A few things leapt out at me through the day:
1) Bush told a questioner at a press conference that he’d only said Rumsfeld and Cheney would stay because he was trying to get the reporter to go on to another question
2) Novak said in an email today (hat tip AmericaBlog) that
a) “the real fault lies with the GOP's Washington establishment, which played its hand at Republican governance so disastrously that by Election Day Republicans could hardly get a cab ride anywhere in middle America;”
b) “the private reaction by Republicans was anger at President Bush and his political team”
3) Rush Limbaugh (hat tip Jim Derych at HuffPo) admits to supporting people–“carrying their water”–when he didn’t want to and didn’t believe in them
These things all reveal one of the main problems with politics today, especially as played by Republicans and conservatives. They’re only concerned with “their side” winning and will say anything, even if it’s contrary to their beliefs and feelings to see to it that power is maintained.
And that has been the problem with our country the last few years–people can’t or won’t admit they’re wrong even when it’s obvious to themselves and everyone else that they are. That’s why we’ve been in Iraq so long–Bush feels it’s weak and lowly to admit he made a mistake and that maybe he’s changed his mind, so he bears down and says “by God we’re gonna stay so I look strong” even though that really means he’ weak and he’s weakening the country, and he ended up fucking up his party’s hold on power.
And that’s what ends up happening when you won’t admit to the truth–the truth smacks you upside the head.
So we have to somehow convince people that really we’re all on the same side–the Constitution’s side,say, or the side of common decency. This my-side’s-better-than-your-side bullshit is not only juvenile, it’s deadly and dangerous. We have to be able to admit when we’re wrong and those of us who were right should not throw “told you so” like stones.
And I realize that what I’m calling “side-ism” is merely a cutesy word for “partisanism.” And that a lot of people, like LarryG in the comments, will argue that the country shouldn’t go too far left or too far right. I think that idea is a good one, especially if one thinks of the “center” as “the Constitution” and/or the founding principles of our country.
It’s like the whole thing about obedience–we shouldn’t be taught blind obedience to authority or lack of authority. The only thing we should maintain blind obedience to is morality and conscience. Similarly, in an ideal situation, Americans would only maintain blind obedience to the Constitution and our founding principles, not to the so-called left or the so-called right.
And if and when we ever get to that place, it would be nice if all Americans would display that obedience to the Constitution in public pronouncements as well as in private conversations and musings.