When did intellectually honest conversation die? Was it ever alive? Or has American politics always been steeped in spin, talking points, and demagoguery? I don't have a really good answer to this question but I can say that the current state of the political conversation in America is pitiful. I've long thought the major media outlets (Fox, ABC, CBS, and the rest) were intellectually lazy. No wonder average Americans have tuned out the political class and tuned in to Big Brother, Survivor, The Bachelor, and the Hunger Games.
Case in point, while watching Morning Joe this morning, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) was asked about Mitt Romney's 'woman problem.' She launched into a dialogue about how women are just like everybody else, concerned with rising gas prices and the debt, as if either of those were President Obama's fault. Then she criticized the president over the price of gas and complained about how he has reduced drilling on federal lands and blocked the XL pipeline, neither of which has any relation to oil prices! Oil is a market traded commodity whose price fluctuates based on world demand, not US demand. Additionally, overall production in the U.S. is 8% higher than when President Obama took office...and it has had NO effect on oil prices. If the XL project were to go forward it would be years before any oil began flowing from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Even then, the refineries would turn it into diesel and export it to Europe, which would not reduce prices in the U.S. at all. All the drilling in the world isn't going to lower the price of oil as long as a cartel controls much of the supply and speculators can bid up the price to reap windfall profits. President Bush wasn't responsible for high gas prices in 2008 and Barack Obama isn't responsible for them in 2012.
And her point about the debt? Ridiculous. The much touted Paul Ryan budget does nothing to eliminate the $16 trillion in debt we have. Sure, it balances the budget in 28 years, assuming everything works perfectly for the next 28 years, which it won't. But it also more than doubles the debt accrued during that span. Of course, Republicans will keep insisting on more tax cuts for their wealthy benefactors, which will only exacerbate the debt problem further. The president hasn't proposed a serious budget that will lead to fiscal sanity either. We should all be honest about that. But we won't be.
Intellectual honesty? Nah, it's dead and buried in America.