Principled v. partisan politics

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  • J in AZ San Tan Valley, AZ
    June 21, 2014 10:19 p.m.

    Prof. Barker leaves out one important point. Each side views parts of the world view of the other as evil. For example, a core example is sexual conduct. For the stereotypical leftist, the boundary of what sexual conduct is bad or evil has not yet been found. For the stereotypical social conservative, sexual conduct outside of a heterosexual marriage is evil. For the stereotypical conservative, government coercion to achieve a social goal is wrong or even evil. The stereotypical liberal sees that path as affine and worthy way to modify group behavior. Our stereotypical conservative believes that abortion is evil. The stereotypical liberal thinks that it is an unremarkable women's health procedure. Now, this is a very simplified model to make the point.

    This disconnect in the views of the parties prevents cooperation on what few areas that they can agree on because of our cultural moral imperative of not compromising with evil at any level.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    June 21, 2014 4:12 p.m.

    @the truth 6:26 p.m. June 19, 2014

    If you really anted to tell the truth you would also say:

    The attacks here in this forum against democrats and anyone even a tiny bit to the left of being on the extreme far-right of the political spetrum,

    show how partisan and personal things have become.

    We do need to get back to principle.

    I do hope the those on the extreme far right can get back to making principled arguments and stop basing everything on their hate for the opposition.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    June 20, 2014 4:01 p.m.

    happy2behere, you really have no idea what I said do you? I suspect you don't even understand what the author said.

    " putting all the blame on conservatives," Neither of us was blaming anyone. Go back and try again. This time try it from the principled position of understanding rather than the partisan position of liberals are wrong and to blame.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    June 20, 2014 10:08 a.m.

    I have to respectfully disagree with Ms. Baker's conclusions.

    Now for my conservative diatribe. Marxist, just because one of Obama's Czars says Bush committed war crimes doesn't make it true nor factual. For years Harry Reid, Ted Kennedy, all said "Bush lied, people died" many many times. Clinton lied on the witness stand after he'd sworn to tell the truth. You or I do that, we go to jail. I'm not going to regurgitate history for you, you can look it up yourself, except for this one point. Everyone agreed with the intelligence used to justify invading Iraq. A lot of it came from the Brits.

    June 20, 2014 8:28 a.m.

    Alas, I see but few comments that don't engage in precisely the behavior lamented by Mary Barker.

    I have one disagreement with the column, which is the notion that science is above the fray. There are really two things called by the name "science". One is the science itself, and the other is the public perception of science as presented by the popular media. Sometimes there is a correlation between the two, but often there is not. When I visit the Hansen Planetarium or read Discover magazine, I'm a bit embarrassed at how science is portrayed as something of a freak show or absolute authority rather than what it really is. (Richard Feynman famously stated that the best a scientist can say is, "I'm not wrong yet.") I'm disappointed that Americans, as a general rule, are scientifically illiterate and can't see through the false portrayal of science in the media. Nowhere is the division more pronounced than in climate science. I invite Mary Barker (and anyone else) to spend some time getting acquainted with science rather than the media portrayal of it.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    June 20, 2014 8:08 a.m.

    Come on Tea Party conservatives, accept some of the blame. You know you want to. You know it is true.

    One of you said that Reagan was a great uniter. The opposition to Reagan did not demonize him as does the opposition to Obama. An entire TV channel was not obsessed with demonizing Reagan. And we all knew he was "less than competent" in his final years of office. It was painfully obvious the man was starting his downward spiral into full blown alzheimers.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    June 20, 2014 7:48 a.m.

    In fact after reading most of the liberal posts, one has to wonder if you guys even read or understand what the author is trying to say. There a great amount of partisanship on this DN site by you guys, trying to defend Obama and the Democrats. Therefore, I'm sure in the eyes of the author, you come out no better than the conservatives do. Think about it.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    June 20, 2014 7:42 a.m.


    I hope you realize that the very position you make in your post, putting all the blame on conservatives, is EXACTLY what the author is arguing against. You therefore are the problem, not the solution.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    June 19, 2014 8:11 p.m.

    Principled v. partisan politics

    By Mary Barker
    For the Deseret News


    Another excellent article by Mary Barker!
    Agreed with others -- KEEP her.

    The lone sane [and shall I say; moderate and non-FoxNews parrot] reporter on the DN staff...

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    June 19, 2014 6:52 p.m.


    The Republican Party, for 4 years, sacrificed America to follow the #1 Republican Principle...

    Make President Obama a one term POTUS.

    The Republican Party failed.

    For the last two years, the Republican Party sacrificed America to follow the #2 Republican Principle...

    Obstruct, at all costs.

    The Republican Party has succeeded.

    The Republican Party will continue with obstruction at all costs, because they have nothing else to offer.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    June 19, 2014 6:26 p.m.

    The attacks her in this forum against republicans and conservative,

    show how partisan and personal things have become.

    We do need to get back to principle.

    I do hope the left can get back to making principled arguments and stop basing everything on their hate for the opposition.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    June 19, 2014 1:47 p.m.

    It's all about power and greed. I don't believe for a minute that politicians believe all the twisted conspiracy theories they spout off. One day it's the birth certificate, the next it's too much golf. But they never talk about 9/11 and why there was thermite or how building 7 fell without being hit by anything.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    June 19, 2014 1:26 p.m.

    To "The Real Mavelick" you got some things right, but mostly wrong since you are so biased against anything Republican.

    Reagan was actually a great uniter, and his high approval ratings that lasted through his presidency show it. If you read "Look How Far We’ve Come Apart" in the NY Times, there is a graph where members of Congress were asked how they feel towards the opposite party. The graph is quite clear that during reagan's time the polarization was there, but not bad. During Clinton't time the members of congress became more polarized and are only getting more polarized under Obama.

    You are forgetting about the 14 years of Democrats crying "Bush stole the election", followed by "I supported the war before I opposed it".

    Actually Clinton was not on trial for his adultery, he was on trial for purgery, obstruction of justice, and abuse of power. Do you think it is good to have a president that will lie in a court of law, obstruct justice, and abuse power?

    Your attemps to distract from the fact that your liberal allies are making the polarization worse only shows you willingness to allow more corruption.

  • FreedomFighter41 Provo, UT
    June 19, 2014 12:40 p.m.

    @ Real Mav

    I was just about to say the same thing. The polarization of the 2 parties has always come over race issues. Slavery in the 1850s-60s. And Civil Rights 100 years later.

    The more things change the more they stay the same. I only wish we let the south secede this time. All those welfare taker states would finally actually have to produce something rather than rely on the blue producer states.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    June 19, 2014 12:26 p.m.

    @ Redskirt

    "This is the fruit of the political divide that has been growing over the past 20 years or more. Obama received a Nobel prize because they thought he would unite the world. Instead we see that he has divided the nation. Just look at the polls since Bush was President. The nation was starting to get polarized then, but since Obama took office the polarization has increased dramatically."

    In the 90s, the Clintons were accused of murder in Arkansas. Even their daughter was called horrible things.

    Remember the polarization of Terri Schrivo? Repubs jumped all over that to hurt democrats.

    The (republican) speaker of the house also led a witch hunt to impeach the president for his adultery while he himself was carrying on in adulterous affairs.

    The great polarization started years ago. I would say it got a real stimulus under Newt. It was kick started under Reagan (the great divider). And it started at the civil rights act, in 1964.

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    June 19, 2014 12:19 p.m.

    Karen R. is right on!

    Utah is a perfect example. We have a state governed by conservatives who aren't afraid to use fairly high taxation (liberal idea) to fund a well run government. (government = liberal idea).

    Utah promotes business (conservative idea), and fortunately these businesse's tendencies toward environmental excess are stymied by federal ownership of Utah Land. (liberal idea) and federal environmental laws. (liberal and conservative idea)

    Good ideas are where you find them regardless of political origin.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    June 19, 2014 12:13 p.m.

    This is the fruit of the political divide that has been growing over the past 20 years or more. Obama received a Nobel prize because they thought he would unite the world. Instead we see that he has divided the nation. Just look at the polls since Bush was President. The nation was starting to get polarized then, but since Obama took office the polarization has increased dramatically. Politicians need us to be divided so that they can use that division as a distraction to their goals.

  • Hamath Omaha, NE
    June 19, 2014 10:28 a.m.

    So... most of the posts here violate the basic premise of the excellent article. We deserve our elected officials. They represent ourselves. The Left blames the right instead of trying to find common ground and the Right blames the left. We prove it ourselves by laying blame instead of focusing on solutions. Both will want to show me how wrong I am, how there side isn't doing that, how it's mostly (or laughably all) the other side faults.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    June 19, 2014 9:58 a.m.

    Re: Happy2bhere "Wars, by the way people like Clinton, Kerry, Reid,..." True enough. These politicos didn't have the courage to do the right thing when it really mattered, so they voted for the Iraq resolution even though most of them knew the Bush, Cheney arguments were bogus. But the Bush/Cheney administration built the "case" for war, and the GOP bears the guilt which leads to much of our polarization.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    June 19, 2014 9:36 a.m.

    Thank you, Ms. Barker. Politicians, I don't care what your political affiliation is. If you come to me with ideas based in reason and the common good, you're going to get a hearing from me. If you come at me with ideology first, then you've created a hurdle of distrust for yourself.

    We did not become a great nation because of any one ideology or religious perspective. We became a great nation because we took the best from ALL of them. Can we get smart again, please?

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    June 19, 2014 9:32 a.m.

    “shame on you, Mr. President, for lying to a grand jury?”

    Shame on you, Republican Party, for literally turning a President’s sex life into a Federal case. Did that help America in any way? No, absolutely not. It just distracted attention away from significant issues, like Terrorism.

    Republicans were insanely jealous that Clinton would leave GW Bush a country at peace, with strong allies, a history of four straight budget surpluses, and a strong economy. And so they decided to literally make a Federal case out of the President’s sex life.

    Shame on you Republican Party.

    And then GW completely DESTROYED Clinton’s brilliant gift to the nation in only eight years. But the Republicans, not being ethical enough to admit their mistakes, constantly twist the facts and invent lies in attempts to blame everyone but themselves.

    Shame on you Republican Party.

    Even now, as GW’s horrible legacy reasserts itself, the Republicans insist it’s Obama’s fault.
    I say, hold the people responsible accountable. And please don’t imply that Democrats in any way share the lack of character and integrity that seems to define American “Conservatism.”

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    June 19, 2014 9:11 a.m.

    I agree that sensible people should be able to agree on what is principled and what is partisan, but I think the author has left out the concept of proportionality.

    I think that President Clinton's behavior was distasteful, and should be criticized, but does it compare with President Bush's discretionary war in Iraq, which resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people?

    Or what about 9/11 vs. Benghazi? Both incidents were tragic, and I've never felt Bush should be blamed for the deaths of nearly 3000 people who were killed in the 9/11 attacks. Every bad thing that happens is not the president's fault.

    But 4 Americans were killed in Benghazi and the right has kept up an endless stream of venom towards Hillary and President Obama over the unfortunate deaths. Sometimes U. S. citizens in dangerous places get hurt or killed, and it doesn't mean there is a conspiracy at play.

    It seems that the right has become so resentful towards Obama's presidency, and Bush's failures, that no issue is beyond being attacked by the conservative naysayers, as witnessed by the attacks on Michelle over her advocacy of healthy school lunches!

  • E Sam Provo, UT
    June 19, 2014 8:53 a.m.

    Another outstanding Mary Barker piece.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    June 19, 2014 7:52 a.m.

    To the point of intensity, I've noted a few times here that periodically a leftie on this post will agree with a conservative point, but I'm not sure I've ever seen the opposite except as sarcasm.

    As harsh as the criticism was for GWB there were moments of unity in the country and even general liberal support for some policies and decisions. I dare someone to find that same unity during the Obama years.

    There's an interesting book about conservatism called the "Reactionary Mind" I think the title is on to something.

    It's pretty easy to believe in fiscal responsibility, and human rights as principles. I'll bet most Democrats, and Republicans would say they subscribe to the principles. I think it's harder to believe in such principles in a dynamic and rapidly changing world when you see through the lens, or think through the fog of conservatism, which by definition wants things to stay the same. They don't and fiscal responsibility is not the same today as 1950.

    Thus the reaction and intensity of the conservative tribe.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    June 19, 2014 7:16 a.m.

    Some of the people Mary talks about were just as abusive to Bush and the Iraq war, (some even the Afghanistan war). Wars, by the way people like Clinton, Kerry, Reid, all voted for. (take note of that Marxist). And now, we have a President and first lady that we are supposed to go soft on? This column seems to believe that no one should have any allegiance to anything. That we as people should all be nice equal little lemmings that follow a supreme leader like, our dear Obama, I suppose? Look at it like this. How could any person have a religion and a belief in God, without there being an automatic seperation of values from others who choose not to believe? As long as there are two people on planet Earth, there will be disagreement, sometimes it will be principled, sometimes it will be partisan. It always has been that way, and always will. What surprises me is that I think Mary doesn't understand that, or actually believes it can change.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    June 19, 2014 7:12 a.m.

    But I thought the political Conservative mind did not believe in compromise. Isn't that a dirty word to Tea Party folks? Everything to a political conservative is black and white. Government is inherently evil to most Fox viewers (well, when a Democrat is in charge anyway). There may be a few deeply left political liberals left who are like that, but the majority of the so-called left is really only a bit left of center.

    If you don't believe in compromise or the idea that we must all get along and govern based on mutual interests, then how can we get along politically or socially?

  • micawber Centerville, UT
    June 19, 2014 12:54 a.m.

    Mary Barker is a joy to read: thoughtful and articulate. Keep her, Deseret News.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    June 19, 2014 12:37 a.m.

    "Haidt argues that our innate need to form groups is the cause of today’s polarized partisan divide. Yet, it can’t account for its intensity."

    I believe one reason for the intensity of our partisan divide is the need of the American political right wing to defend the indefensible - the Iraq invasion. The network of falsehoods used to justify that invasion, and the destruction and loss of life engendered by that invasion constitute the most criminal foreign policy in the history of the United States. Counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke stated recently that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld Committed War Crimes and could have charges brought against them at the Hague.

    So to keep from facing these horrors, the right vilifies Obama relentlessly. The Deseret News editorial page is a demonstration.

    "Ex-Counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke: Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld Committed War Crimes