Concerning the recent debates on Capitol Hill about the budget, Shane Vander Hart says Mike Huckabee was unprincipled, while Sarah Palin is principled. If something really is a principle, it is not a matter of compromise, however.
In the day of the internet, cable TV, and talk radio, the gawking class has an unprecedented opportunity, or should I call it the ordeal, of watching legislation made, up-close and personal. It’s not called sausage-making for no reason at all. It’s rather disgusting. It’s really more like watching a trainwreck; when it is all over, you just hope there are some survivors.
Legislation is sadly made in such a way as to regularly force people to vote for things they don’t want in order to get the things they do want. That is not compromise, it’s insanity. How would you like to face a bill that requires you to shoot your mother in order to save your wife? I’m sure many legislators would rather have their teeth pulled out through their ears with a rope than vote one way or the other on some of this tripe. Indeed, democracy is the worst form of government that exists, except for all the others.
We are facing crushing deficits and unconstitutionally bloated federal spending that could soon bring us to our knees.
As part of the current budget proposals, an issue related to spending was added to the mix: Planned Parenthood. PP runs the nation’s largest chain of abortuaries. Republicans wanted to defund the organization. Good for them.
There are two possible principles involved in this issue, as I see it: defunding Planned Parenthood, and getting “?X?” billion dollars in spending reductions.
Let’s look at defunding Planned Parenthood. If this was a matter of principle, you would have to get a promise from the principle-holder that they will never vote for a budget until Planned Parenthood is removed (emphasis on NEVER!). In other words, it wouldn’t matter if the budget reduced the deficit by $200 billion dollars a year, they wouldn’t vote for it, unless PP funding was removed. Will you find any takers on that one? Not likely. I wish we did. THAT would be a principled stand. I would applaud it. But I don’t hear any GOP members or future presidential candidates talking like that, not a single one. Not Sarah Palin, not Mike Huckabee.
Republicans rightly blamed Obama for threatening the paychecks of our soldiers during this drama. But, to set out the lives of unborn children as bait (that you are willing later to have eaten), is just plain wrong. This reminds me of the millions of dollars and hours spent debating “partial birth abortion”, giving cover to the strongest abortion advocates to define themselves as pro-life by voting for legislation that would not save a single life.
Principles are what you go to jail for. Or give up your job or elected office for. Or get burned at the stake for. They aren’t something you sacrifice when a better deal comes along. If you are president of the United States and you are principled pro-life you might say, “I would never, ever, knowingly nominate a single federal judge or Supreme Court Justice who was not pro-life.” To prove it was a principle, you would have to be willing to be impeached over the issue or leave open a judicial vacancy.
The budget figures aren’t really a matter of principle either. Is there some eternal principle involved in reducing the budget by $100 billion dollars a year over say, $95 billion? The only principle would be if you made a specific promise to do so, otherwise it is just a matter of getting the best deal you can get. And certainly we might agree that the Republicans in Congress did not get the best deal they could have gotten. But the questions raised are matters of tactics and logistics, not principles, which are black and white, not gray. Principles are never a matter of degrees.