Thursday, May 18, 2006

Talking Sense, or Pandering?

I suppose it largely turns on whose ox is being gored, but in the last week or so, their have been several ostensibly sensible speeches by political figures. Alternatively, they would say that...

First, we have Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, either trying to blunt the ongoing attacks on Dems, arguing that a GOP loss of the house will result in some combination of endless partisan hearings, retailiatory impeachment proceedings, and the Stay-Puft Marshmellow man signalling the coming apocalype or plotting a sensible course for oversight:
So, rather than seeking impeachment, I have chosen to propose comprehensive oversight of these alleged abuses. The oversight I have suggested would be performed by a select committee made up equally of Democrats and Republicans and chosen by the House speaker and the minority leader.

The committee's job would be to obtain answers -- finally. At the end of the process, if -- and only if -- the select committee, acting on a bipartisan basis, finds evidence of potentially impeachable offenses, it would forward that information to the Judiciary Committee. This threshold of bipartisanship is appropriate, I believe, when dealing with an issue of this magnitude.

One-party rule has dug our nation into a deep hole over the past six years. The Judiciary Committee needs to fully implement the recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission, strengthen laws against wartime fraud, ban trade with state sponsors of terrorism, increase funding for community policing and protect government whistle-blowers. Most important, before we have another presidential election, I believe we need to pass laws protecting the integrity of our electoral system -- the very foundation of our democracy.
Sounds good, but, he would say that, wouldn't he?

Similarly, John McCain, in the Lion's Den at Liberty University last weekend (a great speech, BTW, hard to pick out the best parts to excerpt):
Americans should argue about this war. It has cost the lives of nearly 2500 of the best of us. It has taken innocent life. It has imposed an enormous financial burden on our economy. At a minimum, it has complicated our ability to respond to other looming threats. Should we lose this war, our defeat will further destabilize an already volatile and dangerous region, strengthen the threat of terrorism, and unleash furies that will assail us for a very long time. I believe the benefits of success will justify the costs and risks we have incurred. But if an American feels the decision was unwise, then they should state their opposition, and argue for another course. It is your right and your obligation. I respect you for it. I would not respect you if you chose to ignore such an important responsibility. But I ask that you consider the possibility that I, too, am trying to meet my responsibilities, to follow my conscience, to do my duty as best as I can, as God has given me light to see that duty.

Americans deserve more than tolerance from one another, we deserve each other’s respect, whether we think each other right or wrong in our views, as long as our character and our sincerity merit respect, and as long as we share, for all our differences, for all the noisy debates that enliven our politics, a mutual devotion to the sublime idea that this nation was conceived in – that freedom is the inalienable right of mankind, and in accord with the laws of nature and nature’s Creator.

We have so much more that unites us than divides us. We need only to look to the enemy who now confronts us, and the benighted ideals to which Islamic extremists pledge allegiance -- their disdain for the rights of Man, their contempt for innocent human life -- to appreciate how much unites us.
This sentiment runs throughout the speech, and it is a beautiful one, but then "the Straight Talk Express" would deliver this message, wouldn't he?

And of course, there was President Bush's immigration speech, which everyone seems to view as pandering, despite the eminent sensibility of recognizing that we just aren't going to deport 11 million people and/or build the Great Wall of Texas.

How do we determine whom to believe and who is merely politiking-as-usual (as if those are mutually exclusive propositions)? Are we really forced to listen to pundits and their bullshit about 'authenticity'? (Consider Joe Klein's near cult-like devotion to 'authenticity'. Except where a candidate displays all the his defnied characteristics of authenticity and he savages them anyway.)

There is so much noise, so much spin, so much out-and-out perveracation, that how is a non-junkie supposed to keep track?

No comments: