Politics Is a Blood Sport

Monday, 31 Dec 2007 11:43 AM

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"All government — indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue and every prudent act — is founded on compromise and barter.”

— Edmund Burke

The way too long prelude to the 2008 presidential Super Bowl is over.

The real deal presidential campaign is about to begin. The New England Patriots concluded their season with an historic 16-0 record that none of the ’08 presidential wannabes will see.

The next three games for the Pats will be like the next 11 months for the White House derby. However, for the Pats is will be quicker, and less violent and mean spirited. A 260-pound linebacker slamming into the blind side of Randy Moss is kumbaya compared to Hillary’s special ops teams dissecting an Obama elementary school term paper or a GOP attack on their party leader du jour.

I’ve said it before and I say it again: Politics is a blood sport. The perpetual "us versus them" acrimony builds like a Tchaikovsky-Wagner collaboration to a crescendo concluding like a Shakespeare fifth act.

Henry Clay, in an 1850 speech, said, “Sir I would rather be right than be president.” The conventional contemporary wisdom seems to suggest that any and all of the current presidential wannabe herd would rather be president than be right.

Peggy Noonan www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/pnoonan/?id=110011048 and others have looked at the handicapping as we near the club house turn. “Some will be done in. Some will be made. Some will land just right or wrong and wake up the next day to read raves or obits . . . The endless campaign is in fact nearing its climax.”

Peggy says her new slogan is "Reasonable Person for President," however it begs the more significant desire for reasonable voters.

It is a sad reality that both voters and candidates are flawed. Noonan says, “We are grown-ups,” but way too often we (voters and candidates) sure don’t play the part.

Most voters do not subscribe to the gospel of the left or right. Hey, in this campaign, even the left and right candidates don’t subscribe to their own dogma.

Politics is the art of compromise, yet every election cycle we see pols pandering to their base to win the nomination and then morphing into a homogeneous flavor to pander to a wider audience in the general election.

Former President Gerald Ford said, “I believe in friendly compromise . . . Truth is the glue that holds government together. Compromise is the oil that makes governments go.” The contemporary political landscape suffers major deficiencies of both glue and oil.

Today we are so focused on our differences and defense of diversity; we have become blinded to the macro common interest. It is a good thing that past injustices, prejudice and bigotry have been addressed. It is a bad thing that we have so over reacted and sensitized everyone and everything to the slightest perception of hurt feelings that we have deconstructed the melting pot into a collection of diverse single elements.

We as a country are so divided, sectioned, and parsed that the potential for consonance (on almost anything) is impossible. We are so diversified; PC-ized, fragmented, and accommodating that most of the preparation of the battlefield heavy lifting has already been done for any potential and patient enemy.

Once upon a time we reveled in our nationalism. World War II saw blacks, Jews, Muslims, Christians, Buddahists, rednecks, and Yankees uniting, not in their diversity, but in their commonality: nationalism. Like a Scribean foreshadow of Charlie Daniels, “We’ll all come together and you can take that to the bank . . . the cowboys and the hippies and the rebels and the yanks.”

None of us is going to find a candidate that services all our wants and needs.

Even Ron Paul who is arguably more of a constitutional conservative than anyone else in play is epically wrong on Iraq. He is right about what went wrong, but tragically flawed in suggesting we abandon Iraq to the vagaries of Iran. That alone disqualifies him for me (and I really really like him otherwise).

Edwards is as phony and disingenuous as a three dollar bill. Hillary makes Iago seem like a good guy, and Obama is really untested in the big show although he is both literate and charismatic.

I have been a harsh critic of Hillary Clinton since 1991 and find no reason to revise my assessments. Noonan observes. “she appears to believe that any act that benefits Clintons is a virtuous act, because Clintons are good and deserve to be benefited.” Not!

”Mrs. Clinton is the most dramatically polarizing, the most instinctively distrusted, political figure of my lifetime. Yes, I include Nixon.” Noonan adds. Ouch!

I like Duncan Hunter (beyond the fraternal affection of an Airborne/Ranger) and Fred Thompson. They are both “reasonable, mature, accomplished, nonradical.”

Elaine Heffner once observed, “it is possible to survive frustration, it is possible to wait for what he wants, it is possible to compromise without capitulating.”

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