Left or Right? Republicans, Democrats and the great party divide

By on September 21, 2011

By Michelle Eigenheer–

While partisanship has been an increasingly hostile concept for several decades, it seems that in this last decade, stretching between polar-opposite Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the gap between conservatives and liberals has become as treacherous as the demilitarized zone.

From the issues of conflict in the Middle East to the collapse of the housing market and subsequent economic crisis, to gay marriage, the budget deficit and “Obamacare,” there seems to be no middle ground between parties on any matter. Instead, there is a struggle for power between Republicans and Democrats. This power struggle has become more prominent now that Washington, D.C. is split — Democrats are in control of the executive o ce while Republicans hold the Senate. This situation creates a gridlock in which it’s extremely di cult to accomplish anything for the good of the nation.
More difficult than usual, that is.

The desperate state of the nation’s government has politicians acting in extreme ways. We saw this a while ago when Republican leaders Eric Cantor and John Kyl walked out of Vice President Joe Biden’s debt ceiling talks, leaving no Republicans to negotiate. Just a couple of weeks later, President Obama did the same during another debt ceiling meeting.

More recently, the president requested to address Congress about the economy. However, he attempted to schedule this address right in the middle of a major Republican debate. Speaker of the House John Boehner politely rejected this idea, suggesting a more appropriate time on the next night.

Many political analysts have identi ed this speech-business as a way for the president to underhandedly overshadow the
Republican Party and its e orts to win the upcoming election, though the White House claims that the intended scheduling was a complete coincidence and they had not thought about it. Somehow, they managed to remember to
plan a time in which the president would not be competing with the Packers versus Saints game for viewership, which says a lot about where their priorities lie.

Inversely, Boehner’s rejection of the Obama speech was a dig at the presidency. It was his way of telling the president that he is not the ultimate last word on whathappens in D.C. – the government was designed with checks and balances in order to prevent the emergence of a political body that wields an exorbitant amount of power. It’s about time that someone had enough power and guts to effectively give President Obama a reality check, reminding everyone that he is not the last word.

The nation faces dire circumstances when it comes to government. Multiple congressmen all over the political spectrum have opted to not run for re-election for the simple issue of extreme partisanship. Rather than keeping the country
at a balance, the divide between conservatives and liberals has turned into a gross game of tug-o-war, with the American people sitting in the mud puddle. These politicians have moved from doing what’s best for their constituents to doing what’s best for their parties and themselves.

When Barack Obama was campaigning for election, he stressed many kinds of change. Among these was the need to bring the two main political parties together to become one legislative body. He was deemed the “Great Uni er” and revisited the
issue after Arizona Senator Gabby Giffords was shot. This is only one of many campaign promises that he ran with that has not been fulfilled. The budget, American healthcare, the economic crisis or unemployment have not been  xed
or even improved. The Democratic Party will keep telling the American people that things will get better but sadly, words do little to  x problems. Until something is really done about these issues – especially to reconcile the tremendous gap between political America’s politicians – the nation will continue to suffer.

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Illustration by Michael Layman/The Louisville Cardinal

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