Friday, September 09, 2011

political parties and thier opposing views

This post is prompted by a conversation I've been having with a friend on facebook, but which I'll elaborate and extend here. The basic premise of our conversation was a discussion about a thought I had--that the stimulus and the surge were litmus tests for how one perceives each administration.  Why? Because generally people who don't think "The Surge" was a success do credit "The Stimulus" as a success and vice versa--"The Surge" WAS a success, but "The Stimulus" was not.

Why? Because each "side" uses two different definitions of "success". If you define "success" as "accomplished the mission it set out to accomplish" then the Surge wasn't a success because the purpose of the surge wasn't to "bring Iraq from the brink of collapse to relative peace" but to create an environment in which to allow a political solution to Iraqi's sectarian divisions. In this case, it was not a success. See Stephen Walt's take here.

Now, if you look at the stimulus, the "purpose" was also two-fold: to stimulate the economy, but also to avoid an utter economic disaster. Things aren't good, but they would have been a hell of a lot worse without the stimulus...but one can never prove a negative.

My point? Only that if you credit to one "success" based upon any good that comes of it, intended or otherwise, they're both equally "successful". If you credit them with "success" in terms of achieving the goal as defined when undertaken, they're both equally failures. Has either one been a "resounding success"? No. Has either been an "utter failure"? No. But depending upon how one views either president, I would venture to guess that's how one also views the success or failure of his primary endeavour.

Now, I would also like to posit another "difference" between the two political ideologies. In listening to them lately, I think the terms liberal or conservative no longer apply. We still use them, but they're so amorphous as to be useless.  I would say that the difference between the two parties could be described as this:
  • Democrats focus on addressing the actual problem (ie. unemployment, poverty, education) while not addressing the cause and do so without much attention paid to ideology behind their efforts. 
  • Republicans focus on implementing their ideology (ie. smaller government, cut taxes, free markets) while not considering the practical effects of their ideology.
What does this lead to? It leads to Democrats constantly creating programs that never address the root cause of the issues they're trying to fix.  It leads to Republicans constantly attempting to implement programs that in practice have disastrous effects on class stratification and the economy, but more completely implement their ideology.

Somewhere, there are politicians who understand the two are not mutually synonymous (one of whom, in my opinion, occupies the Oval Office)...but they're a dying breed.


Post a Comment

<< Home