National politics isn’t our bailiwick, but here we are, risking a brickbat or two at a time when political strategy too often involves vilifying and defaming opponents instead of debating opposing points of view without coming to blows.
Nothing illustrates that more than Tuesday’s vote in the House of Representatives to evict Kevin McCarthy from his office as House speaker.
As a political move, it’s difficult to understand, because the instigators of this rebellion have done nothing more than given half the nation’s voting population a different group of people with whom they will strenuously disagree. This discounts, of course, this faction’s delivery of a leaderless House during a critical period in the country.
That’s the irony of all this. No matter what members of either party say or do, so many voters see things differently that long-term success is beyond their grasp.
That political division and the refusal to entertain the idea of compromise is because both sides believe in “immutable principles,” which means principles that are absolutely, irrefutably correct. That is until they change, which they do.
The GI Bill, for instance, had a difficult path getting through Congress in 1944 because of “principled” stands regarding socialism, “lazy” types coming back from World War II and riding the unemployment wagon, and the fear that veterans would flood colleges and universities and turn them into “hobo jungles.”
The public needs to recognize that political intransigence in government is a train that takes no one anywhere but is expensive to maintain. One would think, given the need to get this train moving again, that some pragmatism is in order, even if it’s begrudgingly.
As economist John Kenneth Galbreath observed, “Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.”
That, at least, is better than nothing, which is what we are getting now and could get for months and years to come.