Excessiveness is a deadly virus in the American political system



VSTake this as a plea for a return to non-tribalistic sanity and decency.

News item: Ultra-liberal Democrats say they will not vote for a federal “infrastructure” law because it’s not right enough. News article from four years ago: Ultraconservative Republicans are killing efforts to repeal Obamacare, a longtime goal of theirs, because they didn’t get everything they wanted in the bill concerned at the start of a long legislative process.

Breaking news from nearly every battle on Capitol Hill over the past decade: Bills with a host of items almost everyone agrees on are killed because one side insists on Also get items that the other party can’t agree on. It’s the “I get everything I want or I walk away from the table” approach. It’s the “I’d rather win an issue to beat the other side on than get at least a partial victory for the American people.”

And this is an approach completely contrary to both American constitutional design and common sense. James Madison and company designed the Constitution to promote incrementalism, consensus, and what Madison called in Federalist 37 the “spirit of moderation.” Even in the 1990s, the custom of Congress was for each “side” to fight for as many of its priorities as possible, but ultimately agree to as much as all sides could agree to while leaving the rest of their desires for later. battles.

This attitude has been replaced by an “all or nothing” mentality, which tells conservatives that their main job is to “own the libs” and tells liberals that anything less than “transforming America” ​​is acceptable – and that the transformation must be rapid, almost revolutionary.

It’s deeply un-American and, frankly, self-defeating. If you really think new infrastructure is important and you can get, say, $500 billion, then isn’t it better to accept the $500 billion than to hold out for a trillion dollars and to get exactly zero?

However, the fault is not only with the politicians of today. They are inspired by an increasingly polarized, impatient and immoderate public. As any journalist or Twitter regular knows, ungodly hordes of people now insist that almost every issue is a “binary choice.” You can’t write a single negative word about Donald Trump without being accused of pining for Joe Biden, and you can’t write a single word against Biden without being branded an agent of Trumpian fascism.

Dare to suggest the election wasn’t “stolen” from Trump and watch the right-wing populist crowd scream that you’re an advocate for voter fraudsters. Tell the left the truth that voter fraud and mistakes are common problems? Get slammed with accusations of “vote suppression” or aiding Trump’s “insurrection” attempt.

Nowhere does there seem to be room for “yes, there are serious issues with the integrity of the voting systems, but that was not enough to change the 2020 election”.

Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney has one of the most sturdily conservative records in Congress, but when she dares to speak the truth about the Capitol riot, suddenly she’s a squishy Republican in name only. (Never mind that the now hackneyed appellation “RINO” is one of the dumbest political slurs ever invented.) And when Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin insists on preserving the filibuster rules that, there less than five years ago, Senate Democrats insisted they stood alone between America and Nazism, the left now scoffs at her intellectual coherence as give in to white supremacy.

All these excesses constitute a serious illness. It threatens the very fabric of the American republic. It must be renounced, avoided and convincingly defeated.

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