Admittedly, there’s a part of me that is fascinated by the debate and wants to see what happens when the insane, math averse side of the Republican Party throws its weight around. Will its funders, or the supporters of the GOP, enjoy the US willingly reliquishing its economic authority?
The Dems don’t seem to have any counter balancing organization. They’ve been held hostage by “realism” and are perhaps frightened by the economic and political power of the class that funds elections.
The question I’m considering is how are parties supposed to govern? One is the politics of vindication. One side gets complete control, or seeks complete control, and destroys the system enough to manipulate it permanently. Politics is fundamentally about winning and holding power. It seems that the Republicans are fundamentally opposed to the Democrats wielding any kind of power.
But vindication can come through coercion or through mutual sympathy. When we elect leaders, we don’t merely elect representatives, but we elect people who can make hard decision. We do not vote for someone who always feels the way we do, but, through access to a wider variety of relationships with people representing institutions, can make better decisions than the everyday voter. Ideology can be take a backbench to relationships based on trust. And this is a crucial aspect of good governance.
One friend remarked, “what we need is to set term limits on everyone.” I disagree. Politics is a learned discipline. It requires a soft touch, an intuitive sense of human relationships, and an ability to bring together the private and the public that take a long time to learn. Term limits don’t diminish greed, but may exacerbate it as job seekers may be even more inclined to trade conscience for guaranteed work upon retirement.
One of the greater issues may be that our country has become more balkanized. The extraordinarily wealthy do not engage the poor, but may be sheltered from them in a way that has never previously been possible. Rural and urban America remains divided; the non-religious remain flummoxed by how religious values get mediated in the secular sphere. Until we are able to occasionally diminish our need for certainty for the good, we will remain unable to make the necessary decisions to keep our government working.
However, what might be the case is that the current Republicans are ideologically opposed to a working government, and are disinterested in a functioning economy as long as Obama is president.
One thought on “The Debt Ceiling”
Because I work in politics, I want to thank you for noting that “politics is a learned discipline.” People too often yearn for pure amateurs — but are usually poorly served by the unseasoned. There’s a learning curve, especially in legislatures whose trajectory is destroyed by short term limits. When legislators don’t have experience, we are ruled by lobbyists.