Total Symmetry

I read a few political blogs from the Left and Right - not many, because I cannot stand the whole team-politics thing, but I feel like I need to hear what they are saying.  Apparently, Conservatives (after the Supreme Court Obamacare decision) are saying that their side is too soft, too amenable to being intimidated by the Left.

Here is my observation from reading a fairly equal helping of political blogs from both sides:  These sort of things are cherished beliefs of both sides.  I don't have the post-holiday energy to hunt up the links, but I can say with confidence that both Left and Right seem to believe, or at least to write that:

  • Their own side compromises more than the other side does
  • The other side is much more bare knuckles, doing what it takes to win.  Their own side has ethics that always causes them to stop short
  • The other side is better at keeping its members from breaking ranks
  • The other side is raising more money than their side
  • The other side is a vast coordinated conspiracy using a top-down imposed message while their own side is mainly individuals acting independently
  • John Barton

    Sure. But it doesn't follow that both sides are delusional, that the truth is binary, or that whatever the subtler reality may be, it is the case in equal measure across the many issues to which these symmetric views are applied.

    This basic observation reminds me of protests that there's no difference between the parties. At some basic level that may be true, eg: they spend too much. And then we get into details.

  • a leap at the wheel

    The interesting thing is, objectively, one side is right and one side is wrong on each question. We'll just never know which side is right for any particular question, and if one side is right about more of the questions than the other.

  • LarryG

    Geeze.. I didn't know you were gonna throw such FAT BALLs!

    Their own side compromises more than the other side does

    right and that why they won't agree to cuts plus revenues and won't even agree to non-controversial appointments?

    The other side is much more bare knuckles, doing what it takes to win. Their own side has ethics that always causes them to stop short

    My Boy, have you listened to FAUX News lately Hannity, Limbaugh (kiss my ring)?

    The other side is better at keeping its members from breaking ranks

    I assume you are not counting the GOP RINOs tossed out for their moderate views?

    The other side is raising more money than their side

    maybe... maybe not.. with the advent of citizen's united.. where unlimited secret money can be used.. campaign donations are just fodder

    The other side is a vast coordinated conspiracy using a top-down imposed message while their own side is mainly individuals acting independently

    ha ha ha... have you heard of Grover Norquist?

    these are FAT BALLS! try harder!

    :-) hey.. I'm kidding around here..

  • MNHawk

    When I EVER hear an argument that goes along the lines of...

    R-I want to cut* spending by x dollars
    D-I want spending to remain flat
    R-Hey, let's compromise. We'll cut spending by 1/2 x.
    D-OK. Peachy!

    Then I'll believe something other than (My) own side compromises more than the other side does

    * Cut, not slow the baseline, a real cut

  • caseyboy

    We need to drain the swamp by getting money out of Wash DC.

    And while I would agree that both sides use bare knuckled tactics when in power, our current president has taken extraordinary steps to circumvent congress in a number of areas. I fear it will get worse running up to the election.

  • Sam L.

    Sooooo, when was the last time we saw budget reductions? I remember GWB .

  • IGotBupkis -- "Faecies Evenio", Mr. Holder?

    And the fact that both sides have similar positions on their own vs. their opposition does not really mean... ANYTHING.

    It says nothing whatsoever about the validity of the position/view of either side. I think I can fisk the crap out of anyone who claims otherwise.

    The Left is a bunch of lying, unprincipled hacks with an agenda that will destroy this country piecemeal and wholesale.

    The Right certainly has individual subgroups who would do that, but the overall direction of the agenda is otherwise, and those subgroups have far more inertia and force acting against them inside the overall group, to say nothing of the opposition to it represented by The Left themselves.

    Confusing The politicians of The Right with the principles and people acting as members of The Right is ridiculously stupid. It says that we need to get rid of pretty much all existing politicians, and many on The Right would happily do that, but can't seem to get enough people to actually do it -- after all, anyone not already inside is "unelectable".

    The need to Throw The Bastards Out has probably been true since around Jackson's time. Andrew Jackson, that is.

    This is why the principle of "voting against the incumbent" has usually been a good, though simplistic, principle to use as a starting point. It's only recently, where pretty much EVERY option presented by the Left is a lunatic Green-Racist moron who considers Ralph Nader to be a radical member of the John Birch Society that it's been difficult to follow that.

  • IGotBupkis -- "Faecies Evenio", Mr. Holder?

    >>> "At some basic level that may be true, eg: they spend too much. And then we get into details."

    Indeed and precisely. The Right overspends, but usually it's at least on semi-constructive things, like encouraging pipelines, or supporting the development of fracking... Things that, no dispute, ought to be left to private investment.

    The Left's record on overspending is not only much, much more overspending, but on overt cronyism and generally useless boondoggles... Fisker, GM, and Solyndra are only some of the more obvious examples.

    Mainly because the charlatans on the Right at least have actually run a business at some point in their lives, and grasp that you can shear all the sheep but if you turn them all to mutton that's the end of the line.

  • LarryG

    " our current president has taken extraordinary steps to circumvent congress in a number of areas"

    lemme see - who instituted secret kidnapping, people held incognito, people held without charges, people turned out to Egyptians for torture, fought Habeas Corpus and told SCOTUS that Gitmo was outside their jurisdiction?

    re: who spends

    we have a budget sequestration on the table - mandatory across the board cuts and who is squealing the loudest about DOD cuts? From 2000 to 2008 the DOD budget went from 300 billion to over 900 billion. And now the "no tax" folks are saying that any cuts will "hollow out" DOD.

    Look at the budget. There is no way to come close to balancing it with cuts only to entitlements.

    Who has the budget discipline to make the cuts that balance the budget?

    Not the GOP. the DEms big spenders? YUP. Never have they really denied that. But the "no tax" folks have represented themselves as "responsible" fiscal conservatives.

    I blame both for sure but characterizing the GOP as 'restrained' on spending given their record from 2000 - 2006 is ludicrous. Remember the "Deficits don't matter" comment?

    so... across the board cuts in the budget is a "disaster"... right?

  • IGotBupkis -- "Faecies Evenio", Mr. Holder?

    }}}} lemme see – who instituted secret kidnapping, people held incognito, people held without charges, people turned out to Egyptians for torture, fought Habeas Corpus and told SCOTUS that Gitmo was outside their jurisdiction?

    Ummm... Clinton. Sorry to disabuse you. Clinton was the one who first came up with all the crap Bush got sh** over -- ALL of it -- extraordinary rendition, Project Echelon, and so forth, and Clinton openly defended it as fully within his Executive powers.

    You won't take my word for it, of course -- search on "extraordinary rendition" and "project Echelon"... and Clinton didn't have 911 to argue in favor of it.

    >>> From 2000 to 2008 the DOD budget went from 300 billion to over 900 billion.

    Other than the fact that you're a lying paper container of excreta, the actual number is 300.v.700, not 900. It took President Downgrade, with the war winding down, to bring it to 900b.

    .

    Numbers in billions (All GDP numbers from here):
    ============================
    FY 2000:
    Pensions 500
    Health Care 400
    Education 100
    Defense 300
    Welfare 200
    --------
    Spending: 1800
    Deficit: -134 (this, of course, is another of Clinton's hoary lies based on raiding Social Security to hide the budget overage, in effect stealing from the assets set aside to pay for long-term obligations to the American people: The Clinton administration reported a surplus of $559 billion in its final four budget years. The audited numbers showed a deficit of $484 billion)

    Deficit/Spending: (not relevant here)
    INTEREST ON DEFICIT: 206
    Real GDP: 11226
    Spending/GDP: 15.1%
    Defense/GDP: 2.7%
    ============================
    FY 2008:
    Pensions 700
    Health Care 700
    Education 100
    Defense 700
    Welfare 300
    --------
    Spending: 2900
    Deficit: 239
    Deficit/Spending: 8%
    INTEREST ON DEFICIT: 285
    Real GDP: 13162
    Spending/GDP: 21.3%
    Defense/GDP: 5.3%
    ============================

    We are expected to ignore the fact that
    a) The military had been given short shrift by Clinton for 8 years, and had not inconsiderable repair to be done.
    b) There was this thing called The Iraq War going on.
    c) The economy was, by all signs (many of them admittedly incorrect) a booming economy.

    But hey, let's see how Larry's guy is doing -- there's little reason to be in a war (and, by gosh, it's amazing how little the media has to say about it!!):
    ============================
    FY 2012:
    Pensions 800
    Health Care 900
    Education 100
    Defense 900
    Welfare 400
    --------
    Spending: 3800
    Deficit: 1101
    INTEREST ON DEFICIT: 242
    Real GDP: 13471
    Spending/GDP: 28.2%
    Defense/GDP: 6.7%

    So he's certainly not doing America any favors.

    >>>> so… across the board cuts in the budget is a “disaster”… right?

    OK, Larry, here's a challenge for you... show me where people on THIS blog have defended, to any large extent, the size of the current budget. Even on piecemeal elements like Defense, which, at the least, is a Constitutionally defined purpose of government, unlike most of the rest of the folderol above.

    As a matter of fact, identify for us right-leaning blogs which DO have lots of people defending the current US budget. Point to examples, baldfaced claims will be laughed at.

  • brauneyz

    Two sides of the same evil coin.

  • Ted Rado

    BOTH SIDES are destroying our country. Has anybody heard of living within our means?

  • nuclearcannoli

    @ Ted Rado

    They print their means, or throw those in jail who refuse to 'give' it to them, so no worries.

  • Paul

    All this tells me is liberals are out of lunch. Liberals also believe the mainstream media is conservative, even in the age of Obama boot-licking. We're talking about people who believe food stamps create jobs, but the internet destroys them.
    Regarding who compromises more, and which side does whatever it takes to win, why not look at the actual numbers? Are we spending more or less on freeloaders in the past decade? Which side champions freeloaders? There's your answer.

  • drB

    Paul:

    how much was the deficit decreased in few years beginning end of 2002 when President, Congress, and senate were Republican? Or was deficit in fact increased compared to Clinton years?

    I fail to see how both sides are different. They waste money on different things but it is still waste. How much do food stamps cost compared to military adventures in Iraq, and compared to Bush Medicare drug plan?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A9328-2005Feb8.html

  • http://cobslog.blogspot.com/ The COB
  • Paul

    DrB,

    "how much was the deficit decreased in few years beginning end of 2002 when President, Congress, and senate were Republican?"

    2002? Hmmm, I seem to recall some significant events starting around March 2000 and climaxing Septemberish 2001. However, I would agree that the GOP spent too much on failed liberal programs over the decades. The prescription drug benefit was first pushed by the Democrats, especially Bill Clinton and Al Gore when the country was running up <a href="phony surpluses">phony surpluses. and we thought we could afford it.

  • IGotBupkis -- "Faecies Evenio", Mr. Holder?

    >>>> BOTH SIDES are destroying our country. Has anybody heard of living within our means?

    That's what the Tea Party is all about. Getting rid of the RINOs.

    >>>> "I fail to see how both sides are different. They waste money on different things but it is still waste. How much do food stamps cost compared to military adventures in Iraq, and compared to Bush Medicare drug plan?"

    "Food Stamps" are not a Constitutionally mandated purpose of government. "To Provide for the Common Defense", is. And no, Iraq was not "military adventurism". Saddam was a threat to the USA and its citizens, for a dozen already long-since defined reasons, and anyone who claims that they don't grasp that is a lying sack of bovine excreta or a troll or both.

    I'll more than amply grant the GOP failed to rein in the excesses of the Democratic minority/majority at ALL times, as will most people around here and, in fact, in many places. That does not equate them 100% to the spendthrifts themselves.

    Use the above links to examine how money got spent during the Clinton era, with the Clinton WH budgeting the whole schmeer. Only the GOP majority in Congress kept Clinton from boosting Welfare through the roof, while holding off the whole socialized healthcare boondoggle for an additional decade and a half.

  • http://hertzlinger.blogspot.com Joseph Hertzlinger

    It's interesting to compare the comments at this recent Althouse post with an Althouse post from a few years ago.

  • drB

    Bupkis -

    1. About Tea Party - please see http://www.centerforsmallgovernment.com/feature/1-8-budget-cut-by-house-republicans-mad-hatters-tea-party-not-a-boston-tea-party/
    Also there is a quite interesting piece of news as to tea partiers accepting donations from bailed out banks: http://www.drudge.com/news/156292/tea-partiers-take-bank-donations

    So I fail to see how those politicians are different.

    2. When did Iraq attacked US? "Defense" does not mean "offense", Iraq war had all to do with access to oil and not with "defense" or "weapons of mass destruction" which was Bush justification. I fail to see how attacking Iraq was constitutional or justified. BTW it is fun to ask liberals how does Obama fare with respect to Bush in warmongering.

    3. Medicare drug program was pushed through by Bush who is not a democrat. Granted it is welfare also to pharma, which probably was GWB reason for supporting it.

    4. I agree that Clinton was restrained by Republicans in Congress, but why did they not restrain Bush?
    Repubs had majority in house and Senate and presidency. They did not bring fiscal house in order and so they lost all credibility in that manner.

  • stan

    But there are some objective tests which will answer some of those questions. Add up the NGOs inside the beltway by liberal/conservative divide. Do the same for their budgets. Do the same for special interest groups and their spending/campaign organizing.

    This is all the same crap we hear in the global warming arena. And as we know in the global warming fight, one side really does have all the money, one side does fight dirty, one side does have a near-monopoly on the news media, etc.

  • Zachriel

    Coyote Blog: Here is my observation from reading a fairly equal helping of political blogs from both sides...

    That's because cooption of rhetoric, not actual equivalence. For instance, on compromise, many leading Republicans had said they would not accept 90% in spending cuts and a 10% in new revenues, even though they claim the deficit is destroying the economy. Or the Minority Leader of the Senate saying defeating the President was more important than working on legislation. They then claim the President is not willing to compromise.

  • me

    Anyone who seriously argues that Republicans are preferable to Democrats because they are not such big spenders has been living under a rock for the last decade. The problem we face in this country has much more to do that we have to choose between big spenders in favor of overregulation and overregulators in favor of big spending.

  • Patrick

    Both parties play with alot of coin. My gripe is; how does someone get elected that says he will cut spending, the size and reach of Government, and promise to stay out of my business? I think that we need to rethink the objectives of the this Government as they have grown well past what I beleive is reasonable. I am already taxed to the point where I have little discretionary income, yet I still do not partake in any government subsidies or programs. The government has grown to the point where it's tenacles are in everything under the sun, and it is crippling the small business sector. Perhaps instead of talking about parties it would be more fruitful to discuss how to get the train back on the rails? I think that both parties have abandoned all sound principles of economics, and that the party which can get that back into government will make this a better place. Income redistribution should be done by the individual, and not through a reduction or limitation of competition, or a "tax" or "fee".
    Just my two cents, which is my net worth.

  • tomw

    "My guys may be bad, but, look here, your guys did it too..."
    Who cares. If there was any desire to cut government spending and cross out a few pieces of legislation, it could have been done. Instead we see every little thing turned into a vehicle of disdain against an opponent, though the idea in question could have been proposed by either side.
    "Let's keep it as an issue... to make XXX look bad."
    Thanks, guys, but that is not your job. Your job is not to diddle the numbers to get yourself re-elected, or to pad out the party's books and membership, to insure your fellow legislators gain seniority and thus more power.
    It was to govern. And you have failed at that miserably. The current president rules, and ignores the laws of the land. He does NOT govern, much as you have not governed, but have distorted and bastardized government to your will, not that of the people. Perhaps you have done such a poor job that they will start to pay attention, and toss your a** out next November.
    tom