Fair and Balanced

by Belle Waring on April 14, 2004

I laughed when I saw this AP headline: “Bush Speech Elicits Applause, Dread.” I guess that about sums it up.



Andrew Boucher 04.14.04 at 12:18 pm

I didn’t see the press conference, but just have been reading reactions. It is simply amazing to me how polarized the U.S. has become. This bodes ill for the ability of either party to govern in Jan. 2005.


Nat Whilk 04.14.04 at 3:39 pm

Perhaps this question is going to be a sign of my own partisanship, but is it conceivable that one side is more at fault for the polarization than the other? Or are Republicans as much at fault for liking Bush’s speech as Democrats are for hating it?


Hinderlands 04.14.04 at 3:57 pm

To sound trite I blaim the media, Television to be exact. Television has always tried to get thing to the emotional level and avoided explaining complex issues in a complex manner. Now many people only think on an emotional level (emote?) and will only react on emotional level. Any thing resembling a reasoned discorse fades from public life.

I am reading political Blogs from both sides of the spectrum and all I see are strong emotiomal words and little reason. They answer as a child would — “I hate that, I hate this” — without give a reasoned response to an idea or event. I really want to know the reason behide there emoting; not bluster but the underlying philosophy. They blame the other side with out giving me a reason to agree or disagree. I am finding this whole “post modern” world disgusting. I really don’t get most of this excitement from either side.

Thank you for reading my rant.


Matt Weiner 04.14.04 at 4:05 pm

Nat, yes, it is conceivable. Go look up Newt Gingrich’s list of words to use to describe Democrats if you would like to see the origin of our political polarization. I admit that the Democrats have now, to some extent, begun to fight back using the same tactics.


Nat Whilk 04.14.04 at 4:12 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:

“Go look up Newt Gingrich’s list of words to use to describe Democrats if you would like to see the origin of our political polarization.”

Ah, so that’s when it all started. Before Gingrich, liberals and conservatives were holding hands and singing “Kumbaya”?


Hinderlands 04.14.04 at 5:01 pm

Looking at the dicourse here I think a history lesson is needed. In 1805 Arron Burr kills politcal rival Alexander Hamliton in a dual. Burr is force to resign as Vice-president . In 1857 Senator Summer of Massachusetts is caned by a Representative form South Carolina who was reelected by people of South Carolina. I note that:

The nation, suffering from the breakdown of reasoned discourse that this event symbolized, tumbled onward toward the catastrophe of civil war.

is the Senate’s web site take on the last situation. We never had a great history of civil discourse in the United States but in the past 50 years we kept these minor differences from getting out hand. But now we are losing it I think.


Brian Weatherson 04.14.04 at 5:13 pm

liberals and conservatives were holding hands and singing “Kumbaya”?

I always wondered what polarisation meant. Now we have a putative definition: not that.

I’m inclined to think Matt’s right and Gingrich is largely responsible for the current round of polarisation. Although it may have been inevitable once the Dixiecrats crossed the floor – it meant there were fewer policy agreements between the parties. So maybe Gingrich was a trigger for an inevitability.

I think some polarisation is a good thing – it’s nice for people to know what they’re voting for when they tick D or R. The problem is that the need for moderate bipartisan cooperation is so ingrained in the system.

Having parties that hate each other can be fine. Having electoral boundaries chosen (and ‘independent’ inquries run) by a bipartisan body can be fine. The combination is a total disaster.


Matt Weiner 04.14.04 at 7:35 pm

Of course Gingrich didn’t start polarization, but I think he aggravated it to a degree that has seriously damaged the ability of the U.S. to get along. Think of the Clinton Administration proposals that didn’t garner a single Republican vote, such as his first budget. I can’t recall any Reagan/Bush I proposal that was so monolithically opposed. Or consider the GOP senators who blocked every single Clinton judicial appointment in their home states. Or consider the shutdown of the federal government in 1995.


Ralph Luker 04.14.04 at 9:57 pm

Hinderlands’ little history lesson is quite well to the point, as is the concluding comment that “now we are losing it, I think.” A case in point: this story


Barbar 04.15.04 at 1:59 am

What we need now is a decent moderate to be President, to “change the tone” in Washington, if you will. Perhaps a “compassionate conservative” could do the trick.

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