Lecturing…or as some call it, pleading

I make no secrets that, in my political soul searching during the George W. Bush administration, I have found myself to be a bit left-of-center. But I also strive to be an independent, non-partisan thinker, weighing each issue, each candidate, each vote I cast, on its individual merits. Think it’s easy?

No. It’s not. In an attempt to stay well-informed on both sides of the issues, I make it a point to consume both liberal and conservative media. The problem with that? Sometimes I get whiplash from having my head jerked from left to right so fast. Last night was a prime example.

President Obama literally walked across the street to extend an olive branch to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Feb. 7. The president and the chamber don’t see eye to eye, you see. In fact, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent more than $30 million in the last election, 93% of it – according to the New York Times – supported Republicans or criticized their opponents. This was a lion’s den of sorts for Obama.

Rachel Maddow blog screenshot

So how’d it go? Depends on who you ask. First, I watched The Rachel Maddow Show, where she told me that Obama, “true to his style, did not say that anybody was wrong. …The president is on the other side of the Chamber in this, but he is not calling them his opponent, let alone, his enemy.  Can the president win a fight that he‘s refusing to pick?”

Screenshot from The Blaze. Same story, different take. Like, really different.

Wow. So the big guy took it easy on the Chamber, huh? That’s what I thought, until I got online to look at Glenn Beck’s news Web site The Blaze. That’s where I found this headline waiting for me: “‘Get in the game’: Obama lectures Chamber of Commerce on ‘mutual responsibility.'” The article tells me that

“…the president’s remarks seemed to demonstrate a continuing divide between the president and the business community. Throughout the course of his speech, the President stressed that businesses owe certain responsibilities to the nation.”

The Blaze’s commenters were more direct. Calling Obama’s speech a veiled threat, without the veil.

There you have it. President Obama lectured and threatened the U.S. Chamber of Commerce while, at the same time, pleading with them and refusing to pick a fight.

Whiplash, y’all. Who got it right? Neither of them, I’m sure. The truth is usually somewhere in the middle…and I’d find it if my neck wasn’t so sore.




  1. “But I also strive to be an independent, non-partisan thinker, weighing each issue, each candidate, each vote I cast, on its individual merits.”

    That’s all well and good, but what’s your philosophy you use to weigh each issue, candidate and vote? If you’re going to weigh something, you have to have a scale by which to judge it don’t you? You can’t weigh an item without having an agreed upon system by which to use and share with others.

    What are your principles and philosophy that you use to judge whether something is good for you, your family and Americans?

    • As far as candidates go, I know that I will never find one whose opinions, values and theory line up exactly with mine. Not gonna happen. I try to consider what their stances are on issues they will likely be casting votes on in their first session. I may really like a candidates opinion on Issue A, but if they’re not going to vote on it, then I need to be looking at Issues B, C, D, etc. I also look at their resumes and experiences as well as their demeanor and what I feel their ability to compromise, work across party lines and get things done is. They must be competent.

      I’ll give you an example: Candidate A was a community icon and long-time officeholder. Candidate B was a political newcomer, but well-educated and knowledgeable. I watched them debate and decided to vote for Candidate B, even though I didn’t have much politically in common with them, because Candidate A was unfocused, easily rattled, admitted to not knowing specifics about issues, would start to answer a question, then say “But I want to go back to this other question for a second.” Candidate B was calm, rational and provided well thought answers to questions. Even if I didn’t always agree with their political conclusions – and I didn’t on a lot of things – I understood how they got there. I felt they were persuasive and would be able to find a way to get good legislation passed.

      As for issues, I study them case-by-case. Not every tax cut is good because it’s a tax cut, nor is every tax increase bad because it’s an increase. I try to find non-partisan reviews and examinations of bills and the impact they will have. This has sometimes led me to vote against something I believe in because the ballot issue was so poorly written, it would do more damage overall than good. Sometimes I feel like it’s important to put the good of the country, state, county or country in front of my own opinions.

      That said, it’s very hard to get me to vote for constitutional amendments. If we’re going to codify something in the constitution, I need to be darned sure it’s the right thing to do and the most appropriate way to do it.
      How about you, Michael? I think I can guess your principles and philosophies, but I’d like to hear how you approach election days.

  2. The philosophy I live my life by is Natural Law http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_law (that link is a start, but as with anything Wikipedia, please don’t use it as the only authority on Natural Law). It has not only allowed me to live my life according to a set standard of principles in the political realm, but it has strengthened my belief in God and my relationships with my fellow man. It’s a philosophy with set standards and principles with which to judge situations by.

    I don’t react to individual situations based upon my feelings and reactions at that particular moment. I think that reacting that way is due to a lack of a sound philosophy and principles and I think there’s far too much of it and people have somehow begun to see that as some kind of virtue. Being “moderate” and/or “independent” somehow makes a person superior to those who take a principled, philosophical stance? That concerns me. A scale that changes with the winds, isn’t effective in weighing much of anything.

    As far as deciding who to vote for, I don’t judge a person based upon what team they’re on, nor do I expect them to be 100% in lock-step with what I believe before I give them my vote, but I do believe there are some things that are non-negotiable and if an elected official steps over that line, I will not support them without work to rectify the usurpation they’re created. I will not support someone who is running on a platform of violating mine, or someone else’s, natural rights. It’s a limited field and more often than not, I have to vote on the lesser of two evils because of the climate of politicians trying to get votes by taking from one segment of society and giving to another these days.

    The story of Davy Crockett and one of his constituents is an example that comes to mind as being one that would be ideal for me, and I long for a time when we return to it: http://www.juntosociety.com/patriotism/inytg.html

    • I hope I haven’t given the impression that I think being moderate or independent makes a person – in this case myself – superior to those who take philosophical stance. I may not agree, but I do not assume to possess all knowledge and wisdom. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Michael.

      • You certainly haven’t and I’m sorry if I gave the impression I thought of you that way. If I did, I wouldn’t spend the time discussing matters with someone who came to the table thinking they’re somehow superior.

        My comment was directed at a societal push as a whole.

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