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Conversation or polarization in politics

Michael Sean Winters writes in Wednesday's "Distinctly Catholic" column in the National Catholic Reporter about polarization in the political system (he does the Church tommorrow) by covering the water front. He ignores some of the ugly truth, but read his essay anyway, which you can find at I don't, though I wonder if he will finally respond to what I am saying in print. I will cite this story in his comments and see if he takes the bait. Here are my comments:

President Obama does not do a lot of relationship building with Congress because he uses Vice President Joe Biden for that rather effectively He is almost forced to after that oaf from Kentucky held a meeting the night of his first inaugural and promised that nothing Obama wanted would pass - with Fox News essentially lying to their audience, feeding them RNC talking points in place of news. When one side is commited to a discuss that is no discussion, there is nothing much to say.

Hillary Clinton knows that the same people (at Fox) who went after her husband will come after her - indeed they already are. This is why Barack was such a brilliant choice in 2008 - the GOP had their anti-Clinton strategy already and were not set to go after Obama except in some of the most vile terms on their own weblists (some of which I saw - which also demonstrates why there will be no national conversation on Race). Whether I feel comfortable with a second Clinton presidency (frankly, I prefer General Clark - but maybe he can be Veep), there is no Republican out there that I would vote for - certainly neither Christie or Ryan. I suspect that the majority of electoral votes go the same way, which is why the GOP attack machine gets so vile every four years.

As far as guns, there is not really much deliberation to do, especially with Scalia still on the Court. That is where the discussion will ultimately occur because, like abortion, we are talking about questions of rights, not questions of what the public wants. This is also way marriage equality is inevitable, even though they don't want to decide now - the die is pretty much cast on this issue - as it should be. If MSW or the Church don't like that, they need to realize that Catholic hospitals that did not accept long time companions as next of kin, instead deferring to blood relatives who often do not accept their child's homosexuality, have brought the need for marriage equality into stark reality and deserve what is happening now. I am sure we will talk more about that tomorrow.

Things have been worse and I doubt any fix to gerrymandering will last long (unless we adopt proportional representaton in large states). The politics of the 1880s and 1890s was equally rough - as was the antebellum political culture (which in the south brooked no dissent on slavery without a violent response). Ross never had a chance due to demographic reality and as for the calls for strong leadership from the left (or right) during the FDR administration, I am sure that they were truely meant, but they did give FDR an extreme bargaining chip to get Social Security and the New Deal passed. Indeed, the lack of such movements on a larger scale (like Occupy actually having demands) is why Obama's hand is limited. A strong left wing campaign to do more of what (we) want may be what is required to get anything done in this capitalist dominated political system (on both sides - which is the datum that MSW missed).

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