Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Politics is NOT sports: Please … “stop hurting America”

Okay, sure … “Republicans run amok” can be entertaining, “Republicans acting stupid” makes us feel superior, “Republicans in disarray” can be energizing in that it gives us hope that we can defeat them electorally.

However, it is one thing to point out the flaws and strong points of our political opponents in order to strategize over how to beat them … it is another thing entirely to admire their hatefulness and divisiveness and call one of them the “most talented and fearless Republican I’ve seen in the last 30 years”.

That is what Democratic strategist James Carville called Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) on one of the morning talk shows earlier this week. Carville:

“I’ve listened to excerpts of his speech in South Carolina. He touches every button, and this guy has no fear. He just keeps plowing ahead. And he is going to be something to watch.”

The thing that struck me was how excited Carville appeared by this prospect. It is not surprising because he and his wife, Republican strategist Mary Matalin, both make their living by ratcheting up the rhetoric: anger and mockery and red meat for the base is their stock in trade.

But this “politics as blood sport” reminded me of the exchange between Jon Stewart, Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala on CNN Crossfire back in 2004:

STEWART: … I made a special effort to come on the show today, because I have privately, amongst my friends and also in occasional newspapers and television shows, mentioned this show as being bad.

BEGALA: We have noticed.

STEWART: And I wanted to — I felt that that wasn’t fair and I should come here and tell you that I don’t — it’s not so much that it’s bad, as it’s hurting America. But I wanted to come here today and say…

STEWART: Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America.

When pundits admire politicians like Ted Cruz, whose only stated goal is to make it impossible to govern, they are hurting America. Because politicians aren’t prizefighters, they aren’t your favorite sports team, they aren’t really even celebrities. They are men and women who we hire to represent us in Washington … people who we want to contribute to the governance of our country as legislators have done for over 200 years.  

On Monday, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) called Ted Cruz a “schoolyard bully” for his obstruction on the budget, reporters and pundits chortled over Cruz’s reply “I didn’t know this was a schoolyard”.

The things Ted Cruz says and does are not funny. Just like Ron Johnson (R-WI) is not funny and Mike Lee (R-UT) is not funny. They are doing real damage to real people living in our real country. They should not be admired but scorned.

James Carville … and all you pundits … stop hurting America. Use your access to audiences to decry the new breed of politician who is scoring debate points off the misery of the least fortunate in our country. Off the pain of those who lost loved ones in senseless gun violence or fertilizer plants blowing up. Off the despair of people who just want a job and food and shelter for their families.  

Once more  from Jon Stewart:

“What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan hackery. You have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.”

Just stop. Help us fix our country by fixing people’s attention on how we can make government work. The country you may save is, quite literally, your own.

Crossposted from Views from Northcentral Blogistan.


  1. Pentagon: Estimated 26,000 Sexual Assaults In Military Last Year

    Just one day after the Air Force’s chief of sexual assault prevention was arrested for sexual assault himself, a new Pentagon report shows a sharp increase in the estimated number of assaults in the military annually.

    The report from the Department of Defense’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office for Fiscal Year 2012 found a 6 percent rise in reported assaults over the last year, for a total of 3,374. But much more troubling is the estimated number of sexual assault incidents that were never officially reported. In last year’s report, there were an estimated 19,000 instances, but this year the number has jumped to an unprecedented 26,000 instances of assault, leaving thousands unreported.

  2. Meet Democrats’ Newest Republican Crush: Ted Cruz?!?!

    Their distaste for his antics and his radical ideology is undoubtedly genuine. But Democrats are also thrilled that someone with those – should we call them qualities? – has emerged after the rout in 2012 as a Republican powerbroker in his own right, in a party whose leadership is too weak and timid to control him. And, the greater his stature in the party, the more harm they believe he’ll do to the GOP nationwide, whether or not he runs for president in 2016.

    No … no … no … 1000 times NO!!! It is not okay to want one of the two major political parties in America to be filled with bat-guano crazy politicians. It is not okay to want the Republican party to self destruct from sheer craziness. Because what if they don’t? What if people reflexively voting “R” will always keep them within grabbing distance of taking back the presidency? Do you think that would be good for our country!!??

    In early 2011, I remarked on how dangerous it was for Democrats to wish for the most unqualified and crazy person to be the Republican nominee … because the edge of the cliff is too close for comfort :

    Aside from the fact that it would say a lot (not nice, by the way) about our country if a major political party nominated someone who was clearly ignorant and plainly unqualified, it would be crazy for us to want to play chicken with our country.

    Picture this: our car of state goes screaming 120 miles an hour straight for the edge of the cliff and when we get to the edge we put the brakes on. And we hope that the brakes hold and that we didn’t push the pedal too late and that the cliff edge does not disintegrate under us and that our tires do not blow out. To me that is too many things that can go wrong. And believe me, all it takes is for one of those things to go wrong for our car of state to go flying off the cliff into the abyss. It won’t look like the last frame of the movie Thelma and Louise … that happy/sad ending did not show the wreck at the bottom of the cliff.

    We don’t want to be on the edge. We really want partners in governance.

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