Bush’s policies. But just as there are degrees of wrong, so should there be degrees of blame. And I’d say there’s no question at all of who has done more damage to America in recent years (indeed, in recent decades).

        Well, I imagine that we’ll never agree. And the fact is, there aren’t many Democrats I really like. But I’m still willing to recognize degrees of error. Yeah, murderers and jaywalkers are both law-breakers. But if you shrug and say that means they’re exactly the same, well,… I just can’t agree with that.

        1. I always feel you are putting words in my mouth and not reading what I write but rather what you want to hear. I never said there weren’t degrees of responsibility. I just believe that both parties need to be held responsible. Arguing about who is most at fault is counterproductive when both are at fault.

          The only way our governmental system can work is if a majority of both sides agree to set aside party differences and work together. It is a system based on teamwork. It is not a system that will thrive or survive if one group repeatedly lords it over the other. By your own admission the republicans have proven that in recent years. But I’m not willing to give the democrats a free pass because of some mistaken idea that they are being noble and not using the rules built into the system to stand up for what they believe in and work to find common ground. I’m holding the entire group responsible for their inability to work together. I don’t find that a foolish expectation. The democrats blew a perfect opportunity to find some common ground with republicans after Obama’s sweeping victory when they made Nancy Pelosi the leader of the congress. Instead of choosing a charismatic leader with some skill in getting diverse people to sit down and work things out, they picked a venomous, party-first leader. And it cost them dearly. The republicans did the same thing back when they chose Newt Gingrich.

          There have been political leaders, ones with plenty of faults, over the years who have had the ability to at least bridge gaps and inspire. Ronald Reagan was one of those. As was Bill Clinton. They made mistakes and it can be argued by pundits and the common man alike that we are suffering today because of decisions they made. So be it, you could argue that about nearly every leader. But the group we have had under Bush and so far Obama have not done anything to try to bring the country together. Oh they talk well and put forth good platforms, but I believe our leaders as a group need to be held accountable for the results of their actions.

          I won’t make excuses for dems or reps about what they have inherited from those who’ve gone before. It’s a mess. They have been hired to fix the mess and instead they fight with each other rather than come together to find workable solutions. I won’t argue about who is more wrong when they are both wrong. Don’t you find that silly? Murderers and jay-walkers are indeed different animals. But congressmen and congresswomen aren’t. They are in the same room working for the same nation with the same set of rules. Just because one pulls the trigger doesn’t mean that those who stood by and did nothing are free of guilt.

          I guess in the end I don’t see what you have to gain by the belief that only republicans should be held accountable for this mess that the country is in. Or at the very least if they should be held accountable then how can you also not want to hold the democrats accountable for doing little of substantive value to fix it, especially during the times they held power. If the democratic party is so ineffective that a minority of republicans can block anything they want to do, don’t you want to somehow stand up and demand a stronger and more effective democratic party? And don’t you want republicans to stand up and demand that their leaders quit pointing fingers and instead try to find common ground?

          I’ve been at something of a loss during this entire conversation as to what your agenda is. The post started out as a legitimate question as to why something has not been done about global warming and it is a question that I think can be asked about any issue one wants to put forth. Democrats came out en masse to elect Barack Obama and a majority democratic congress. They didn’t cast their votes to see the party be ineffective and I cannot imagine pointing fingers at the republicans and saying “they don’t play fair” is very comforting to all the people who are currently disillusioned any more than it is when the roles are reversed and republicans whine that things would be better if the democrats just got out of the way.

          If you want to only hold one group accountable then at the very least you should be thrilled at my stance. I want to hold them all accountable, which means that includes the very group you seem to want to place the blame on. I am a conservative Christian republican who has long been unhappy with republican leadership. But I’m no threat, I’m just one person who, despite all this jabbering, has little interest in politics. What I am interested in is this nation returning to greatness and the only way I see that getting close to happening is if democrats and republicans work together. And if they cannot, then I say scrap the lot and get the next group in and see if they can learn to work together. As long as we keep paying folks a salary to spend their days arguing and pointing fingers and making little change, do we really think anything worthwhile is going to be accomplished? I don’t care who is pointing fingers more often or who is cooperative less often. I want it to stop on both sides.

      4. << "The only way our governmental system can work is if a majority of both sides agree to set aside party differences and work together. It is a system based on teamwork.

        Carl, we’re clearly talking past each other. You don’t understand what I’m saying, and I clearly don’t understand you. The above statement is a perfect example.

        Barack Obama has bent over backward trying to appease Republicans. In fact, it’s become a joke at how eager he is to get along with people who have absolutely no desire to get along with him.

        And Congressional Democrats have been just as eager to compromise. But Republicans see compromise as treason. Remember that Republican presidential debate where not one candidate would agree to compromise with the Democrats even if they got ten times what the Democrats got out of it? That was the question, if they would even compromise on a 10 to 1 advantage. None would.

        So how can you even say such a thing and then turn around and blame both sides? Apparently, we live in different universes, huh?

        No politician is going to be perfect. If you expect perfection, you’ll never get anything you want. But if you consider that all imperfection is equal, well, then it’s just like seeing no difference between a murderer and a jaywalker. There are degrees of error, degrees of responsibility.

        I criticize Democrats often enough. Certainly, they deserve it. But by and large, they didn’t cause this mess we’re in today. They’re not dragging their feet at trying to find solutions (note that it’s to the Republicans’ political advantage that our economy not be fixed). And they’ve been bending over backward trying to find common ground with Republicans, but getting nothing in return.

        I say again that, when you hold everyone responsible – instead of those people who really are responsible – then you’re really holding no one responsible. By doing that, you’re rewarding bad behavior.

        And that’s exactly why Republicans are doing it, because there’s no downside for them. It’s politically advantageous for them to keep America’s system of government as broken as possible and to keep the economy in the toilet. And that will continue to be the case until they’re held accountable for that.

        Apparently, we’re never going to agree here. You don’t understand me, and I don’t understand you. Welcome to today’s America, huh? 🙂

        1. “Apparently, we’re never going to agree here. You don’t understand me, and I don’t understand you”

          I can certainly agree with that! 🙂

          I just can’t see the logic. If I agree that we should only hold the republicans responsible, how does that work? Vote a majority of them out of office? Good. Done. Now what? We’ve done that before and in two year stints the democrats don’t get anything major accomplished. Why? In your estimation that is because republicans are evidently superheros who have all the control whether they are the majority in the government or the minority. I look at what you are saying and I see a no-win situation. And my argument if I was a card carrying democrat would be that if my elected leaders get a majority and cannot get anything done on the issues that are important to me: global warming, alternative energy, etc. then I’m going to throw them out and get some democrats who are as effective as you seem to think the republicans are.

          I don’t expect perfection. I don’t expect anything to change quite frankly. But what I think we should demand from our government is that they work together and that results follow and if not then we elect people to take their place and keep doing so until both parties finally “get it”. As long as they can keep getting paid a salary to hold party lines and effect no positive change, why would they ever do so? Hell, that has to be a dream job, getting paid to be contrary every day while ducking any risky decision making. Where do I sign up?

          I just don’t get your defense of a system where this conversation happens:

          “Why didn’t you get any of the things you promised done this term?”

          “Well, the Republicans controlled the majority of the government and we couldn’t get anything passed.”

          Years pass…

          “Hey, you’re back and now you have the majority, how come you didn’t get any of the things you promised done this term?”

          “Well, yes, there are more of us but the Republicans didn’t play fair and so we couldn’t get anything done.”

          Please. If that is acceptable then America is doomed.

          If I was a traditional republican I would be thrilled to death at your stance. You don’t advocate for any real change in the democratic party nor do you want to hold ineffective democrats responsible for their ineffectiveness because it is easier to blame republicans. And also by your statements the republicans win no matter what. That should thrill me. But sadly it doesn’t because I believe that the whole lot of them (as a group) are responsible. You keep wanting to use analogies where the players are two different things, murderers and jaywalkers. They are not two different things. They are all politicians hired to do a job. If one is doing it better than the other but both are doing it badly there is nothing to be gained by only confronting the one who is doing it “more” badly. That doesn’t even make any sense.

          If the democrats got positive changes done when they were in the majority and then the republicans undid all that when they gained the majority I would be right there with you. But that doesn’t happen. What is an acceptable excuse for the democrats’ ineffectiveness? I say there IS NONE.

          And please remember once again that I am not making ANY excuse for the republicans nor am I advocating granting them any exceptions.

      5. Carl, who said that Democrats haven’t gotten anything done? When Barack Obama took office, this economic collapse looked to have no bottom. The Democrats stopped the crash in its tracks. No, it wasn’t perfect. The stimulus wasn’t big enough to grow the economy. But they stopped the free fall, and that ain’t nothing.

        Democrats have been campaigning on health care reform for decades, and they got that passed, too. Yes, it’s a very conservative plan. It’s a Republican plan, developed in right-wing think tanks in the 1990s, so it doesn’t go nearly far enough. But it makes a big difference to millions of people (and lowers the deficit). Just because it isn’t perfect, that doesn’t make it nothing.

        The Democrats passed the bill establishing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, too. That doesn’t do everything, but it does a great deal to protect consumers and to help prevent another economic collapse. Perfect? No, but it’s a big step forward.

        True, the Democrats haven’t done as much as I wished, but who should I blame? The people who tried and failed, or the people who prevented good things from getting done, just because of their own political ambition? (That includes a few Democrats, like my own senator, but nearly all Republicans.)

        On the other hand, what did the Republicans do when they held power for six years? (Note that one thing they didn’t do was make abortion illegal. What, and lose all those single-issue voters?)

        No, what they did was slash taxes on the wealthiest Americans, increasing our deficit by trillions of dollars. What they did was start two wars, for no good reason, without raising taxes to pay for them (for the first time in our history), and without an exit strategy. Yeah, there’s another couple of trillion dollars to the deficit,… so far.

        Oh, and one war was against a completely innocent – though oil-rich – country on the flimsiest of excuses that turned out to be a complete lie. Yeah, but that war was was supposed to “pay for itself” (another lie).

        Republicans on the Supreme Court, besides giving us George W. Bush, overturned long-standing precedent to decide that corporations were just people, too – and could give unlimited amounts of their shareholders’ money to legally buy politicians, anonymously. Well, heaven forbid that the shareholders know how their money was being spent, or the corporation’s customers, either.

        Republicans in state legislatures are busy trying to disenfranchise Democratic-leaning voters – up to 5 million of them – through restrictive voter fraud laws, without the slightest evidence there’s any actual problem here. (In fact, the Bush administration fired their Justice Department prosecutors who wouldn’t go along with such a purely political move.) The lack of evidence indicates that this is nothing but a cynical move to keep people from voting.

        Republicans have become completely anti-science. I was just reading that 30 years ago, 40% of U.S. scientists were Republicans. Now, after the Republican war on science, it’s down to 6%. (Apparently, scientists didn’t just shrug and say that “both sides” are to blame.)

        Are you still sure you see no differences here? How many examples do you want? There are plenty of Democrats I’d like to replace with different Democrats. But that doesn’t mean I see no difference between Democrats and Republicans.

        I say again that, when you place the blame on everyone, you’re actually blaming no one. If you don’t place more blame on the worst people, you’re just giving them a free pass. After all, why shouldn’t they behave like that when the voters just shrug and say “both parties” are at fault? Where’s the penalty for extremism then?

        No, I don’t understand you at all, Carl. And as far as you not being a “traditional Republican,” you sound pretty traditional to me. Or does that mean you’ll be voting for Democrats, now that the GOP has gone completely off the deep end? My complaint is that the Democrats are too conservative, that they agree too much with Republicans. Is that yours, too?

        You say you’re a conservative. Does that mean you like what Republicans are doing? What does it mean to be a conservative these days? Obviously, it doesn’t mean supporting the Constitution. It certainly doesn’t mean fiscal conservatism. (Tax cuts for the rich – and to hell with the deficit – is not fiscally conservative.) So what does it mean?

        You don’t like my comparison of jaywalkers and murderers, so I’ll give you a different one. One guy pulls a gun and murders an innocent person. The other guy tries to prevent the murder and fails, perhaps through his own incompetence. Are they both at fault then? Do you see no difference between them?

        1. Well I’m largely referring to the initial question of this post which was why the Obama Administration has not gotten anything significant done in regards to global warming, so that is where most of my ‘not getting anything done’ comments have come in to play, and by inference other issues like alternative energy and other things that play into the global warming issue.

          I don’t see anything traditional about wanting to throw the whole gang out, republicans and democrats alike if they don’t start making headway on the issues that matter. And to be honest had Hilary Clinton been the Democratic nominee for President rather than Obama, my heart and mind were both leaning towards voting for her. I think she would have been a formidable force and I think she would have made better choices in key positions that would have seen more republicans willing to play ball with democrats. I know that is simply an opinion based on little fact, but that is the way I felt. I was disappointed she didn’t get the nod.

          And I’m sorry but you are never going to win me over (though I doubt that is your intention) with arguments about the republicans getting us into needless wars. I agree. I agree with almost all of your assertions about what the republicans did wrong when they were in control. I am just not willing to give a free pass to democrats (many of whom voted for these wars, etc. too) nor am I willing to give them a free pass because of some ideological belief that democrats are some noble beings who don’t resort to filibusters, etc. Whether or not the economy is any better off than it was two years ago is arguable. It all depends on whose version of it you choose to listen to. I don’t think the hard evidence shows improvement. But I also think it is unfair to expect a quick turnaround to a massive problem. What bothers me is that every time I turn on the news I hear arguing and not solutions. I hear political speak and not action. And I listen to NPR exclusively by the way, lest you think I get my news from right wing sources.

          And we are about to enter that dreaded election season where billions of dollars will be spent in manipulation and image creation, lies and convenient truths (yes, I’m speaking of the dreaded political ads) where instead of energy and funds being diverted to real worthwhile change, we will get more politics as usual.

          The republicans don’t have the answers. And I don’t believe the democrats have proved that they do either. But as Americans I believe there are answers to be had and if our system was changed somehow in some way that created less avenues for politics as usual and more avenues for cooperative problem solving then I would be excited to see what might be accomplished. I’ll vote in the coming elections. And when the time comes I’ll vote on the issues that I feel matter and for the person(s) that I feel are the best choice. My gut tells me this will be another election of picking the better of two evils and that makes my heart sick. But I will continue in my belief that by not holding our leaders accountable (and the only way we do that is by not giving them another 2-4 years of salary by voting them out of office) we will never get anywhere.

          And before I sign off on yet another wordy response. Geez! I need to shut up already. I consider myself conservative because I don’t believe abortion because a person was too lazy to use birth control is okay. Nor do I believe my tax dollars should pay for it. I don’t believe the government should get so big that it has to assume control of every area of our lives. I believe in small business and I believe in the capitalist system WITH regulation. I believe God is important and faith does play a role (albeit a minor one for me in comparison to the stereotypical Christian conservative). I’ve said before, I believe in conversation with you and James, that I am not for raising taxes. I’m for fiscal responsibility. I want to see the government use my tax money responsibly before I agree to the idea that they can have more of it. I don’t think funding needless wars is responsible. I don’t think loaning money to other nations when we are in debt is responsible. I don’t think turning our businesses away from America is responsible. And if you want to blame all that on the republicans that is fine. My answer will always be “yes, but what have the democrats done to fix it when they hold the cards?”

          And finally I will ask that if we continue this conversation, which I am enjoying by the way and do sincerely hope you know that I mean no disrespect, would you please stop giving me lessons on what the republicans are doing wrong. I’ve never once asserted in this post that they are doing anything right. And statements like:

          “Does that mean you like what Republicans are doing?” make no sense to me because if you actually read what I am writing I’ve said over and over and over and over again that I am all for holding the republicans responsible and have registered my unhappiness with BOTH parties. I am sorry that you don’t like that I dislike both parties EQUALLY, but I just do.

      6. (Hmm,… looks like I didn’t close my italics. Maybe this will help? I really wish there was a preview for comments here.)

        Well, Carl, we weren’t getting very far on generalities, so I thought I’d try specifics. That was my point with those “lessons.” We were, after all, comparing political parties.

        When it comes to those specifics, it looks like we agree on some things but disagree on others. No surprise there, I guess.

        I was never strongly Democratic, but as time goes on, and I see the Republicans getting worse and worse, I simply look to Democrats as the alternative. In our system of government, since we’re not a parliamentary system, minor parties make no sense. And there is absolutely no chance I’ll choose the GOP.

        Honestly, I don’t see anything the Republicans are doing or have done right. I can’t think of a single issue where I agree with them, not one. Democrats may be maddening, they may be timid and waffling and too conservative,… but they’re not as bad as the Republicans (although my own senator, Ben Nelson, comes pretty close).

        When it comes to global warming specifically, neither party is very good (because we Americans don’t want to sacrifice anything in the short-term, no matter what it will do over the long-term). But Democrats don’t deny the science, at least. Again, Democrats may not be great, but at least they’re not as bad as the Republicans.

        Republicans have become entirely faith-based, not evidence-based. Note that I don’t mean their religion, since both parties are solidly Christian. But I’d say that faith is the wrong way to determine the truth about anything,… and these days, that seems to be the way Republicans determine everything.

        I wasn’t 100% happy with what Bill Clinton did as president (certainly not that he couldn’t keep his pants zipped), but at least he’d started paying off the deficit from previous Republican presidents. But George W. Bush was a complete disaster for America.

        And the thing is, he wasn’t an aberration. He was the darling of the religious right, the Republican base. Heck, Rick Perry is about as close as you can get to a George W. Bush clone. If anything, the Republican Party is even loonier today than it was then.

        Barack Obama, in contrast, has been perfectly sensible. Do you know how refreshing it is to have a rational president again? That said, I’m disappointed in his performance. He’s been so eager to get along with Republicans – and note that this is what you said you wanted, right? – that he’s bent over backward trying to appease them. And he hasn’t used the bully pulpit of the presidency as I’d hoped he would.

        Still, I’m just astonished that you could think both parties equally bad. Hey, that’s entirely your right. I don’t understand it, but reasonable people can disagree.

        1. “because we Americans don’t want to sacrifice anything in the short-term, no matter what it will do over the long-term”

          Boy isn’t that the truth. And over the last few years I’ve made big changes in my own life along those lines. Figured I couldn’t point fingers without being willing to practice what I preach. I think that short term viewpoint is a big part of the problem of our political system. I sometimes wish there were term limits for Congress because I think if they didn’t have to spend their time worrying about re-election that maybe they would cherish the time they have and do the most they could with it.

          While I don’t consider myself a fan of Barack Obama, I have often said I don’t envy the man’s job. He took the job with so many considering him the ‘savior’ after Bush. That is a no-win situation. I do think he actually was hurt by the choice of Pelosi and he has hurt himself by being too accommodating. Now lest you think I am going back on my cooperation theme, I do think a new leader needs to establish leadership before beginning to work with the opposite side and offer olive branches. It is saying something when even democrats are frustrated with his ‘bending over backwards’ as you say (and I agree with) to republicans. Even that could have not been as big a deal if he hadn’t been saddled with someone as divisive as Pelosi. I’m sorry the democrats didn’t seize the day with a charismatic and teamwork inspiring choice to lead the Senate. Again, this is just my opinion of what I saw.

          1. I think our political system is so polarized that we’re not going to see any cooperation. I think we’ll need to change the system radically before we will. Term limits would be a good start. Finding ways to keep the rich from buying the laws they want would be another. I no longer think our government is representational – at least not of the whole population. Special interests with money have too much influence. I’m thinking the only way around that is to require more referendums.

            What we need is bullet-proof electronic voting. They need to establish a reliable way to identify voters so they can be validated yet make their votes private. I think we should have unique phone numbers for all citizens, so we could vote by phone. It’s possible for special interest groups to influence 535 congressmen, but they couldn’t corrupt millions of votes. If more laws were decided by referendums more people would get involved with politics and civics.

          2. I’m with you all the way, James, on your “polarized” comment. There does need to be radical change, which is really where my “holding every accountable” train of thinking heads. I think it has been a long, long time since our government has been representational of the majority of the people. This will be a very generalized statement, but my feelings are that the representatives of our government generally come from an upper class position either because of family fortunes and fame or because they come from the working force (lawyers, etc) that are generally from a higher economic class. I don’t know about you, but the few rich friends I have quickly lose any idea of what it is like to be a “working paycheck to paycheck” person and I never feel that folks like that can truly represent the majority of the people who have to work hard and sacrifice and save and pray for a bit of luck to survive, let alone get ahead.

            Add to this the special interests that have the kind of money and power to influence that the common man could never hope to have.

            And I agree that there needs to be not only a better system of voting but something that wakes people up to how important voting is. The sad thing is that any kind of super effective system: something that used our fingerprints or DNA or something would freak so many people out because of their worries about “Big Brother” that it would probably drive even more people away from voting.

        2. My views align pretty much with yours Bill. I’m a little more forgiving of Republicans in general because I think many rational people are still part of the party, but I’m afraid the irrational Republicans have taken control. As you have told me Bill, it’s unfair to judge the group as all believing the same thing, but the public face of the Republican party has been so narrowly defined by themselves that I’m willing to assume anyone calling themselves a Republican also embrace their public platform. And I hate their standard platform.

          I’m surprised that two things haven’t happened. One, I would think the rational Republicans would flee the party and start another one. Or I’d expect to see a civil war within the GOP. How can the rational Republicans stomach being associated with the crazy members? If I was a Republican I’d be embarrass to claim any of their candidates that show up at those debates. Mitt Romney seems like the only normal person and he’s so pandering to the whims of the party crazies that I couldn’t trust him. Obama might not be an effective leader but at least he seems like a well educated normal human being.

    2. I agree Jim. I know that I’m just being crotchety about the Wall Street movement and am willing to try to walk in the shoes of others in terms of not being so negative about it. I have often said with other movements that it is the more vocal and negative that get all the press and that we shouldn’t judge groups by this behavior (Fred Phelps comes to mind as an extreme that I don’t think all Christians should be judged by). So you are correct and I was being short sighted. There are people there for the right reasons. I guess my real concern is that mob mentality that seems to go along with protests, but Martin Luther King and others since his time have proven that the mob mentality can be overcome with good leadership.

      And I agree wholeheartedly that greed is rampant and big businesses, or more particularly those big business leaders who pay themselves way too much and screw up people’s retirement and what have you deserve to be vilified and there should be rules to prevent them from doing so.

      I am not, as some 99%ers seem to be, against the rich. I do still believe in the system of capitalism, I just think it has to be regulated to curb abuses. And I don’t believe many democrats or republicans really and truly want that regulation. The republicans get the blame for it because they are openly big business and small government, but the politicians on the democratic side are also among the wealthy and influential elite and they are not any more aggressive when it comes to making sweeping changes.

  9. All todays politicians will fail to pass if required to pass a 50% sciences licensing
    Examinations to qualify to run any political position.

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