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Tom Tomorrow
© Tom Tomorrow

I often wish that political parties didn’t exist or were illegal. Indeed, George Washington in his farewell address famously warned against political parties, saying that they would lead to “frightful despotism” because of their tendency to distract the government from their duties, create unfounded jealousies among groups and regions, raise false alarms amongst the people, promote riots and insurrection, and provide foreign nations and interests access to the government where they can impose their will upon the country. Sound familiar?

And as this comic brings up, political parties create a situation where normally fair minded people are scared to criticize politicians from their own political party. Republicans, especially Ronald Reagan, called this the “Eleventh Commandment” — “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.” And now this commandment seems to have infected Democrats as well.

I will admit that I too have felt its influence. After all, what is the point of criticizing Obama for the ACA as not going far enough, when it barely squeaked by into law and is the biggest reform to health insurance in our nation’s history?

But there are things for which I will gladly criticize Obama. His prosecution (verging on persecution) of hundreds of whistleblowers (including Snowden, Manning, and Assange) is but one example.



  1. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    Interestingly too is that 2 of Washington’s first picks for his cabinet were Hamilton for treasurer and Jefferson for Sec. of State. He knew both these guys were polar opposites in that Hamilton believed in a strong central government and Jefferson believed that power should reside in the states. He knew they would fight bitterly and indeed they did. He knew that no matter who’s side he took he would get bashed and indeed he did, but always tried to walk the middle. And even in that day and age the politics were just as nasty as today, minus the social media and internet. Jefferson’s minions trashed our first President constantly whenever he sided with Hamilton. Washington though had faith in the process and thought the 2 opposites would produce the bet results coming to a middle ground conclusion and many times they did, albeit sometimes after months and months of bitter arguing and bashing each other in the local news media’s.

    Your right IK, it’s like both parties want to suppress free speech when it comes to criticizing any perceived party leader. What both parties need however, is a healthy dose of criticism from within. But no, they ostracize and ban any dissenters forthwith from their respective political kingdoms.

    Perhaps not much has really changed in 238 years, it just seems louder and more accessible with all the media.

    Thursday, September 4, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    I think the biggest difference today is the echo chamber. It is all too easy now to only hear viewpoints that agree with your biases. You almost never hear dissenting opinions unless you work at it.

    Thursday, September 4, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink
  3. Michael wrote:

    I absolutely 100% agree with the original post, regarding criticism of Obama. When I’ve been around certain family members, I’m sometimes hesitant to criticize Obama because the response would be something like, “See?!? I told you so! I’ve been saying since 2008 that he’s pure villainy (which is what Fox News told me) and you wouldn’t listen!!!” I just want to avoid having the follow-up discussion where I point out that, while we agree on this one point, 99% of the crap they’ve spewed in the past 6 years has been demonstrably false. Alas…

    Regarding the echo chamber, I sometimes question claims about how modern society has divided us and made things worse. While I think there are some good points to be made that we’ve got more mass propaganda than we used to, I’m not entirely convinced we’re really all that much more divided. I think we’re just more aware of it. I’m sure residents of 1920s Boston were just as different from 1920s rural Alabama residents as they are today. I just think people back then weren’t as aware because they didn’t have the communication options we have.

    Thursday, September 4, 2014 at 12:52 pm | Permalink
  4. Dan wrote:

    And yet Clinton is going around bashing Obama for his foreign policy– now there is some real irony!!!
    Can’t wait for Webb to announce.

    Thursday, September 4, 2014 at 2:39 pm | Permalink
  5. Iron Knee wrote:

    Yeah, I almost did a post about Clinton bashing Obama’s foreign policy, and Rand Paul responding by calling Clinton a “war hawk” (and then immediately contradicting himself). At first it seemed ironic but the more I thought about it the more it just seemed like modern politics as usual.

    It is pretty much the same as the triangulation that Bill did as president. There is almost nothing for Clinton to lose politically and much to gain by distancing herself from Obama. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Obama encouraged her to do so.

    Thursday, September 4, 2014 at 8:34 pm | Permalink
  6. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    I found this interesting perspective from the head of Smith College that speaks to the feeling that freedom of speech is under fire at our universities.

    What I want to see Dan is Biden going against Clinton, now that should be entertaining as the 2 are worlds apart in how they approach speaking. Clinton measures most everything she says by how it will be perceived and impact her campaign, while Biden just says what comes to him and I’ll bet half the time doesn’t even know what he’s going to say.

    Friday, September 5, 2014 at 5:54 am | Permalink