Sausage-Making 101: Politics, Principles, Palin and Huckabee

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[1].

After we vote out the rascals that got us here, sometimes the replacements are not much better than the ones we replaced.  A few legislators do understand the deficit problem, like Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

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.[2]

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.


[1] Our only real hope is that God might hear our prayers for mercy.

[2] This procedure is just one way late-term babies can be killed. Ban it, and child killers will simply use a technically different procedure to carry out their grisly deeds.

 

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Comments

  1. says

    My beef with your conclusions are… When you gain something you gain. Maybe you didn’t gain as much as you wanted, but you’re better off and lost nothing (new anyway). Using that ‘slippery slope’ to our advantage is a good thing, and it is not compromising principles. It comes down to are you losing anything that you already had? Are you gaining something? Could you really gain more if you tried? I think the answers to these two questions on this issue is No, Yes, and No. Their hands are tied. It’s a moot conversation really. What do you think they should do? Run away like our childish Congressmen in Indiana?? That’ll really teach ‘em. Think in terms of baseball. You didn’t get out, you didn’t get a home run, but you at least got to first. Take every base you can, use every legitimate means, just don’t make an out. We’re still in the game even if we didn’t finish. I’m afraid it just isn’t our turn at bat.

    • says

      I think you misread my post. I think getting the $38 billion was better than nothing (though not much). I don’t think those who voted for it were violating principles, I don’t think the vote was a matter of principle at all (with the caveat about those who made promises to reduce the budget by XX$ dollars. The principle is keep your promises.

  2. says

    Ron Paul has never voted for an unbalanced budget. Never. He has never voted for a tax increase. Never.

    There are a few with principles, you just have to be un-jaded enough to bother doing your research.

    • says

      I agree that generally Paul is principled on the economics issues (though his history of voting for earmarks and then voting against a bill he knows will pass isn’t principled).. He is not principled on life and family issues, however.

  3. says

    Ron Paul has never voted for an unbalanced budget. Never. He has never voted for a tax increase. Never.

    There are a few with principles, you just have to be un-jaded enough to bother doing your research.

  4. Bobmoore says

    The unwilling to move forward is like a football team being unwilling to run any plays that do not result in a touchdown in that play. The goal is moving the ball down the field. The touchdown is when all the field has been traversed and only the end zone is left. Then you claim final victory, but the actual victory is the result of every motion toward those goal posts.

    For once, we have the ball and are now moving in the right direction. We take the largest steps possible. But we do not eschew small gains when large ones are not yet within our reach. We press on.

    Giving up or refusing to play is unprincipled. Driving the ball toward those goal posts is principled.

    • David J Shedlock says

      No, actually the stories I have written without Palin’s name have gotten lots more hits. I’d prefer if you actually discussed the substance, though, rather than simply insulting me. If you totally disagree, tell me why. Provide facts and opinions