Thursday, July 22, 2010

Republicans & Democrats - Different, Yet The Same

Thomas Friedman had an excellent editorial in today's local paper about the short-sightedness and futility of the Senate Republicans being united now against energy reform legislation which apparently has roughly 53 Democratic votes and 0 Republican votes. It appears that the Republicans will require 60 votes for passage, and thus as of now the legislation is dead.

Friedman focused upon how the legislation would help the U.S. be more independent of Mideast ("Arab" - though Iran is not "Arab) nations' (oil) and do much of what Republicans profess they want, without requiring U.S. military intervention.

While I agree with much of what Friedman said, I think that his criticisms of the Republicans in some ways ignore the basic weaknesses and similar of our political system with both Democrats and Republicans at fault.

To pass major legislation there commonly needs to Either be No "enemy" or one needs to make Substantial compromises in the legislation to appease "the enemy", whoever that may be. For the State of Connecticut the insurance industry may be sacred. For various midwest states the interests of corn farmers such as Ethanol are usually sacred. For some Gulf Coast States oil industry interests have been sacred.

When healthcare reform legislation was finally passed, it was only possible because the hospital and drug industries were largely appeased. As a result, the "reforms" will Not control costs and healthcare costs will continue to rise significantly, barring significant further serious reforms which may control them.

While the Democrats may be "better" than the Republicans on most issues, they are hardly "progressive" or otherwise looking out for the concerns of most of us. They are beholden to the issues of keeping their political office (e.g. campaign finance reform as an issue) and their own "parochial" interests.

Friedman points out eloquently the parochial interests of Republicans in looking towards the short-term and what the perceived as their "political interests" (my words)rather than looking at the bigger picture (including their own interests).

Until and unless campaign finance reform legislation passes Congress (unlikely) and the Supreme Court allows limitations upon lobbying and corporate power over Congress it seems unlikely that serious reforms of important things will be possible most of the time. Nearly always the powers of those being limited will have enough power to make changes either insubstantial or otherwise not sufficient for real, significant change.

It is, of course, difficult! Thanks!

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