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On Why I Don’t Like Democrats

A while back, I was on the mailing list of both the Republican and Democratic national parties, as well as both parties’ Governors’ Associations. As you could imagine, that led to a great deal of e-mail. Eventually, I decided that I couldn’t stand reading the Republican rhetoric, and I unsubscribed from their lists. I decided to stay on some of the Democratic lists, though, because I couldn’t stand their rhetoric, either. Confused?

The thing is that even as a proud and outspoken independent, sometimes it’s difficult for me to remember why it is that I don’t like Democrats (as a party, not individually). They are in favor of gay rights; I am in favor of gay rights. They are pro choice; I am pro choice. They think taxes need to be raised in a progressive fashion; I think taxes need to be raised in a progressive fashion. They blame President George W. Bush for overseeing the country from peace and surplus to a country in economic turmoil, two wars and increased debt; I blame President George W. Bush for those things, as well.

So with all of that agreement, sometimes it’s nice to have a little note pop up in your inbox that serves as a reminder that out-of-context, ugly, dialogue-twisting messages to serve their own political purpose come from both sides. Distortions and occasional lies are just status quo for both parties. That has again been made clear recently with the Obama campaign dropping the word “felony” into its anti-Bain rhetoric, when all sources privy to the goings-on at Bain during the time in question seem to agree that Romney was not in the wrong for the time in question. The factcheck.org entry on this issue is pretty thorough, if you’re curious.

So the Democrats are all part of the same, faulty system. But there’s something else that bothers me that’s far less quantifiable but also far more important. It seems to me like Democrats have a difficult time making tough choices. It’s actually what Congress is paid to do: come up with solutions to tough problems by making tough choices.

This shortcoming is most evident in terms of budgetary issues. Back when the Democrats controlled the House and the Senate (and the presidency), no budget was passed. The reason given in the article was to wait on the bipartisan debt reduction plan to be published, though once it was, those recommendations were not heeded, anyway. More of note from the article was the following quote:

House Democrats will not pass a budget blueprint in 2010, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) will confirm in a speech on Tuesday. But Hoyer will vow to crack down on government spending, saying Democrats will enforce spending limits that are lower than what President Barack Obama has called for.

You may notice that Rep. Hoyer mentioned the need to cut spending and enact new spending limits, but failed to produce the document that decided what should be cut and by how much. A similar failure recently took place in my home state of Maryland. The problem is that while it is easy to attack Republican cuts (easy because cuts are unpopular and because they are making some really bad choices about what to cut), it’s much harder to come up with a workable, realistic blueprint that makes the necessary cuts.

Among the most important things that need to be addressed when meting out fiscal policy is entitlement reform. Any knowledgeable, objective person could tell you that. Many Democrats may have even admitted it at some point during their careers. However, because the Republicans have a plan for reform that the Democrats and the American people probably wouldn’t like too much, the Democratic talking point has been more about preserving Social Security and Medicare than fixing them. This is likely setting themselves up for predictable counter-arguments if they ever come up with a solid reform plan on their own (what goes around, comes around).

I could go on about specific policies or examples of times that I’ve disagreed with Democratic talking points, but there should never be an expectation of 100% agreement. I think the most important issues I have with the party are as stated: they are an active participant in a flawed party system and when push comes to shove, they fail to make the tough choice. When Republicans rail against the ACA (Obamacare), a common retort is “where’s the alternative plan?” When Democrats rail against the Paul Ryan budget, I would ask the same thing to them.

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