American Hyper-Partisanship

Dishing it out

Dishing it out (Photo credit: ArtBrom)

Last night, President Obama and Governor Romney made news by being civil to each other. At the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York, they laughed at themselves and each other and praised each other’s families. This stood out because, the rest of the time, the gloves are off. We have no reason to think that will change after election day. The negative campaign ads will end, but the accusations, meanness, and hyper-partisanship won’t.

With plenty of exceptions, Democrats and Republicans will probably continue to paint the other side as liars or fools—especially as we approach the “fiscal cliff.” But instead of working to find common ground and solve our serious problems through compromise, I suspect that too many people on each side will go on attacking anyone who thinks differently. (more…)

Trust, Lies, and the Election

Apparently, this presidential campaign is full of lies, and accusations of lying, but Americans don’t seem to care too much.

Screenshot of Pinocchio from the trailer for the film Pinocchio (1940). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Calling someone a liar “crosses a line,” but it’s now become part of the “formal strategy” at the highest levels, says Daniel Henninger in the WSJ. After explaining that this tactic was used to destroy opponents during political show trials in the 1930s, he asks how “an accusation once confined to the lowest, whiskey-soaked level of politics or rank propaganda campaigns is occurring daily in American politics?” As a case in point, during last night’s vice presidential debate, Biden accused Ryan of “being full of it,” and then the two chuckled about it. (more…)

About the Georgian parliamentary election

The parliamentary election in Georgia this week has been very surprising, for several reasons. I believe this could be the first time that the opposition “officially” beats the ruling party (by actual vote count and not simply by exit poll results). That would be a tremendous step forward for a country where, at least in the past, those in power could fix things to assure themselves a victory, and the people could do little about it. The final results aren’t in yet, but this could be the first time for the country to have a transition of power that happens through elections, and not by means of a coup, civil war, or mass protest. The people need and deserve that kind of precedent.

I was also surprised that President Mikheil Saakashvili acknowledged that his ruling party would now become the opposition–before all the votes were even counted.

English: Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvil...

English: Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in Tbilisi, March 22, 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Going from the time I’ve spent living there and all of the political conversations I’ve had with Georgians, such “gentlemanly” behavior is not typical for their country’s politics. (more…)