Now, as a solid right-winger, I’m generally inclined to scoff at concepts like “a uniter, not a divider,” even when they come from politicians I’m generally inclined to support. I’m always wary of moderate Republicans, who seem to use phrases like “unity” and “inclusivenes” and “being part of the process” as an excuse to knuckle under, and give the Democrats ALMOST everything they want.
I mean, there’s a good reason that Congressional Democrats still wine and dine and toast former Republican leaders like Gerald Ford and Bob Michel. Guys like Ford and Michel would have been not only content but delitiously HAPPY to stay Minority Leader forever. Michel’s philosophy: when liberal Democrats proposed a ten billion dollar expenditure, and conservative Republicans called it a waste of money, Michel would negotiate, say, an 8 billion dollar expenditure… which gave the Democrats pretty much everything they wanted, but allwoed him to go back to his constituents and boast that he’d saved them 2 billion (when he’d ACTUALLY cost them 8 billion).
But back to the original point. George W. Bush claimed that he’d be a “uniter, and not a divider.” Thus, when he did things like appoint John Ashcroft, take action against abortion, and endorse federal spending on faith-based programs, a lot of liberals acted as if they’d been betrayed… as if, by trying to implement a conservative agenda, Bush was breaking his promise to be a uniter.
What I’m wondering, though, is this:
Assuming a politician of ANY persuasion really WANTED to be a “uniter”… how, exactly, would he/she go about it?
I KNOW, I’ve been baiting liberals here, but my question is serious. How the heck does ANYONE “unite” America on an issue like abortion (just to take one example)? By ignoring it? By maintaining the status quo? If you don’t like Bush’s approach, fine… but what WOULD you consider a “uniting” action? In my opinion, there is absolutely NO way to be a “uniter” on this issue.
Fact is, virtually EVERYONE who tries to find “middle ground” is dishonest. Invariably, the “middle ground” comes down squarely on the pro- or anti- side.
This is true not only of the abortion issue but of MOST contentious issues. How can you “unite” people who don’t share anything resembling similar values?
How can you “unite” socialists and passionate capitalists? How can anyone find common ground there? How can one “unite” Earth Firsters and loggers? How can one “unite” people who don’t speak the same language or hold the same things sacred?
In my opinion, the answer is… you DON’T! You fight as hard as you can for what you believe in (knowing full well that you won’t get everything you want, or even most of it), and take no prisoners. You fight like hell, when need be, and you don’t worry about being called “a fanatic” or “mean-spirited.”
In short, I think things like “unity” and “bipartisanship” are highly overrated. If George W. likes Tom Daschle on a personal level, and wants to invite him over for barbecues on the weekend, swell… but he’s nuts if he ever forgets for even a second that, from 9 to 5, Daschle is his enemy.