Some people say that our national political discourse is out of control and filled, more than ever before, with the rancor and tension of partisan politics that threatens to destroy the fabric of our united nation.
Take, for example, this bit of tripe from today’s Portland Press Herald:
“If Sen. Olympia Snowe is really retiring from the U.S. Senate because she can’t stand the poisonous partisanship in Congress – and we have no reason to doubt her word on that score – then Maine is paying a terrible price for the rancor that has become business as usual in Washington, D.C.”
Still others say that Snowe’s departure signals the extinction of so-called “moderate” Republicans.
We only need look just beyond Maine’s borders to find moderate Republicans, such as Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire or Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts.
Not to mention that no one could reasonably say Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Utah’s Orrin Hatch or John McCain are anywhere near Tea Party favorites.
Hatch was a close personal friend of the liberal lion, the late Senator Ted Kennedy, and they worked closely on several pieces of legislation.
If anything, there is far too much moderation in the Senate and not enough people to stand up and cry foul when necessary. But the media won’t tell you that.
Why? Well, have you ever watched C-SPAN? It’s more boring than watching paint dry.
More than 99.9 percent of the time, both parties in Congress are working cooperatively and doing a super-duper, stand-up job of figuring out how to further screw the people they supposedly represent.
The system is not broken. It’s fixed.
But the media likes to focus on the Rand Paul’s of the world, or the banality of Rep Joe Wilson (R-SC) who shouted, “You lie!” during a State of the Union Address by President Obama.
That kind of partisan hype makes for better Facebook updates and newspaper headlines than the recent bipartisan push to reauthorize the Defense Spending Act; or last month’s transferring of budget line-item veto power to the president, a scary proposition for all of us, depending on who is sitting in the Oval Office.
Did you see that in the newspaper or on your favorite blog?
And let us not forget what happened just a few days after the “history calls” moment, when Snowe voted along party lines to ultimately reject passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare.
That nugget seemed especially important for Snowe to mention during last month’s Republican caucuses in Maine, where she was facing primary challenges from more conservative candidates.
Reportedly, Snowe votes along party lines nearly 75 percent of the time. Good for her! She’s a Republican, what do you expect? But does breaking ranks one out of four times make you a moderate? Please.
We have become a nation of sheep, bleating for civility and warm, fuzzy sentiment.
But what about Nancy Pelosi’s statements when the House was finally able to pass the controversial health care reform bill? We won…deal with it. Should Democrats be a bit more moderate and side more often with Republicans?
We conveniently forget the rancor that dominated the Continental Congress, the Burr-Hamilton duel, the partisanship that led to the Civil War, the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson, the communists-hunting era of Joe McCarthy or the vitriol expressed by Barry Goldwater, not to mention the more recent call for President Clinton’s impeachment.
Maine people, especially, should be mindful of those lessons and our place in history.
Look at how the GOP slung mud at Ed Muskie; or consider the wisdom of Margaret Chase Smith as she chastised McCarthy: “Have you no shame, sir?”
Instead of heeding the mindless, perfunctory analysis of media pundits, maybe we all should crack a history book every once in a while.
For a fun, yet historically accurate, reminder about our nation’s political discourse and the angry words used by our founding fathers, check out this video.