Who IS this guy?!

'Niceguy' Eddie

Political Talk Show Host and Internet Radio Personality. My show, In My Humble Opinion, aired on RainbowRadio from 2015-2017.

Feel free to contact me at niceguy9418@usa.com. You can also friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and Tumblr, and support my Patreon. Also, if you don't mind the stench, you can find my unofficial "fan club" over HERE. ;)

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Go team, go!

I think I figured out a way to explain what I see as one of the biggest problems with our political discourse: People pick their political party the way they pick their favorite sports team. It’s all about emotion, rather than practical or principled considerations.


I’m a Red Sox fan.

And you can argue (or point out) that the Yankees have the richer history; that the Yankees have won more Championships; that the Yankees have more Hall of Famers; that the Yankees have a deeper farm system; that the Yankees have better ownership; that the Yankees have the most talented 5-man infield ever assembled; that the Yankees do better business; That the Yankees bring in more revenue; that a Yankee Championship would be better for baseball… In short, you could lay out every practical, tangible way in which the Yankees are not only the better team, and not only why they therefore deserve to win, but how more people would be better off if they did. And even were I to concede on every single point?

I’d still want the Red Sox to win.

Why?

I don’t know. They’re just my team. And they always will be my team. And even a guy who I hated when he wore pinstripes, suddenly becomes perfectly likeable in the White and Red.

And do you know what?

That’s perfectly OK.

Because you don’t NEED a reason to root for a sorts team. Maybe you grew up in the city. Or maybe you met one of the players and he made an impression on you. Maybe you just like the team’s logo. I don’t care. Any of those - or NO REASON AT ALL - is a perfectly good reason to root for “your team” to win the ball game.

But we shouldn’t VOTE that way. And we shouldn’t decide how we feel about POLICY that way. Only two questions are in anyway relevant when looking at policy: “How does it affect me?” And, “How will it affect the Country?” That’s IT. And while the answers will sometimes differ between the two questions, they should not change based on which party is proposing them or whether they can been labeled ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal.’

If a policy will benefit YOU, why should you oppose it simply because it’s liberal or conservative or was proposed (originally or now) by a Democrat or Republican?

If a policy – when looked at objectively - will benefit THE COUNTRY, why should you oppose it simply because it’s liberal or conservative or was proposed (originally or now) by a Democrat or Republican?

Why are so many people – primarily Conservatives – more concerned that “their team wins” than with whether or not GOOD POLICIES get enacted? And why do so many people – primarily Conservatives – judge policies based on whether of not they have their team’s logo on them?   And I say “primarily Conservatives” because those are the people who use “Liberal” as a criticism, and act like the inherent badness therein is self-apparent. Liberals generally don’t argue against Conservatives this way. But Conservtaives act like it’s just a ball game, and the only thing that matters is that the team that they identify with emotionally wins. People: If the policies being enacted by the “winning team” don’t benefit you and benefit the Country, then they shouldn't BE your team!

I originally intended this as a standalone piece, but I’d like to offer it as an open question to the relatively moderate, shall we say "classic," Conservatives out there, who are every bit as frustrated with how far to the Right the Republicans have gone as Liberals are with how far to the Right the Democrats have gone. If that party no longer represents your values, and have moved into a territory that you find borderline (or downright) offensive to you sense of Patriotism and what you believe America stands for, why are they still your party?  (OR: Why do you still use the label to describe yourself?)

I'd like to use as example, how one on the regular commenters here described his political outlook. Now… excepting the ONE LINE at the end about “smaller government” I don’t see anything there that most Liberals and/or Democrats couldn’t embrace, but I see plenty that Conservatives and Republicans – as they are currently defined – outright reject. Yet this poster STILL describes himself as a “Conservative Republican.”

Given what those words have come to mean, I beg to differ.

Going back to the baseball example, I see that kind of reasoning like this: I might wish the Red Sox had the Yankee’s pitching staff and they may make some dumb trades or pass on a draft pick that I really like that ends up signing with the Yankees… but I’ll still root for the Sox anyway. In sports me it doesn’t matter if your favorite player ends up going somewhere else, or your team ends up totally sucking. You’ll still stick with your team And in that context, that’s perfectly OK. But why in Politics? Why stick with a party that you feel does so much wrong?

I don’t want to speak for y’all but I fail to see, as I read Okie’s post on MMFA, why he would stick with the Republicans. OK, there’s that last line. One point for versus a dozen or so against. And you may think you can change the Party… but you can’t. Sorry. The party has rejected what you see as Conservatism and replaced with something you can’t abide. And they’re trending away from you. So why stick around? Why NOT change?

And I ask this as someone who DID change. Because I was once a Republican, and I even once called myself Conservative. The biggest reason for this was that I was comfortable with those labels. And I could argue from a Libertarian point of view that justified my taking those labels. But the movement went to the Right, and to the Limbaugh’s and Beck’s and James Dobson’s and Pat Robertson’s and Jerry Falwell’s of the world, and I could no longer abide all the mental baggage that the labels “Conservative” and “Republican” required me to carry. And at some point I rejected them. And while I don’t agree with EVERYTHING the “Liberal Orthodoxy” (a notion that is largely a creation of the Right, BTW) stands for, the fact is that the Left is far more tolerant of dissent. There’s room for a Gun Ownership Rights supported in the Liberal camp. Or for someone who supports the Death Penalty. Or someone who supported, and continues to support the War in Afghanistan. Not everyone on the Liberal side will agree with my positions on those things of course, but no one will demonize me for them either. And that, to me, is the biggest difference between the two.

At one point in history, I’d say up until about 1968, both parties had their Liberal and Conservatives wings. Stating in ’68, the Conservatives started going to the Republicans and Liberals started going to the Democrats. By 1980 this process was in full swing and by today, partisan lines are drawn almost entirely along ideological ones. But as this process has played out, something else has happened: One side – the Republicans – has grown increasingly intolerant of any dissent at all. One side became the party of Purity Test. Of “in name only.” Of purging itself of any elements that don’t buy into every single part of the agenda, and of any elements that would be willing to cross the aisle and work with the opposition – even when the opposition is proposing something that Republicans once supported!

In other words: One side went completely bat-shit insane.

And I’m not alone in saying this! I don’t say this as a life-long Liberal who’s just opposition bashing. I say this as a moderate, one-time Republican who is completely fed up with the extremism and the downright un-American authoritarianism and the Party-before-Country mentality that the Right has embraced. Now… I’d have been part of the Liberal wing of the Republican party, to be sure. A ‘maverick,’ if you will. But right now? There ISN’T a ‘Liberal Wing’ in the Republican Party! And the 'moderate' wing consists of what used to be the hardliners! (Lindsy Graham? John McCain?)  And there is no indication that they want one!  (I'll bet you a Coke, right now, Maine's Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins will eventuallt retire as either Democrats or Independants, assuming they're not pushed out by Tea-Baggers who go on to LOSE to Democrats.)

In sports it’s expected to stick with your team, even when all your favorite players get traded away. That par for the curse. But WHY do this with politics. My ultimate question, to the moderate, Center-Right, more Libertarian “Republicans” out there, like Okiepoli and others, ESCPECIALLY if it's not "all about the party": Why do you not reject the party that has so clearly rejected you? 

3 comments:

  1. You said a mouthful and a half, Eddie. Good on ya. Of course I agree with you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Eddie;
    I hope you got my email and realize that I haven't had time to read your blog or respond since the 13th. I hope there's a way you can get my email into the comments on 'Cooler heads' where it belongs.

    Since you call me out:

    The short answer to your question: I remain a Republican because I live in Oklahoma.

    Longer: Oklahoma has stupid election laws – only the Dem and Repub parties are recognized. The state has closed primaries, and doesn't allow write-in votes. You can read a brief FAQ here: http://www.ok.gov/elections/faqs.html

    The Libertarian Party challenged these draconian laws and were vindicated by the 10 th Circuit, but rebuffed by the SCOTUS 6-3. Justices Rehnquist, Kennedy, Scalia and Thomas (who may have had an ax to grind with Oklahoma - Anita Hill ring any bells?) ruled firmly against the First Amendment and the rights of all Oklahomans to have an unrestricted voice in the democratic process. They were joined by Justices O’Connor and Breyer, who were not so strident – and opposed by Justices Ginsburg, Stevens and Souter (mostly.) The case was Clingman v. Beaver and there is a good piece about it here: http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/analysis.aspx?id=15307

    What am I to do? Should I abandon the Republican party and lose any hope of changing it, or should I stay in, supporting moderate candidates against boneheads like Sen. Coburn and Inhofe in the primaries? I always have the option to vote however I feel in the general election, and have strayed from the Repub fold in the past. (and even, gasp! voted for that evil, CommoMarxiFasciSecretMooslim guy)

    It may lend more credence to my emails to my representatives and arguments with fellow Repubs when I can honestly say, “Look, I'm one of you...” I may be more effective fighting for what I think is right from the inside – I'm certainly not above emailing the local TEA partiers to ask why Sen. Coburn couldn't be bothered to show up for the vote to defund ACORN – a Bill he sponsored. (Truly, I despise the man)

    Perhaps I'm being quixotic, but I'm doing what I believe is right.

    okiepoli

    ReplyDelete
  3. @DellDolly - Thanks.

    @Okie - I'll reply a bit more in the "losing heart" post, but I hear you.

    "I'm doing what I believe is right."

    You can't do anything else, man. That's all you can do.

    "What am I to do? Should I abandon the Republican party and lose any hope of changing it, or should I stay in, supporting moderate candidates against boneheads like Sen. Coburn and Inhofe in the primaries?"

    I wish I had an answer for that. In any case, I hope you don't think that I was talking about YOU in this post. While it's true that I was curious why you (or ANY Moderate Conservatives for tha matter) stay with the GOP, I've never known you to think or speak about POLICY that way. I've always found you to be very principled when it comes to discussing policy, and you sure as hell have never been shy about calling out shenanigans on the 'Pubs. For the longest time I took you for a moderate LIBERAL, because of it. ;)

    So... Party brand-loyantly aside, this was so NOT about you. The Republicans NEED more people like you. LOTS more. They don't seem to WANT 'em. But they NEED them. And they'd be much better for it. And I'm not nearly so blind a partisan myself that I's fail to recognize that a better Republican party WOULD make for a better America.

    Thanks for your comment. I'm sorry I missed this.

    ReplyDelete