Steele vs Ford
I just came back from a talk with Michael Steele and Harold Ford Jr.
It was billed as;
The discussion by the two African-American political combatants kicks off UALR’s annual Black History Month program.
One thing that I really enjoyed was the amount of diversity there. Whites, Blacks, Mexican (me) and even an Asian, all together to listen to two great leaders in politics.I think Dr. King would have be proud. Here we are in the South, were 50 plus years ago, the Little Rock 9 had to be lead via police escort to Central High for desegregation. We were all united at least in part by a disgust with what Government is doing.
I think the group was a bit divided with both men received a good deal of applause. One thing that stuck me, was how much Chairman Steele took responsibility for the demise of the GOP. Ford seemed to want to blame the GOP for a lot of the hits Democrats are taking. Cheap political points to be sure.
My question, which I asked both men, was about what lessons could both parties learn from the growing Tea Party and Libertarian movement. Full disclosure here, I lean very Libertarian as of late and I’m very sympathetic to the Tea Party movement as well.
Chairman Steele answered very honestly I think. He talked about how the GOP needs to get back to basics. That the GOP needs to get back to the party of small government, more personal liberty and freedom. After eight years of Bush, I find that a hard thing to do. Bush did a great deal of damage to the GOP.
At least Steele acknowledged that. He said that the GOP has a serious problem with perception. Not in those exact words but I think that was the general drift. I agree with that. The GOP can’t be a party of small government in shadow of W and the profligate GOP Congress of 2000-2006. Not that the Democrats of 2009 are any better. At least Steele didn’t blame the Dems for the GOPs problem. Ford did.
Ford pretty much tried to blame the GOP for everything, from Healthcare to Deficits. Of course it’s a bipartisan problem. Like I said, Steele got my respect for acknowledging that tonight.
Another thing that Steele said that resonated with me, was his notion that bipartisanship is meaningless. I have to agree with him. Bipartisanship is a red herring. It’s an ideal that appeals to most people, but something that is as real as pixie dust.
Bipartisanship really means blame. You hear it all the time from Obama. Obama talks about bipartisanship, but always ends up using it to blame the other side. It’s a strawman. Bipartisanship means having to pay off one or two members from the other side to sign on to a bill that the harms more than it helps.
Take that shame Health Care bill that they were trying to ram through Congress. Did they need any Republican votes to pass that bill? Not until today, when Brown was sworn in as US Senator. The truth is, even giving that Franken didn’t get sworn in until Spring, is that Democrats had a super majority in Both Houses and the Executive Branch to pass what ever they wanted. They only wanted the notion of bipartisanship so they could spread the blame instead of the wealth. That way when the effects of the HC bill go into effect and everyone sees it for the piece of shit bill that it is, the Democrats could the GOP. One of those “Well they did it too” type of logic.
Overall, I was impressed with both men. But more so with Steele. If that causes me to loose some cred in liberal circles, so be it. I really could care less about labels at this point. I want accountability.