Keith presented the argument on another thread that efforts to pass hate crime legislation protecting gays was more about raising money than it was about adopting legislation and that was the reason nothing was happening. In my response, I noted that the NRA, among others, routinely uses issues in the same manner.
At a time when most Americans seem to favor a reduction in the volume of political debate and an increase in overall civility. it seems that groups from the political extremes on both the left and the right are raising the volume even higher and even putting forward the specter of civil war.
How much of this is simply about fund raising? In a New York Times story based on ten internal memoranda that it received, the paper reports that conservatives are planning major attacks on any candidates put forward by the Obama administration to replace Souter even though they know that they cannot win and that the balance of the Court will not change with the appointment of another liberal to replace Souter's liberal vote. They write:
"While conservatives say they know they have little chance of defeating Mr. Obama’s choice because Democrats control the Senate, they say they hope to mount a fight that could help refill depleted coffers and galvanize a movement demoralized by Republican electoral defeats."
How much of our political debate is fueled by just this type of concern? How legitimate do you believe it is to battle over everything simply to fuel partisan coffers and keep emotions high? Are the resulting debates ones that improve communication and strengthen democracy, or ones that simply polarize for narrow purposes and undermine the strength of our country? Is a scorched earth policy that destroys our country preferable to seeking middle grounds that are supported by the middle two thirds of our population?
The NY Times story is at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/17/us...7conserve.html.