To me, the differences come down to a couple things:
- Republicans are simple. For every problem in the world, there is a simple solution. The economy is in a slump? Let’s lower taxes for corporations and the rich to get it moving again! The airlines (or Savings and Loans or the defense industry) are in trouble because they’re horribly mismanaged? Let’s bail them out using taxpayer money, even though some of the companies we’re bailing out haven’t paid taxes in years! We need a new energy policy? Let’s talk to businesses because they obviously have everyone’s best interests at heart. I’m getting carried away here, but the more I see of the Bush administration, the less I like. From Cheney refusing to turn over the Energy Task Force documents (and now we see why – no meetings with environmentalists? How dare you?), to Bush’s handling of China and the Taiwan issue, to the handling of Israel and the Palestinians, it seems that the administration is incapable of handling complexity. I don’t remember this being a problem with Clinton. For all his failings, the guy was sharp.
- Democrats at least make it look like they care about the middle class. For all the people deluded enough to think that the Republican party cares about anyone other than their largest donors, you’re all crazy. Just look at their actions. They’re reducing environmental requirements on corporations left and right, covering up secret meetings with executives, not meeting with environmentalists and now imposing tariffs on foreign goods. Again, I don’t remember anything like this happening during the last administration. The Clinton Administration and the Democratic representatives at least maintained the appearance of caring for the common man. They met with consumer groups, environmentalists and at least made the effort. I’m not seeing the same effort now.
- Don’t worry, the Democrats suck too. Don’t think I’m going to leave the left out. They’re beholden to their big donors too. Unions are the heavies behind the Dems. The DNC also seems to be the party of “causes”. Groups with “issues”, like the environmentalists, Abortion rights activists, women’s groups, etc, all flock to the Democratic party. It can make them seem a little schizophrenic sometimes, and it becomes hard to join them if you have a problem with one of the pillar issue groups within the party. It also has the effect of moving the party to the middle, meeting a lot of moderate Republicans in the process, and watering down any single group’s position. Add to this the fact that the same corporations that donate to the RNC also fill the coffers of the DNC, there are also the same “who’s really in charge” questions with them.
I have to go with the Democrats for the moment, though. I have a thing for opposition parties anyway. Also, for the most part, Democrats don’t try to go for the easy answer. They’re willing to discuss the complexities of a problem and go for the painful solution. Republicans, as a party, don’t seem willing or able to do that. Now, if the whole party was comprised of John McCain, I’d be all for it. He seems like one of the only reasonable people within the party – and they’ve come close to pushing him out on several occasions.
It’s just so hard to decide when candidates are so “handled” now that it’s impossible to get to their real views on an issue. I would love to say that I could vote for someone because they were honest – but how do you know that now either? I have to go by the party, unfortunately, even if I don’t agree with everything. Now that the Republicans are in power, it’s now pretty obvious who’s in charge of the party. It ain’t you and me, and right now, that’s really all I need to know.
There’s more I want to say, and well, I should probably edit this. I’m sure I’ll come back to this topic again and again and again as I refine my point of view. It’s still kind of raw, and now I freely admit I don’t know everything and am still just trying to figure it out.