Skip to comments.(Vanity) The One-Way Ratchet
Posted on 05/20/2007 6:00:42 AM PDT by grey_whiskers
It is interesting to consider the platitudes of politicians and the chattering classes when considering controversial topics. There seem to be two main threads. One of them is the old chestnut, Im personally opposed to X, BUT the will of the people is . The other one is I know that some (probably misguided) polls show that the public wants X, but I must be guided by higher standards than mob rule. Let us see how this works on three of the common hot-button issues of the day: abortion, illegal immigration, and global warming.
For abortion, let us pick on both a Democrat and a Republican. For the Democratic point of view, let us pick on one of the standard bearers, Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. Remember his comments during the run-up to the Robert Bork confirmation hearings? Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions(*) And yet he claims to be a Roman Catholic, whose position on abortion is pretty clear. So quite clearly he is making sure his votes are not informed (nor dictated) by his personal religious convictions. And for that matter, he made quite clear that he did not want Supreme Court justices such as Alito to make reference to their personal opinions at all witness the article from the Washington Post of January 7, 2006. Chalk up one for ignoring ones personal point of view.
A similar situation can be demonstrated by one of the leading
Republican RINO candidates for President, Rudy Giuliani. He has been quoted as saying abortion is "morally wrong" but stood by his position that women should have the right to make that choice. So again, a politician overrules what are (or ought to be) his personal beliefs when creating public policy.
With all of the furor over illegal immigration and immigration reform, it is perhaps worth a look to see what the personal and public positions of some of the leaders in this area are. Let us look at President Bush for the Republicans, and Senator Feinstein for the Democrats (no fair, we already picked on Ted Kennedy on abortion.) Obviously, the American public is strongly against an Amnesty. But President Bush is just as obviously committed to opening our borders as much as possible, regardless of what it costs the Republican Party long-term either by importing new Democrat voters or by alienating the Republican base. So in this case, we put it in the column of personal bias above public feeling. Senator Feinstein is more problematicher home page mainly refers to illegal immigration as it touches on the AgJobs Bill, which is rolled into the latest Amnesty bill (Senator Feinstein was one of three negotiators in the secret bipartisan meetings leading up to the bill.) The inclusion of AgJobs will make sure that the agricultural industrystrong in California, and dependent on Mexicans to do the jobs Americans wont has plenty of cheap labor. So call her on the fence. She is listening to somebody (lobbyists), but not yet to the voice of voters. (Yes, youre right, Virgina, on this matter, the views of Mexicans dont matter. They are not votersat least, I hope they arent. But Im not *that* naïve.)
Now let us consider global warming. The prototype here is Al Inconvenient Chad Gore. He has instituted a program of trading in carbon credits, in order that he can get credit for having his pollution and controlling it too. But at the same time, his personal life shows a complete and reckless disregard for environmental side effects. Think of the energy usage on his private home -- $1200 a month is about twenty times the electricity usage of the average American home. Even in mid-summer in Scottsdale, where outdoor air temperatures can reach 110 degrees with regularity, electric bills seem to top out at about ¼ of that. And *that* is for survival, not just comfort (my own thermostat in Phoenix is set at 84 during the day and 78 at night, except on weekends, when it is a constant 78). So the Irreverent Al is definitely in the imposing personal beliefs on others crowd. And since Arizona was just mentioned, how about Republican Presidential candidate John McCain? Im not sure, since he has been so involved with Amnesty, but it appears he has the makings of a flip-flopper. Back in 2004 he was quite involved in pressing for immediate action on global warming, and as recently as last month he was calling for concerted action to reduce global warming. On the other hand, McCain has picked a noted global-warming skeptic (James Schlesinger) to be his point man on energy issues. So the impression I get is that McCain has wet his finger and put it up in the air to test the political winds, but that he is hedging his bets. No true convictions here.
Why is this so important? I am not trying to jump on the bandwagon of all politicians are liars or liberals are hypocrites. After all, I picked on George Bush and on Rudy Giuliani. No, the more important question is this. It appears from the above examples that politicians do not always have strong opinions on the matters of the day: and it appears that they are sometimes willing to set aside their own preferences, sometimes to impose their own personal wishes on others. Why then, if there is no consistency for or against listening to the crowd, why is the set of values to be ignored always the conservative one? Why is there a one-way ratchet in favor of liberalism?
(*) Which brings up the following Kennedy joke:
Reporter: Senator, could you tell us your feeling on the abortion bill?
Kennedy: (hesitatingly) Well, I guess Ill just have to pay it.
Incidentally, another forgotten-on-purpose portion of Kennedys Bork quote is that rogue police could knock down citizens doors in midnight raids. Supreme Court (in Hudson vs. Michigan) did address no-knock raids, weakening the exclusionary rule by a 5-4 vote. Given that two of the justices siding with the majority in this decision were Roberts and Alito, it is odd that Kennedy did not raise this possibility at all during his oh-so-principled opposition to their confirmation.
NO cheers, unfortunately.
The joke was funny, in a gallows-humor sort of way, however.
Thanks for taking the time to slog through it, then !
Have you considered running for higher office? ;-)
I am now putting principles over politics - instead of politics over principles. Imagine how much better things would be if we all would do the same.
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