In the House, the moderate Blue Dog Democrats are on the brink of extinction after suffering two major electoral defeats in Pennsylvania’s Democratic primary on April 24. In the Senate, two senior Republicans, Dick Lugar (Indiana) and Orrin Hatch (Utah) face credible challenges from the right.
Conventional wisdom says that the polarization of our politics is bad for governing. Pundits and journalists pine for the days when compromises were made across party lines and backroom deals were common.
The 24-hour news cycle and the rise of new media makes an easy scapegoat, but the fact is, our country is finding itself at a critical point in history where compromises are no longer sufficient to address the challenges we face.
Our nation’s debt stands at an astounding $15.7 trillion dollars and our economy shows no signs of recovery. On one hand, you have a President and an entire political party that lacks any sort of solution to the debt crisis. On the other, you have a political party and its presidential candidate committed to an actual plan that will pay down the debt and balance the budget.
The fundamental divide — and ultimately the source of our political polarization — centers on the question of spending cuts versus tax increases. Republicans know that America can’t tax its way out of our fiscal crisis and that addressing the key driver of our debt — entitlement spending — is the only way to keep the ship from sinking.
The two competing visions for our country are so different that they have no common ground. Our political “leaders” have kicked the can so far down the road that we’ve passed the point where any sort of compromise between these two approaches would have any effect.
Moderate approaches — either on the Left or the Right — will only serve to exacerbate our looming debt crisis.
Our desperate situation requires bold and radical action and only a bold and radical decision will have any effect.