The American Debate in Microcosm: Boop vs. “Mr. A” (March 4, 2010)


Which End is Up!? indeed. In most instances, the posts on this blog represent commentary of the external world, the goings on outside our front doors, although of course Jen and I get personal too. But once in awhile, the story of this forum is the mini-essay itself, or rather, the reader comments posted after it has been written and shared. In many ways, generating a response is more gratifying than having the tacit freedom to write about anything I want, because then I can be sure I am not just stroking my own ego. When an actual discussion is triggered, especially when the topic is nationally meaningful, I have the inkling that this vanity project Jen and I begun a little over a year ago might just be onto something.

Dialogue is a bottom up phenomenon. I truly believe the most important discussions of our age take place in small settings: two old men arguing over breakfast at a local diner, a group of women in a church basement debating social issues in their community, the family kitchen table, and once in awhile, a little blog with 12 Chicagoland followers.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote this post about the pending retirement of Senator Evan Bayh, of Indiana, from Capitol Hill. You may recall I deemed the Senator, for the most part, to be a spineless quitter at a time when Americans need change and dissension more than ever. My fear is that Bayh’s resignation opens his seat to another cookie cutter, status quo jerkoff – from either party. If Bayh feels a revolution is needed to overthrow Washington, then I wish he’d stay in office to help foment it.

I recognize that not everyone’s political views align with mine, but one of our readers, “Mr. A” (whom I will now out as my old friend Timbo) has a long history of verbal scuffles with Boop. In the spirit of full disclosure, entertainment and humor, and perhaps to spur our faithful consumers into entering the fray more regularly themselves, I would like to reprint a transcript of the discussion which followed the February 16th post. Because I readily believe that arguments just like this are taking place all over the country.

The talk began innocently enough with a weigh-in from regular commentator Purple Artist:

Purple Artist said… Bah! I say, BAH!
What perplexes me is that for all intents and purposes, the Republicans want Obama to fail. How’s that for team spirit for our country? It is like drilling a hole in the boat because you want to off the captain. Well guess what, teabaggers, y’all go down with the ship.

But then! Mr. A enters the fray and the gloves come off!

Anonymous said… I applaud Sen. Bayh. Bringing to light the problems in the political environment in Washington by retiring and leaving Harry Reid holding his nutsack will hopefully send a message to all hardliners that this shit has to end. Sure the republicans will try to pounce on the opportunity. But I would like to see more centrists like Evan from both parties jam things up for the party liners to make their point. As an independent voter myself with a centrist bent, I can’t blame Bayh for not wanting to deal in that environment. What do you propose he do, stay and align with the hard line democrats just to keep the hard line republicans at bay? Isn’t that the crux of the problem in the first place? I believe we need more people like Bayh in congress rather than less, and encouraging them to leave certainly doesn’t fix that problem. But the fix needs to come from the polls. I believe Bayh’s politics are more in line with the majority of Americans, yet the hardliners get reelected and remain in power. Never underestimate the ignorance of the American electorate. We complain about the partisan politics in Washington yet do nothing about where it counts…in the polls.

And as for Purple Artist’s comment, of course the republicans want Obama to fail. Running up the debt to staggering proportions and trying to funnel the US economy through the federal government is not only against what they stand for, it’s a recipe for failure. Look no further than Japan over the last two decades for evidence.

-Mr. Anonymous
February 24, 2010 9:56 AM

Becky Boop said… “Of course the republicans want Obama to fail. Running up the debt to staggering proportions and trying to funnel the US economy through the federal government is not only against what they stand for, it’s a recipe for failure.”

I would formally like to ask Mr. Anonymous what exactly then, was going on during the Bush years?

February 24, 2010 8:01 PM

Anonymous said… Well, I’m not arguing that a couple of wars (one of which we had no business fighting) didn’t help. But pure spending under the current administration and our current debt picture dwarfs the Bush years. And they are just getting started, although the mid-term elections may rain on that parade. Hey, I voted for Obama so shame on me as well. I bought into the hype as many did. I’m regretting it now.

February 24, 2010 10:48 PM

Becky Boop said… Mr. Anonymous – you make me so mad I could spit. I swear! So because Obama hasn’t fixed the collossal mess (financial, foreign policy, domestic agenda) bequeathed him by eight years of Bush/Cheney, you now “regret” your vote? I would like to say for the millinioth time that Dubya inherited budget SURPLUSES when he took office in 2000. And I don’t think the two wars were the only reason for that change. How about a Medicare prescription drug benefit that no one paid for? What about tax cuts for the wealthy during a time of war? Unheard of! Do you think it’s Obama’s doing that China owns more of the U.S. than we do? Did he ask our decades broken health care system to be the number one sinkhole of our collective take home pay? I am not dredging up the ghosts of Bush past to do anything more than call attention to your sorry short term memory. And ‘Bams should have put all that irresponsible horseshit to rights in a twelvemonth?

Yes, thank God the Republicans are planning to ride to our rescue in 2012. They did a simply superb job the last time they held power. Where do you get your facts Mr. Anon? You accuse me of drinking “Yes, We Can” Koo;-Aid, but I beg you in turn to set down the crack pipe.

February 27, 2010 6:02 PM

Anonymous said… I’m not pissed that Obama hasn’t “fixed the collossal mess”. I wouldn’t expect that in a year. Neither is it all Obama’s doing. What I am concerned about is that the proposals set forth will make matters worse. MUCH worse! You cannot spend your way to prosperity. Very simple. I acknowledge the mistakes of the Bush administration. It was a failure. But it’s over with. You can’t justify actions going forward by saying the past administration was worse. I hold no allegiance to either party. I just call it like I see it…you’re either doing a good job or not. I don’t vote republican or democrat. I vote right or wrong. I haven’t closed the book on Obama yet at all. But I don’t like the path he’s going down. Your hatred for republicans and love for Obama doesn’t allow you to look at things objectively. You’re just as guilty of hardline partisan politics as most of the assholes in Washington. Admit it!

-Mr. A
March 1, 2010 4:33 PM

Becky Boop said… We need to rein in spending – no doubt about that at all. In fact I kind of begrudgingly applauded Senator Jim Bunning for taking a stand against passing another bill that wasn’t paid for this week, no matter how many Americans need those unemployment checks. But a good deal of the spending going on is in direct response to the mismanagement of the Republican administration of 2001-2009, a bunch of yahoos that brought the economy to the brink and entered us into two wars, one of which was a crock. The same folks who like to yelp about out of control spending also ignore the fact that much of that was required to, quite literally, save America. We are shaky still of course, but it looks like the worst is over. You’ll get no argument from me that now is the time to reduce debt. One of the ways to do that is with health care reform – serious, sweeping reform. Another thing the Republicans are against.
I am not as far left on every issue as you think. I am with those who are “doing a good job” too. I just happen, to think that our President is doing a fine job, with grace and I also believe, a genuine concern for the country and the citizens in it, independent of any party affiliations. He inherited a fine mess, and we are better off than we were a year ago, even if things still hurt. He will always have my support.

March 3, 2010 8:39 AM
Thoughts? Comments? You certainly don’t have to agree with me. In fact I respect Mr. A for holding his ground. He is a worthy adversary. Call me a nerd, but I quite enjoyed this electronic foray into “The MacLaughlin Group.”


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