When all is said and done, more is said than done: Christie vs. Paul

1 Aug

Those who care about policy like the debate in which we combat with each other using ideas rather than just words.  At least for me, I’ve learned about topics I did and did not know in addition to those on which I oppose or support a position through debate with my peers.  I can usually only do this if the other person understands where I’m coming from and vice versa and that we’re open to each other’s ideas.  When I do this, I almost always change my position by either becoming a more fervent supporter/opposer, or switching to the other side, or still not having any opinion because I still don’t know that much about the subject.  I am not too naïve to realize that politicians can’t exactly do this in the open, even though it’d raise the level of discourse that is now present in our national government.  Sadly, frank exchanges are usually just done through academia or through just city- and county-, and possibly state-, levels of governments.

Would the national government be better if we were civil to each other without all the passive-aggressive messaging and posturing on CSPAN and press releases?  Yea.  But we (the public) don’t want that.  I would’ve appreciated more substantive discussion between the Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) (POLITICO).  I realize that the media cut their words into not just 1-sentence quotes, but 3-word phrases, and I actually watched the entire clip of the interviews each of them have given in response to each other.  But their responses were just a tit-for-tat exchange, and I was disappointed with each of them.  I know that both – at least seem genuine – are speaking on their principles and they have given good speeches in the past.  Hopefully they’ll forget this past week and continue to do what is best for their constituents instead of continuing this petty debate.

I can only hope that legislators will debate, instead of berating, each other.  The media makes everything more dramatic than it really is, and I hope I’m right in that respect.  Hopefully the words they speak are just for the media and that they’re actually doing something away from the glare of the media.

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Boris Shor, PhD

Assistant Professor, Dep't of Political Science, U. of Houston

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