Left and Right: Not Opposite Equals
By Tina Dupuy
Are the left and the right in this country pretty much the same except for ideology? Are liberals and conservatives basically two sides of the same coin? One side you have one opinion, the other side an opposing view. Are the parties in America symmetrical?
Only the right wing will say yes.
It's a go-to (think lazy) response to any criticism of the right: The left does it too. Even more so, probably.
If you say the right is still utilizing the Southern Strategy while trying to disenfranchise African-Americans, they'll say the left are the real racists. James Taranto of WSJ.com wrote, "To keep blacks voting Democratic, it is necessary for the party and its supporters to keep alive the idea that racism is prevalent in America and to portray the Republican Party ... as racist."
According to conservatives, liberals are the ones who really have a war on women. (Republicans just want to nationalize their wombs.) Democrats are the ones who really don't want diversity. (All the old white men in the Republican Party are just a coincidence.) It's not Mitt Romney who was shockingly untethered from facts in the most suspended-reality campaign in modern history; Obama lied about closing Guantanamo!
Yes, Republicans are rubber, Democrats are glue...
Whatever you say about Republicans they'll try to pin that tail on the donkey.
This false equivalency benefits the right. A pox on both your houses disengages people from the political process and that helps Republicans. As we've seen in the midterms: When fewer people vote, more Republicans get into office.
The two parties are not, as we say in math, opposite equals. At all. Especially in math. As Bill Clinton said in his 2012 DNC speech, "Now, people ask me all the time how we got four surplus budgets in a row. What new ideas did we bring to Washington? I always give a one-word answer: Arithmetic."
When Republicans were in charge they started two unfunded wars and took the unprecedented (for a reason) step of giving deep tax cuts - also unfunded - during a time of war(s). They spent like proverbial (and literal) drunken sailors. They increased the size of government (Department of Homeland Security) and increased the deficit while decreasing revenue. That's what Republicans did when they could do everything they'd always hoped for: They made a mess of the place.
Now Republicans are shocked! Shocked by the state of their beloved country! It's a disaster!
Republicans are aghast and determined to find someone (non-Republican) to blame: illegal immigrants, single mothers, "Washington," Pelosi, Obama, ACORN, New Black Panthers, Old Black Panthers, Planned Parenthood. Maybe if they just habitually say "Benghazi" no one will pay attention to what Republicans do when they're in power.
Oh and all this spending - it's akin to sin and treason and everything distasteful now that Republicans no longer in the Oval Office. The phony outrage is palpable. As Speaker of the House John Boehner tweeted, "Too many Americans are still out of work & Washington still spends too much, taxes too much & borrows too much."
If you ask a Republican, Democrats are responsible too. Yes, Democrats didn't shut down the government when the first and second unpaid-for Bush tax cuts were up for a vote. They didn't abuse the filibuster to stop Republicans from passing (the also unpaid-for) Medicare Part D. They didn't impeach Bush when they had the votes. In short: Democrats didn't act like Republicans act when they're in the minority so they didn't try hard enough to keep Republicans from melting the world's economy.
See? Democrats had the power to be just as disruptive, cantankerous and disrespectful of the process when they were in the minority. Therefore, both parties (can) do it.
Six of one, half a dozen of the other. The whole thing is disgusting. They're all crooks. You shouldn't even bother to vote or be involved. You should just look away. That's how Republicans like it.
Tina Dupuy is a nationally syndicated op-ed columnist, freelance investigative journalist and comedian. This article was originally published at L.A. Progressive.