It’s time to seek some middle ground

November 3, 2010


Can we all get along?

The words are, of course, Rodney King’s, spoken 18 years ago as rioters burned the city of Los Angeles in his name. “Can we all get along?” he asked in a breaking voice as he pleaded for the violence to stop.

The nation seemed to find the question unbearably earnest, like when a child stumps you with an imponderable so guileless and true that you duck it because there’s no way to answer honestly and leave her innocence intact.

So King’s words quickly bypassed serious consideration. They became national punch line and catchphrase, wielded always with ironic detachment and post-modern emotional remove. It was not a question you wanted to allow in too close, much less one you sought to grapple honestly. You feared what the answer might be.

Can we all get along?

Eighteen years later, as a grueling election caps a long national temper tantrum, King’s question feels freshly poignant. We have seen windows smashed, assault weapons at presidential speeches, shouting matches at town hall meetings, death threats against the president’s kids, outbursts in the very halls of Congress, and brother can you spare a dime, ’cause jobs are hard to find. Meanwhile, the chattering heads on a certain cable news outlet chanted a litany of fears like some perverse echo of Dorothy on the road to Oz — Mexicans, Muslims and gays, oh my!

Sometimes it feels as if the whole country is on an express train to Crazy Town.

Can we all get along?

On Saturday, political satirists Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert held a rally on the National Mall in Washington. For weeks leading up to the event, pundits attempted to divine its intent, to figure out what political cause it would help or hurt. Stewart, habitually disingenuous as comics tend to be when you impute serious motives to their shtick, repeatedly deflected the notion that he was out for more than laughs.

But he was. Indeed, in both its comedy bits and its musical interludes, the Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear (that last a nod to Colbert’s TV persona as an overbearing conservative blowhard) scarcely missed an opportunity to drive home its points. Namely, that political dialogue in this country is out of control, stoked to fever pitch by politicians and media figures who’ve found a formula for elective, fiscal and ratings success in exploiting the nation’s legitimate fears and philosophical differences.

With a callous disregard that belies their periodic professions of country love, they have sold twin lies: that political identity matters more than national identity and that the louder and more insistently you say a thing, the truer it becomes. But as Stewart pointed out, “If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.”

He fell back on an analogy he has used before, that of drivers merging from nine lanes down to two in order to enter one of the tunnels carrying traffic in and out of Manhattan. That simple act of disparate strangers taking turns so that everybody gets home safely represented, said Stewart, the “little reasonable compromises we all make.” It was, he argued, the truest picture of who we really are, as opposed to the shouting matches between political extremes we’ve been led to regard as representative of us.

Squeezing through the impenetrable mass of people who had flooded the Mall, you had to believe Stewart had tapped a nerve, identified a constituency heretofore ignored. And their message is simple: Sane people speaking sane thoughts sanely may not make for good television. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

Can we all get along?

For what it’s worth, Rodney King answered his own question that day in 1992. “We’re all stuck here for a while,” he said. “Let’s try to work it out.”

— Leonard Pitts Jr., winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, is a columnist for the Miami Herald. He chats with readers from noon to 1 p.m. CDT each Wednesday on www.MiamiHerald.com. lpitts@miamiherald.com


CorkyHundley 7 years, 7 months ago


The Dude was just trying "to get along" when he rammed Obamacare down people's throat.

The Dude was just trying "to get along" when he took over GM

Pitts is such a race baiter. I guess he wouldn't be the darling of liberals if he wasn't always stoking the "my race is better than your race" fire.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

"The Dude was just trying "to get along" when he rammed Obamacare down people's throat."

Actually, that's precisely what he was trying to do. He could have gone for a single payer/Medicare for all, which is what the majority of people in this country had wanted. Instead, he chose to build on the existing, employer/insurance company-based system.

And when the Republicans chose to do nothing, he still moved rightward, to what has come to be now called "Obamacare."

"The Dude was just trying "to get along" when he took over GM"

I disagree with the way that was handled, but here is a 100% certainty-- if he had let GM and Chrysler collapse, you all would be blasting him for not having propped them up.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

"Bozo, you're living in a dream world if you think that the majority of the people wanted a single payer, government run health care system."

Actually, polls in 2009 showed precisely that.

Obama's strategy may not have been the best one, but sending GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy most certainly would have meant their collapse, along with tens of thousands of jobs lost in already hard hit areas of the country.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

"Bozo, you're living in a dream world if you think that the majority of the people wanted a single payer, government run health care system."

Here's the link.


Not that Republicans or conservative Democrats or any of the other legislators on Big Health's payroll would have gone along.

But Obama's mistake was to immediately jump to a compromise position, and getting no cooperation from any of the legislators listed above, moved even further rightward anyway.

What we got was the worst of all possible worlds. (Well, not really, that title goes to the existing system, to which we'll now likely return.)

notajayhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

"Actually, that's precisely what he was trying to do. He could have gone for a single payer/Medicare for all, which is what the majority of people in this country had wanted."

Patently false. While some polls showed support for a public option (depending how the question was asked and the conditions attached), the support was not there for a single payer system. As a matter of fact, most people are happy with the insurance coverage they already have.

It is also somewhat disingenuous to say the Republicans did nothing. What was Obama talking about when he said he would incorporate the Republican proposals after Kennedy's seat went to a Republican? You know, before he reneged on that offer and forced it through the back door?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

"Patently false."

Really? Then how do you explain the results of the polls listed here?


But I would agree that implementing a single payer system was politically impossible. However, a true public option was very doable, if the legislator/whore/employees of Big Health had been interested in anything like compromise. To be fair, they sat on both sides of the aisle, but Republicans by nature have no interest in compromise.

notajayhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

Maybe if you got your news from someone besides Michael Moore and the "Western PA Coalition for Single-Payer Healthcare".


"Which of the following three approaches to health care reform do you prefer: one, everyone getting health insurance through private health insurance plans; two, everyone getting health insurance through a public health insurance plan; or three, everyone having a choice of private health insurance or a public health insurance plan?"

Choice of public or private: 73% Private only: 15% Public only: 9%


"Thirty-two percent (32%) of voters nationwide favor a single-payer health care system where the federal government provides coverage for everyone. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 57% are opposed to a single-payer plan. "


One of the options posed was: "Having a national health plan — or single-payer plan — in which all Americans would get their insurance from a single government plan." In all, 50 percent said they favored it; 44 percent said they opposed it.

So that's what the poll found in July.

But Kaiser has posed this very question in six polls dating back to December 2008. The July poll is the only one that shows a majority of people saying they "favored" a single-payer system.

In fact, more recent polls seem to suggest the public is getting less enamored of single-payer health care. In August, the same Kaiser poll showed a slightly higher percentage opposed single payer (49 percent) than favored it (48 percent) — still within the margin of error. And the September poll showed 40 percent favor it, while 56 percent oppose it.

But we'd like to note something else about the Kaiser poll. Among the eight options posed to increase the number of Americans covered by health insurance, the single-payer option fared the worst.

As always, boohoozo, thanks for playing.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

"Maybe if you got your news from someone besides Michael Moore and the "Western PA Coalition for Single-Payer Healthcare"."

I don't get my news from them. I googled for polling done before the work on healthcare reform began, and that was the top link. The page I link did nothing but summarize those poll results. Do you contend that they are wrong simply because you disagree with the position of those who created the website?

But I understand why you wouldn't like those results, and prefer instead to resort to the push polling of the Republican pollster Rasmussen.

But the bottomline is that somewhere around half this country (which even Rasmussen acknowledges) would prefer to see a single-payer plan, so anything approaching a compromise would include some form of public option.

"As always, boohoozo, thanks for playing."

You're welcome. But please forgive me if I don't play along with your juvenile name-calling, though.

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago


Even with naj's polls, the vast majority of Americans want the option of public or private - 73%.

So why was the public option taken off the table again?

notajayhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

Again, a lot depends on how the question is asked, and what some of the conditions were. For instance, there was generally support for the idea of a public option in many polls. However, if that public option increased taxes, or added to the deficit, or limited choice of providers, or even if the public option competed unfairly with private insurers, that support dried up pretty fast. The same thing is true of those polls that had majority support (or at least the support of a plurality) for single-payer. Many of those who supported a single-payer system did so only if everyone paid in something, for example.

The polls also depend heavily on wording. Again, look at the polls for the single-payer option. There's some variance in the results of the polls depending on whether it was called single-payer, a national health care system, or a Medicare-like system. The same variance occurs depending on how 'public option' was defined in the different polls. Not to mention the number and type of options offered in the question: If you ask nothing more than whether the respondent favors the idea of a public option, more than 50% might say yes; if you ask which of six or seven choices the respondent prefers, it may come in 5th with only 10% support.

All of this is consistent with the polls on the legislation as passed. There is broad support for several individual components, but most people do not approve of all the things we had to swallow to get those individual parts. People quite often favor the idea of something, until they find out what strings are attached.

notajayhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

I see our friend vertigo has lapsed into the liberal-elitist "If you didn't vote like I wanted then you must not be as smart as me" mode.

notajayhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

"push polling" (noun) - any political poll whose results are inconsistent with the delusional beliefs of a bus-riding clown in a small, liberal, mid-western college town.

Gee, if only I'd known you were going to say that. (How'd Rasmussen do last night, BTW, boohoozo? Just curious.) Oh, wait, I did - which is why I included a second poll (from an organization a little more sympathetic to your views, boohoozo), and an analysis of the Kaiser polls everyone (like you) touts as 'evidence' of the support for single-payer.

Another reason I included the poll from Health Care for America Now, incidentally, was to show how widely the results can vary depending on how the question is asked. It's one thing to ask a single, yes-or-know question asking if people like the idea of a single-payer system (particularly if you don't use the words 'single payer', and even more if you throw in the word 'Medicare', according to Politifact). It's quite another to list several options and ask which one is preferred, and (again, according to Politifact) a government-pay-only system came in dead last in both the Kaiser poll and the HCAN poll. (Incidentally, that makes your statement that "around half this country ... would prefer to see a single-payer plan" also patently false.) (Oh, and 32% isn't "about half", boohoozo.) Asking for a single yes-or-no to a proposal carefully worded to make it sound palatable is "push polling", boohoozo.

But I understand why you won't accept any of the facts, boohoozo. After all, it doesn't fit with the pablum being spooned into your mouth by Madkow and Herr Olbermann. Maybe, though, if instead of looking at the sound-bites from a propaganda site which "summarize[d] those poll results" and did a little investigating, you might some day actually pass for someone that knows what they're talking about.

beatrice 7 years, 7 months ago

Corky, please show us somewhere, anywhere, when Pitts said something as stupid as "my race is better than your race." How about anything even close? Think you can? No, neither do I.

beatrice 7 years, 7 months ago

Knew you couldn't back up your claim.

Stephen Roberts 7 years, 7 months ago

After seeing President Obama and previous presidents travel across the nation trying to get people to vote for their party's person, does eith side really want to get along. What we realy need is a leader who know hows to lead, compromise, and how to effectively communicate those to Congress and the nation. To me, the best test of a President is to see how things change when his/her party does not have control over Congress. it is easier to get things passed when you have control than when you do not.

Clinton had control of Congress during his 1st two years in office. What did he do??? He sent Hillary to Congress to push his health care. Do you want to know why it failed??? It was the way she presented it Congress and tried to strong arm Congress to go along. I was told by a person who worked there during that time period that she was acting like she was elected President- not her husband. This did not sit well with Congress both because of her actions and the lact of respect given to them from President Clinton. This was from both sides of the aisle.

monkeyhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

I suppose it is once again business as usual that they now want to just get along. Understand that the army heading to Washington will not be there to compromise. Gridlock will be the order of the day because when congress is not acting, there is no harm. McConnell's goal is the same as the goal of the majority - to make sure BO will not have another term. The people are still angry and there is a lot more work to be done in two years.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

"Understand that the army heading to Washington will not be there to compromise. "

Republicans have seen compromise as a dirty word ever since Reagan. This is nothing new.

oldvet 7 years, 7 months ago

It's nice now that Pitts wants to "get along" while his darling obama wants to "punish the enemies"...

newmedia 7 years, 7 months ago

Note to Leo - Maybe it's time to start spending a little less time on the have and have not and a little more time on the will and will not!

monkeyhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

Good one, Tom.

I would like to thank those wonderful philanthropists, the Koch brothers for the great victory party last night.

Can anyone tell me who won the president's former senate seat in Illinois? Not sure I caught that one ...

beatrice 7 years, 7 months ago

And I am sure continuing to call the President of the United States of America -- the person voted into office by the same people who voted yesterday -- childish names like "the Anointed One" will pay off for you some day.

Sore loser = sore winner. How sad.

Hope your life has meaning now.

notajayhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

"And I am sure continuing to call the President of the United States of America -- the person voted into office by the same people who voted yesterday"

Had the same people that voted for Obama voted the same way yesterday, bea, Pelosi would still be holding the gavel in February.

beatrice 7 years, 7 months ago

You are claiming that nobody switched from voting for Dems to voting for Reps? That flies in the face of logic.

However, the point is that the people of the United States (the country we live in) voted for Obama, and they voted yesterday for Republicans. You can't only love them when they vote your way. Geez.

notajayhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

Still having trouble reading, bea? Pages look a little foggy through the tears, do they?

"Had the same people that voted for Obama voted the same way yesterday"


jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

That's an interesting observation.

I wonder what it might mean, overall?

beatrice 7 years, 7 months ago

jafs and vertigo, I think it means that for Presidents, people vote based on rhetoric and promises. On midterm elections, they vote against rhetoric and broken promises.

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

Could be.

You'd think they might learn not to believe everything they're told by candidates while campaigning then.

As I tried to warn people while Obama was campaigning, but they didn't want to hear it.

beatrice 7 years, 7 months ago

Jafs, people hear what they want to hear and believe what they want to believe. If anyone actually believe Obama could magically fix the worst economic setback since the Depression or make Dems and Reps walk hand in hand, then they deserve to be disillusioned today.

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago


But the problem with that is we swing back and forth, and don't get a chance to put stable, long-term policies into place.

And, when most, if not all, politicians fall out of favor, many people just get apathetic and stop participating at all.

notajayhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

I don't know that's a fair assessment of CT, Tom. Independents outnumber either Dems or Republicans in CT, although they are obviously a little liberal-leaning. Yes, the D's took all the House seats, too. It's possible they might end up with a Republican governor, though, and remember they sent Lieberman back to the Senate after the D's dumped him for not being liberal enough. I haven't seen the final vote count, but my parents worked at the polls yesterday and said it was a ghost town. Maybe the Republicans didn't do a great job of getting the vote out.

I just feel bad for Dino Rossi in Washington, who must be saying 'Oh, lord, here we go again!'

notajayhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

Absolutely. Remember when Ted Kennedy's seat went Republican? Obama made nice speeches about how 'the people had spoken and they needed to listen', and said he'd incorporate the Republican proposals into the final health care package. That was just before they forced the purely-Democrat version through the back door.

I don't think the election could have turned out any better. The Dems won't be able to force anything else down the country's throat, but they still have the White House and the Senate (with Harry Reid still there), so they have much less power, but will still shoulder half of or most of the blame for failing to compromise.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

That's total horsehockey. Republicans never made any serious attempts to compromise with Obama. They had one goal, and that was to hope for the worst, and if it didn't happen, make anything and everything sound as bad as possible, and pretend that it was Obama who created the problem, not the idiocy of the previous thirty years of Republican/Republican-lite governance. The fact is that Obama adopted these same Republican-lite policies even without the help of the Republicans, and all he got was to labelled a "socialist," despite the lack of any rational basis for it.

But you are right-- elections do have consequences. And the consequence of this one will be even greater ignorance, idiocy and fearmongering from the Republican Party, and even you diehard "team players" will pay the price.

But sadly, you'll be too proud and/or stupid to acknowledge it, much less do anything about it. You'll just rinse and repeat, over and over, expecting a different result, never getting it.

monkeyhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

BTW - boozo et al - the name calling did not work out so well for you guys. Is that all you have left? Didn't Alinsky have a plan B?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

"BTW - boozo et al - the name calling did not work out so well"

You're right-- clearly that is the purview of the hard right. I'll stick to trying to find workable ideas.

notajayhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

"Republicans never made any serious attempts to compromise with Obama."

Yeah, boohoozo, the Democrats are the epitome of compromise. Like 'I'm-going-to-keep-sending-the-same-bill-back-until-he-signs-it' Pelosi after the S-CHIP veto (after Bush, who didn't have to offer anything, offered an increase).

And on the health care plan - what was the end result of Obama's little staged summit meeting where he vowed to incorporate some of the Republican proposals? Oh, that's right - it was a sham, and they forced the bill through the way they'd already written it.

Can't remember who said this about the Democrats' being willing to 'compromise' on health care (I apologize for not being able to remember the exact quote): 'The Republicans want to give the patient two aspirin. The Democrats want to cut off both arms and both legs. So the Democrats said they'd compromise, and only cut off one arm and one leg.'

BTW, old bud, the vitriol level seems a little higher than usual this morning. Didn't sleep good? Tummy upset?

Jimo 7 years, 7 months ago

"The decline of the Obama presidency "

A) If you're going to plagerize someone else's work, you should at least provide a reference to it and it's author (proud war crimes apologist and Bush speechwriter) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/25/AR2010102502408.html

B) Made up quotes aren't factual.

C) "Modest" proposals? Trillions of increased deficit resulting from refusal to collect taxes from billionaires combined with anti-stimulative spending freezes - except for the military, of course. I'll give you 20% unemployment and raise you another 5%!

Yes, it's a wonder Obama did jump on that proposal like a duck on a June bug. He could have run in the 2012 GOP Presidential primary under the slogan "Shameless Irresponsibility".

monkeyhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

Good post, 77.

As I have stated before, with a monstrous majority, this band of bunglers couldn't even do socialism right. They will not get another chance.

Jimo 7 years, 7 months ago

Actually, they'll get many more chances, as the cycle repeats itself again and again. Indeed, the larger the GOP gains in 2010 the larger the Democratic gains in 2012 and beyond.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

Well, "your side" won, but the mere fact that they have no workable ideas is irrelevant to you. The fact that every single problem we have right now will be worse in two years is likewise irrelevant to you.

But you'll still be pretending that it has nothing to do with Republican (tea party) corruption, fearmongering or incompetence. Because you can't see beyond what's good for your "team."

I guess like a bad drunk, things won't get better till you bounce us all off the bottom.

monkeyhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

I don't have a side. I'm a floater. I also never have bad drunks, so I don't relate to that one. But you are right about the "workable ideas". That is not what the new army is going there for. They are to insure gridlock, keep on saying no, see to it that BO is a one-termer, and to carry out the will of the people who elected them. If they don't they will be out. You just still don't get it, but it doesn't matter.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

Gridlock is good if things are running relatively smoothly. But this county, and this world, are on the brink of collapse, due largely to folks like you cheering on the corprofascist elite that are driving us there at breakneck speed.

But you still don't get it, because you really are a bad drunk (figuratively speaking, anyway,) no matter how often you want to deny it.

monkeyhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

Come on, collapse is exactly what you wanted!!

"The strategy of forcing political change through orchestrated crisis. The "Cloward-Piven Strategy" seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.

Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven were two lifelong members of Democratic Socialists of America who taught sociology at Columbia University (Piven later went on to City University of New York). In a May 1966 Nation magazine article titled "The Weight of the Poor," they outlined their strategy, proposing to use grassroots radical organizations to push ever more strident demands for public services at all levels of government.

The result, they predicted, would be "a profound financial and political crisis" that would unleash "powerful forces ... for major economic reform at the national level."

They implemented the strategy by creating a succession of radical organizations, most notable among them the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), with the help of veteran organizer Wade Rathke. Their crowning achievement was the "Motor Voter" act, signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1993 with Cloward and Piven standing behind him.

As we now know, ACORN was one of the chief drivers of high-risk mortgage lending that eventually led to the financial crisis. But the Motor Voter law was another component of the strategy. It created vast vulnerabilities in our electoral system, which ACORN then exploited. ACORN's vote registration scandals throughout the U.S. are predictable fallout." http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/11/clowardpiven_government.html

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

"The strategy of forcing political change through orchestrated crisis. The "Cloward-Piven Strategy" seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse."

Obviously the characterization of so-called "american thinkers." Is this twisted trash the best you can do?

Jimo 7 years, 7 months ago

Gridlock is fine - as long as you're not on a boat in the middle of a hurricane that's sprung a leak and the half the crew insists that the solution is bailing water IN - not out.

That's either correct or incorrect just like gravity is either correct or incorrect - and there's real world consequences to picking the wrong answer.

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

If they "ensure" gridlock, and thus make sure that the government doesn't work on our problems, then they'll be responsible for the effects of that.

beatrice 7 years, 7 months ago

True. However, the Republicans only have 1 of the 3 seats of power. The people voted in a way to say "We want compromise, not one side over the other." Will that happen? To some degree it must, or nothing will get done.

At any rate, I sure am thankful for the teabaggers and their run for Senate seats. Were it not for them, the Republicans likely would have full control of Congress. Then it would be Congress vs the President. What we ended up with is more about a need as a nation to compromise.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

What's not funny is that by nature and action the centrist Obama is a compromiser. But never once in the last two years did any of the power bases of the Republican party make any serious attempts at compromise. But that probably has to do with the Republican definition of compromise-- "It's our way or the highway."

Going forward, it will be Obama, again, seeking to compromise with Republicans. How will they respond?

beatrice 7 years, 7 months ago

Bozo, you have to admit, the Republicans did what they needed to do politically to get where they are today. Is it a result of thinking country before party? Of course not. Then again, Democrats would likely do the same exact thing. However, now that the Republicans have some power, they will have to have results, not just be obstructionists. I don't mind one bit that Obama is president and will, once again, have to seek compromise with Republicans. I believe he will do what is in the nation's best interest, as he has done to date.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

Demagoguery is much easier than actually governing. Reagan/BushCo have proven that, and the mess in sight in any direction you want to look is a direct result of that (and the respites provided by Clinton and Obama have been modest, at best.)

The next couple of years will be very interesting. Will Republicans choose to compromise, and actually be part of governance, or will they continue with obstruction and demagoguery? If they choose to do the latter, who will voters blame in two years for our continued decline into what could be a complete global economic collapse?

kernal 7 years, 7 months ago

I was looking at Tahiti last night as a possible new place of residence, but you have to live there five years before you can work there and the price of everything, except fish, is sky high.

Hmmm, maybe Banff....

whats_going_on 7 years, 7 months ago

No, we won't get along until we weed out everyone on the far left and far right. The latter is going to weed out quicker, I imagine, which I definitely won't mind. However I don't want the far left to be in control either.

le sigh

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

Even when grammatical, your posts rarely make much sense, but this one certainly elicits a "huh?"

whats_going_on 7 years, 7 months ago

That would be moderate-Republicans and moderate-Democrats. Perhaps independents...but sometimes independent groups can be extreme too.

It isn't very possible, but I don't think its all that funny, to be honest.

mom_of_three 7 years, 7 months ago

just heard a newly elected repub say on cnn that he doesn't believe all americans are entitled to health care - its not a requirement.
oh, yeah, this will be an improvement (sacrcasm)

mom_of_three 7 years, 7 months ago

not newly elected, but a pundit. If he is a reflection on republicans, than i stand by my above statement.

notajayhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

And did he say health care or health insurance?

Maybe if you cited your source, so we could see what you left out?

beatrice 7 years, 7 months ago

Interesting thing is that Pitts wrote this story before the election. Imagine reading this and the election hadn't gone Republicans' way. What would the reactions be?

notajayhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

He would have been aghast for making a fool of himself.

But even Leonard can read a poll.

beatrice 7 years, 7 months ago

Yes, to ask if we can get along -- what a fool!

Oh, and that was sarcasm.

Jimo 7 years, 7 months ago

Seems to me if we're going to have wild swings back and forth between one extreme and the other, we might as well go with a straight forward parliamentary system. Under such, the "government" would - by definition - be entirely controlled by one party and thereby be entirely responsible for what happens under its watch. Other than constitutional constraints, each side could do whatever the wanted - or dared to do - while in power.

At least we'd be free from this endless fingerpointing and false posturing of how it's always the other guy who is unreasonable. But then the corporate elites of country want anything BUT such clear accountability.

Jimo 7 years, 7 months ago

One would think that both the right and left would be attracted to the idea of a government in power not for a fixed term but for a maximum term - able to fall at any moment in the short run if it fails to actually pass core legislation.

Just recently the British government elected a more conservative variety that is even now in the process of balancing its budget. Granted, it isn't doing it in a "Tea Party" way of innumerantly believing that cuts in discretionary spending get you far but rather by making sharp spending cuts in almost every area (including defense - or "defence") and raising taxes. If the new government hadn't been able to pass such difficult legislation, the government would "fall" and new elections would be held to punt back to the voters to provide instruction to the politicians (either different priorities or different politicians).

gogoplata 7 years, 7 months ago

The differences between the parties is overstated.

We already have basically a one party system that believes in big government with a republican branch and a democratic branch. The republican branch likes war, deficits, and assaulting civil liberties and the democratic branch likes war, welfare and assaulting civil liberties.

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

I think we might do better to provide proportional representation.

For example, if the vote on a particular bill is 70-30, the bill must include 30% that reflects the views of those who voted against it.

So, on the library issue, perhaps we should go forward with a project that is 55% of the original proposal, expansion and cost-wise.

Just an idea.

Jimo 7 years, 7 months ago

That's not quite what's meant by proportional representation.

For example, among Kansas' 4 House seats, Repubs got roughly 62% of the vote. In a proportional system, 3 of those 4 would be filled by Repubs and 1 of the 4 by a Dem. (Likewise, in some heavily Democratic state, a similar reverse pattern would follow.) We don't have this result because (1) Dems aren't overwhelmingly concentrated in just one part of the state and (2) the GOP Legislature has carefully drawn district lines to ensure that whatever minimal concentration exists (such as Douglas and Wyandotte Cos.) are kept as far apart as the creative pencil can achieve.

In fact, in such an alternative system, one would expect many more voters affiliated with the losing side to bother to vote and you could easily see a result of 2 seats for each party in Kansas (50-50) in a good Democratic year.

Of course, this exceedingly fair result is precisely why the partisans of both parties aren't interested -- within a one-party dominated state, the existing system gives you the illusion of getting more while in fact all it does is deprive the roughly 38% of Kansans who affiliated with Democrats from getting any real representations of their views. (Likewise, the GOP in, say, Hawaii gets shafted.)

Your idea, while intriguing, is impractical (it assumes that "the views" are binary) and easily overcome (just ask for more money to begin with).

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

You're right.

Call it whatever you like - I still think it's a good idea.

As would be yours - it would be more representative of the voting population as a whole group.

It doesn't assume that views are binary - one could craft legislation that contains a variety of things (the healthcare legislation was exactly that).

And, asking for more money might change the outcome of the vote, so it wouldn't be that easy to do. For example, if they'd proposed a $36 million expansion assuming that they'd win by 55%, they might have lost.

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 7 months ago

Nice idea, but too bad our Constitution does not specify a parliamentary system.

Jimo 7 years, 7 months ago

My guess is that such a move (however unlikely) would be begin with reform in a state. This isn't at all impossible - there are reform movements underway in several states for example to reduce and simplify the state legislatures to look more like Nebraska's unicameral one.

If Americans could get past their 'not invented here' attitudes toward political systems they might figure out why virtually no country anywhere has a system much like ours (except for Liberia, in Africa). Doesn't it tell you something that the U.S., in setting up an Iraqi government, copied NONE of our political institutions?

jonas_opines 7 years, 7 months ago

Haha, thought this one was from Pitts. Reminds of Cal's "let's seek a middle ground" column that came out in 2008. Or was it 2006?

Liberty275 7 years, 7 months ago

We don't need our politicians to get along, we need them gridlocked. If they can't accomplish anything, they can't continue flushing our freedom down the legislative toilet.

Orwell 7 years, 7 months ago

Ironically, the comments here from the reactionary extremists who seek to set Americans against each other are pretty persuasive evidence that Pitts is wrong. No compromise is enough for the radical right, and any effort in that direction is mere surrender.

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