The fog of debate is illustrated

Partisan pump priming By Gary Andres in a Washington Times Op/Ed Arpil 9 illustrates how support for important policital issues changes depending upon who is doing the argument. Issues such as the Medicare prescription-drug law and Social Security but not “other important issues where the partisan debate has not reached an apex, like energy policy or immigration reform” highlight differences in polling data that “demonstrates more attenuated differences between Republicans and Democrats.”

These numbers suggest partisan rhetoric has a major impact on rank in file and that differing policy views among citizens are, in part, driven more by rhetorical heat than deep disagreements about problems and solutions. Voters are both drawn to and repelled by a good political fight — an enduring political paradox. The late Mr. Goldwater would be pleased with the “choices, not echoes” offered by today’s political parties, but he would expect more from the Democrats as a true loyal opposition. He believed there was a time to sheath rhetorical swords and encourage voters to find common ground. But political parties also have the responsibility to generate policy illumination, not just political sparks. The question is: Can the Democrats stop the permanent campaign long enough to execute that important pivot and produce some light as well?

The role of a political leader should be to clarify issues. Sadly it is becoming obvious that this is not the case. Even more sadly it appears that members of one party are not very tightly bonded to values or facts because their views change depending upon the politcal weather.

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