On most issues facing this country, I’m a centrist. On a few issues like health care, I’m a “Crazy Bernie” lefty. On issues like religious extremism, I’m a right-wing lunatic hawk. But, mostly, I’m a centrist … which means no party in D.C. is working for me.
Then again, I don’t have the riches to buy myself a politician the way Big Pharma, Big Banks, Big Oil and Big Everything Else can. They don’t seem interested in Big Broke. (Coincidentally, U.S. health care is working to keep me Big Broke, which is why I’m big on Bernie.)
Beyond the money controlling politics, the partisan divide with our two-party system has become extreme. From the day they take office, politicians are worried about the next election instead of governing. And the problem has become so fine-tuned that 51-49 is considered a mandate. Even when you lose a popular election by 3 million votes, you can claim a mandate.
So, once either party has control, governing takes a backseat to pushing hard-line agendas through “mandates.” When the two parties have divided power, we get gridlock. Sometimes we even get gridlock when there is division within a party as we see now with the GOP-led Congress. Continue reading
With all of the hullabaloo accompanying the craziness of the Bush v. Gore general election of 2000, people often forget about the two runners-up in the primary season — Sen. John McCain on the Republican side and Sen. Bill Bradley with the Democrats. I longed for these two distinguished, principled men to face off in an election that they vowed— in a written, signed compact, mind you — that would be about the actual issues without special interests dictating the discussions.
I truly believe that those two men could have mostly lived up to their promise of a principled general election campaign — although whether they really could have is a moot point since Howdy Doody and a talking tree got the party nods. I hate that we never got to see that McCain v. Bradley campaign materialize, and politics has gotten uglier ever since. Citizens United threw even more gasoline on that fire.
They had very different views. Bradley’s big issues were universal health care (looks like he was a little ahead of his time on that one) and gun control, while McCain was focused on a strong defense and bucking the political establishment and D.C. power brokers. It would have been interesting — and we would have been much better off with either of them as president.
I don’t agree with many of his political views, but I respect Sen. McCain as a war hero (yes, Mr. Multiple Deferment Trump, McCain is a war hero) and as a principled politician, not a pandering demagogue. More than once during the 2008 campaign against Barack Obama he put his own supporters in their place when they said they were “scared” of Obama or accused him of being Muslim or being born in Kenya.
(By the way, I always wondered why Obama’s parents would have put a birth announcement in the Honolulu newspapers if he were born in Kenya; perhaps they were laying the groundwork for his presidential campaign from day one.) Continue reading