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Mythical Politics: Perception Clouds the Reality of Political Leanings

10.26.10

Many strong adjectives get thrown around with regard to the current Democratic leadership in Washington.  Usually variations on socialist, communist, and Marxist.  And usually specifically directed Speaker Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Reid, and President Obama.

People point at the deficit, the spending, and the health care reform as evidence that they’re radically left-leaning to the point of being un-American.  Some people refuse to even believe that Obama cut taxes. They also confuse the bank bailouts with the stimulus.

But the main point that many currently unhappy with our elected leaders in D.C. is that they’ve tripled our deficit.

Dave Johnson over at OurFuture.org put together a short list of eight of these myths passed off as facts along with the links to the information that refutes them. I found this one to be the most interesting:

1) President Obama tripled the deficit.
Reality: Bush’s last budget had a $1.416 trillion deficit. Obama’s first budget reduced that to $1.29 trillion.

You can read all eight on his blog post.  We can all have our beliefs, but it doesn’t mean they stand up to facts and reality.  Dislike Obama and his policies all you want; but, he’s not a socialist.  We don’t live in some neo-USSR society nor are we headed that way.  Perhaps we are headed in a direction that you might not think is the best for our country, but one can make liberal policies without being a closet socialist, just like one can make conservative policies without being a closet anarchist.

I’m so sick and tired of hearing about how extreme the Democrats are in their policy making. Disagree with it: fine.  But extreme, much of it is not.  And the stuff that is troubling – the surveillance state that keeps getting more and more entrenched with Obama after Bush’s Patriot Act began the process – either gets dismissed or promoted as a necessity for national security by the same people who declare the health care bill as the end of democracy as we know it.  How can you be against socialism but for the wiretapping and detaining without trial of Americans?

We should have varying ideas on how to fix our economy, how to protect our nation, and how to handle the issues of health care, social security, and immigration. But instead of coming closer to a middle ground, the right fights against this perceived but false notion that the Democrats are so extremely far to the left, causing the Republicans and Tea Party to end up on the extreme right — not just in perception.  It’s like playing tug-o-war with a child but using the same force as if you were playing against an adult — the over-compensation doesn’t pull the flag closer to the middle; it yanks it all the way over.

If most of us hover somewhere around the middle of the political divide – some more to the left, some more to the right – then, what good is this doing for our country?

Image courtesy of toffehoff’s Flickr Photostream.

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3 comments

  1. Oct. 8 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. government ended its 2009 fiscal year with a deficit of $1.4 trillion, the biggest since 1945, the Congressional Budget Office reported.

    The deficit amounted to 9.9 percent of the nation’s economy, triple the size of the shortfall for 2008.


    • True. But much of that was the $700 billion TARP, which has now been said will cost more like $50 billion dollars. Also, the stimulus was in there, as well. But a third of that were tax cuts… which according to the Republicans, pay for themselves.

      The triple the size of the shortfall for 2008 is a bit misleading. The economy itself shrank considerably over this time, which makes the deficit (even if unchanging) end up being a larger percentage of the economy regardless.


  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ryan Mason, Cristian Gonzales. Cristian Gonzales said: Food for thought. "Mythical Politics: Perception Clouds the Reality of Political Leanings" http://t.co/C2kuVmR by @masonry #politics […]



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