Friday, April 8, 2011

The Country With Two Brains

[I acknowledge that this is a bit of an echo of yesterday's post. But as the evidence mounts and, as Ben Bailey likes to say, the stakes get higher, it bears more and more repetition.]

People will interpret this in various ways. Still, it's not at all surprising to me that there's a huge difference between Ds and Rs when it comes to political negotiation; specifically, on the issue of budget compromise:

According to the poll, 68 percent of self-identified Democrats, as well as 76 percent of political independents, say they want Democratic leaders in the House and Senate to make compromises to gain consensus in the current spending debate.

By comparison, 56 percent of self-identified Republicans — and 68 percent of Tea Party supporters — want GOP leaders to stick to their position, even if it means the inability to achieve consensus. Read the full poll here (.pdf)

As I've said time and again, in their makeup Democrats and Republicans differ fundamentally. It's about reality-based thinking, open-mindedness, seeing the other guy's point of view, having empathy. Characteristics, all of them, of Ds. Not of Rs -- most especially teabaggRs. And, since the most fundamental tenet of democracy is compromise, one might consider which party actually believes in what America is all about, and which doesn't. At the edges, perhaps neither party does; but in their cores, there's no question that Democrats are the ones more willing to find a way.

Now, you can argue -- and Rs will, of course -- that it's about weakness and toughness, with the latter being the more desirable trait. Democrats are always at a disadvantage in negotiations: the more critical the impact of impasse, the more damage it would inflict, the more the Republicans will dig in, knowing that Ds will feel the pain of others. It's very much an unfair fight. Strong, maybe. But destructive.

The toxicity doubles and redoubles when you consider that those same people least willing to compromise are also those most resistant to fact, and most susceptible to disinformation. I give lots of credit to Paul Ryan for having come up with a plan that forces serious discussion. But given the preceding -- and the facts, as they accumulate like lint in a belly-button, that his numbers simply don't add up and are based on impossible assumptions -- it's hard to imagine that the R side of any discussion will be forthright. Fair enough to consider Ryan's plan, with its cuts in help for the needy while further lowering taxes on the wealthy, a starting point. But does anyone think it won't also be the R end point? (Question: how much devastation from cuts in social programs, research, education, and infrastructure would it take for teabaggRs to consider increasing revenue? Followup question: when/if that time comes, will it be too late?)

[Unsurprising related fact: Fox "news" lied about the results of the above poll. In other breaking news, the sun rose in the East.]

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