Sunday, April 11, 2010

Blessed with friends on the other side

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This post contains excerpts from an April 10 e-mail response to a dear friend of mine (edited for emphasis and anonymity). 

“Dear Mortimer,

I’ll say hello to the guys for you and I’ll be thinking about you this evening.

As for politics, yes, we tend to gravitate toward sources that share our views.  However, I also read the New York Times Op-ed pages and watch MSNBC (as hard as those tasks are for me).  I suppose you watch Fox on occasion and I know you read the WSJ – so good for both of us.  We try.  The state-sponsored education you cite that we both benefited from, came largely from our parents' (and many others) sweat equity – translated into tax dollars – that funded the University of Wisconsin system. True, my friend.  But, I'm not arguing for zero taxation, or zero government involvement in our lives. 

When Progressives argue in favor of entitlement programs, they'll sometimes cite Social Security (under-funded as it is) to bolster their case.  They'll ask, “Well do you think Social Security is a Socialist program too?”  They actually think it’s a great gotcha question for fiscal conservatives.

The bone of contention, gets down to whom you trust with your money.  Progressives wish to give more of it to government because they believe it helps society and folks like me say wait!

"I don’t trust you because of your history.  Not only do you choke economic growth with your tax and spending policies, but your programs fail and are fraught with waste, fraud and abuse."

Did the Community Reinvestment Act and scores of Democratic initiatives like it enable the American dream for millions of people who otherwise would have been shut out of home ownership regardless of their honest intentions, hard work, and best efforts?   

Of the millions of foreclosures we've seen during The Great Recession, I believe the majority were visited upon gluttons or cheats who had no business assuming those loans.  They lost their homes, tanked the market and made the climate more difficult for honest low income Americans who now - despite their best intentions - remain shut out of the market, perhaps for years.

A primary cause of our trouble was state-sanctioned, predatory borrowing that the Left now calls predatory lending, because their munificent scheme blew up. They brought the system to its knees and they still want to try again and again.  Today it’s health care, tomorrow its education and so on.

Wealth re-distribution is the Excalibur sword of most Progressives, Mortimer.  Howard Dean admitted as much recently.  Their vision is not what made this country great and what’s more, all the anger you see out there – overwhelmingly coming from good people  – will not fade away.

I deplore violence and lawlessness and I will not partake in it, but I fear that with the warmer weather and a relentless Pollyanna in the White House, you’ll see things boil over this summer.  I hope I am wrong, but things are going to get uglier because many see their way of life at stake - and a revolution of sorts, is already underway.  How many Americans can take another 2+ years of “hope and change?”   You might be surprised at how palpable the anger and frustration is among the Right and the Center.  That is what I mean about this time being a little different. 

It's not just the GOP or a bunch of former John Kerry critics -- it's an unambiguous cross section of Americana.  I believe that their feelings about this administration, stoked by the economy, totally dwarf the anti-Bush anger we remember.

One last item Morty…

I care about others, you know that and I believe most Progressives have a heart as warm as mine and I include you among them.  I simply view most Progressives as honestly misguided on these matters - and you see me the same way - I get it.  It's a draw.  OK.

We also agree there are Wing Nuts on both sides.  However, if life comes down to helping your fellow man, consider that Conservatives believe government is simply not the way to salvation and its very nature is to give what it does not have, in order to stay in power.  Fannie, Freddie, free Fed money, and the like, it was all government conceived, packaged and delivered.  They just needed a little help from a few reckless Wall Street titans to package and insure the mess, in order to bring the whole temple down. 

But back to helping the less fortunate.  Consider that as a percentage of income, many observers believe Republicans give a larger percentage of their incomes to charity than Democrats.  If you doubt the assertion, check out this link…   I have not made a rigorous study of the question, but I think at best it's another draw, Mort.

Either way, too many Dems pretend that they belong to the party of compassion and that the GOP doesn't care.  That stifles productive debate, so thanks for never playing that nauseating card.

Enough for now.  Gotta run...

Your devoted friend,