Friday, January 15, 2010

Liberal vs. conservative party? People prefer competence

"conservative" commentator gasbag Jonah Goldberg taken down a peg in his own newspaper (it runs his column, anyway)

(This letter appeared in USA Today on January 11, 2010)

Commentary writer Jonah Goldberg makes an error common to professional pundits: He assumes that elections and their aftermath are all part of a big football game, with the American people being the ball. Sometimes we're at the 50 yard line, sometimes to the left of it, sometimes to the right. But to him, it's all just a game, with only two teams: the Reds (Republicans) and the Blues (Democrats). The only winners and losers are the political parties in elections ("For liberalism, it's hangover time," The Forum, Tuesday).

But the people are not a football. We're humans with real lives and real pain. We don't care who "wins" or who "loses" the political games when we have a whopping hospital bill for a sick child that we can't pay that will force us into bankruptcy; when our jobs are in jeopardy; when our families have soldiers on deployment facing death or dismemberment.

We don't want a liberal or a conservative government; we want a competent government. One to rein in out-of-control health care costs and make the care affordable for all. One to oversee a banking system that doesn't jack up fees or self-destruct, requiring hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to bail it out. We want a president and Congress that don't needlessly expend the lives of American soldiers out of fear of losing the next election.

And we need political analysts who focus more on competence, or lack of it, than on which political party is advancing the football.

James Finkelstein
Albany, Georgia (oui, c'est moi)

This letter inspired at least two people- one from Maryland, one from Florida- to take the time to look up my office phone number and call to compliment me on the ideas expressed.


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