The Middle Of The Road Or The End Of The Road

“Ignore the extremists and meet in the middle of the road.”

—Harry Reid’s advice to John Boehner, July 27, 2011, 10:51am

Harry Reid’s statement is an American statement, a recognition that this large country should not be governed by factions, by extremists. We work as a country because we have to work together as a country.

And regarding the debt-ceiling crisis, Democrats have already moved over to the Republicans’ lane on this road, and if Republicans say no to Reid’s offer of a generous compromise—no new tax revenues are included—there are only two alternatives for Democrats:

1) Let the Republicans quickly drive the country into the Tea Party ditch, or,

2) Get in the car with them and slowly drive it into the Tea Party ditch.

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11 Comments

  1. janice reed

     /  July 27, 2011

    Sadly, I think the second option is where we are headed.

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  2. ansonburlingame

     /  July 27, 2011

    OK, I will let you use the word “ditch” though I still like the term “cliff”.

    And BOTH parties are driving us there while we the people wring our hands and say “just fix it”.

    Well fix what exactly is the question. You know my answer. What is yours? We must fix….. by …… (taxing the “rich” is all I hear from liberals.

    And now you say Democrats are on the Republican side of the road or in the Rep lane, right? Well if they are how come we don’t have a deal on debt limit for starters?

    And I don’t think any of them know where exactly any of the various roads utimately lead. The ditch, the cliff, the…..?

    Let me put it this way in a “grand way” for you liberals. Exactly what spending and exactly what revenues would you call for in FY 2012 on the part of the federal government.

    Then run those number out for ten years and tell me your financial goals. I would love to hear them.

    For me I will pick 18% of GDP each and every year for both numbers and let the chips fall where they may. We won’t then have a financial crisis but indeed we will have either a social or defense crisis. Now pick which crisis is worst for the country over time??

    OR show me a clear path to avoid any crisis???

    Anson

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    • hlgaskins

       /  July 27, 2011

      “And BOTH parties are driving us there while we the people wring our hands and say “just fix it”.”

      Agreed but it will never happen without compromises made on both sides. So the question is which side is least willing to compromise?

      “And now you say Democrats are on the Republican side of the road or in the Rep lane, right? Well if they are how come we don’t have a deal on debt limit for starters?”

      I would say because the right is playing a “winner takes all deal” which will never happen. Unless the grownups in both parties can get together and come up with solution that both sides can agree on, some folks are going to miss their SS checks pretty soon including my mother. Fortunately I can take care of my mother if it comes to that, but how many others don’t have that option.

      “Let me put it this way in a “grand way” for you liberals. Exactly what spending and exactly what revenues would you call for in FY 2012 on the part of the federal government.”

      This liberal would have agreed to your 70/30 plan. Before we actually start cutting we should try and find out where we can start saving. I know that you’re tired of hearing it but healthcare reform has the potential to render the greatest yields. Another area would be to put an end to wars that we shouldn’t have been in, in the first place. Close down unneeded foreign military bases such as the one in Germany. Reduce our overall military budget to peace time levels and use more common sense in the items we outfit our military with. Raise taxes on people like me who can afford to pay a little more. Stop letting China walk all over us and put an end to needless outsourcing. If we can’t expand out tax base we will continue to “drive into the ditch.”

      “For me I will pick 18% of GDP each and every year for both numbers and let the chips fall where they may.”

      Healthcare reform could net 8% to 10% alone! Now where I have I heard that before. Whatever we decide we need to leave SS and Medicare alone, too many people need it and if we chip away at it then we’ll just have to pickup the difference somewhere else, but we’ll pay regardless.

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  3. I got a dumb question. Skirting the topic, I know.
    I’m 51 years old, and I don’t remember the country being this divided since the 1968 elections. In fact, with new media/social technology, I believe it’s now worse.
    IS it?
    just curious.

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    • Tracy,

      On the presidential level, I don’t think it is necessarily worse in terms of the quantity of divisiveness, but the quality of it includes the fact that some—read: some—white folks are scared of the Negro in the white’s house.

      The ’68 election was quite divisive and nasty, which is what helped propel Richard Nixon to power. People were frightened of the left-wing uprisings.

      And the division during the Clinton years, especially in 1995 with the advent of Newt Gingrich, were horribly divisive. The election of Bill Clinton, in my opinion, elevated Rush Limbaugh and talk radio to new heights. And I suppose it doesn’t get any more divisive than impeaching a president, does it? Not to mention the fact that Jerry Falwell promoted a video that essentially accused Clinton of murder.

      But today’s opposition to Obama has been a strange mixture of racism and a boatload of conspiracies: he’s a Kenyan who hates America and is plotting to destroy it, at worse, and at best, he is a closet socialist and an anti-colonialist who, paradoxically, wants to remake America in the image of Europe, whatever that means.

      On the congressional level, what is worse is the fact that Republicans in the House have no intention of compromising—the only way our government can work when neither party controls the legislature—with Democrats. That’s almost unprecedented, I would guess. Even Newt Gingrich found a way to compromise.

      Duane

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  4. hlgaskins

     /  July 27, 2011

    “I got a dumb question. Skirting the topic, I know.
    I’m 51 years old, and I don’t remember the country being this divided since the 1968 elections. In fact, with new media/social technology, I believe it’s now worse.”

    I’m 60 and I can’t recall anytime where the country has been so thoroughly divided. Would the Civil War count?

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  5. Good reply Duane.
    I think the key words are “almost unprecedented”.

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  6. ansonburlingame

     /  July 28, 2011

    Sekan,

    You suggest 1968 as a point of reference. Duane touches on the Clinton years. HLG suggests the Civil War period.

    Well I seem to be the “old guy” on the block for now (69 years old). For sure I was right in the middle of the muck in 1968, wearing my uniform (but rarely in public) in 1968. All of us were around during the Clinton years and none of us around during the Civil War years.
    .
    But hopefully we all have read our American history over the years and tried both as students and adults to learn from such reading.

    Let’s thus examine from that reading, study and consideration how each of the above problems causing great dissent were in fact solved. 1968 was easy. We left Vietnam and lost a war with no great consequence to the country over time.

    The Clinton years dissent was settled at the ballot box. We reelected the guy and moved on, despite impeachment hearings which now seem like only a footnote in current history books. No real damage to the country resulted.

    Not so the Civil War period. It was a historical problem that arose at the moment we founded our country and deferred the decision on slavery. For 85 years we kicked that can down the road and it took a war to settle the matter. And if believe the dissent today is driven in part by racism, as espoused by Duane, then we still have not resolved that issue entirely and the country is suffering still from how to deal with and for “Negros”. 235 years over essentially that one issue and still alive and well as a problem today in America.

    But I hope that even Duane would agree that racism is only a subset of our problems, politically, today. Our problem today is WSTMM and we the people are as divided over that issue as we were 150 years ago about what to do about slavery.

    So from my perspective, this problem today, the problem of STMM is the biggest problem ever faced by America in our entire history. It is a problem that began at least in the New Deal and has gotten larger and larger over time. The fault, and there must be a fault if there is a problem, is on the heads of we the people ultimately, not just one poltical party.

    And however one cares to poll or determine “public opionion” we are at about 50/50 today (OK, 55/45) and the solution to STMM. One side wants to keep on spending to provide the American dream for more and more people. The other side wants to restrain federal spending and force people to create their own dreams through individual effort and initiative.

    Said another way, one side demands the federal government to live within its means and the other side calls for increasing the means to meet the demands of those left behind.

    I don’t know how to break that impasse politically. I do know that both war and economic “laws” can both break it with the winner taking “all” so to speak, at least in a war. If economic “laws” prevail EVERYONE loses, big time, very bad times, the worst bad times we will have ever seen as America fades from influence in the world, suddenly or slowly (as we are currently doing, fading slowly).

    So MY answer Sekan, is NEVER before have we faced such a huge problem and thus we are more devisive than ever before in our history, in my view.

    Anson

    PS: I left out the Revolutionary period that lasted about 10 years (1776 until 1787 with our new constitution). And we all know the outcome of that dispute. Pretty good outcome but again it took a war to achieve it.

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  7. “We left Vietnam and lost a war with no great consequence to the country over time.”

    Only if you exclude costs, and the 39,587 American lives that were lost.

    “Not so the Civil War period. It was a historical problem that arose at the moment we founded our country and deferred the decision on slavery.”

    Yes, but my statement was not in the context in which you outlined it. Please use quotes! Here is what I actually wrote.

    “I’m 60 and I can’t recall anytime where the country has been so thoroughly divided. Would the Civil War count?”

    “And however one cares to poll or determine “public opionion” we are at about 50/50 today (OK, 55/45)”

    It’s more complicated than just a split of 50/50 or even 55/45, because the deciding factor often comes from Independents. Independents are keeping both republicans and democrats off balance and guessing.

    “If economic “laws” prevail EVERYONE loses, big time, very bad times, the worst bad times we will have ever seen as America fades from influence in the world, suddenly or slowly (as we are currently doing, fading slowly).”

    The United States isn’t fading slowly because of economic laws, it’s fading because of ignorance.

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