Republicans are from Mars, Democrats are from Venus
Mar 14, 2013

Republicans are from Mars, Democrats are from Venus

Some days it feels like the different sides of the US political map really are different species. Today was one of those days. Controversial freshman Republican Senator Ted Cruz got into a bit of an exchange with a Dianne Feinstein, a stalwart of the Senate Democratic leadership, over gun rights.

The video of this exchange lit up on the blogosphere today (yes, I am making one of those self indulgent posts where a blogger comments on the state of the blogosphere). What was interesting, however, is how both sides considered the victory an amusing knock out win for their side. 

Here is Redstate, one of the most prominent right wing blogs: 
A Ted Cruz Missile Strikes Dianne Feinstein: 
If Ted Cruz keeps this up in the Senate, Democrats might try to impose gun control on his Cruz missile strikes. Earlier today at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on guns, Ted Cruz directly challenges Dianne Feinstein to answer how her gun bans are constitutional if the same language protecting the right to bear arms (“the right of the people”) is used for the First and Fourth Amendments, which presumably, nobody would try to limit in the same way. Of course, she had no answer, except to act like a pugnacious school child.
This sounds bad, the left must be pretty embarrassed. Nope, here is Mother Jones, one of the most prominent left wing blogs: 
Feinstein Smacks Down Cruz Over Gun Ban: "I Am Not a 6th-Grader"...but not before Sen. Ted Cruz, the freshman Republican from Texas, aimed to give Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the five-term Democrat from California, a lesson about the Bill of Rights. He suggested that it was a slippery slope from banning bazookas to banning books. Feinstein was not impressed.
...and so it went. 

I get that people can disagree on policies. I get that people can disagree on values. But we are losing our collective ability to be accurate judges of, well, just about anything that even tangentially intersects with politics.  This isn't a case of the Romney 47% video where the left makes a big deal and the right ignores it. This isn't the "you didn't build that" microquote from Obama triumphed just by the right to fit their narrative.   The same video is being simultaneously triumphed by both sides as a clear win demonstrating the idiocy of the other side.

We saw this just so poignantly in the last election where numerous Republican's - up to and including Mitt Romney and his core team - fervently believed in an alternate reality where they were going to win the election. Reading the rightwing blogs at the time and it was all discussion of biases in likely voter models, and how turnout was going to be adjusted from 2008, etc. Election forecasting should, in principle, be entirely nonpartisan. Yet they aren't as opinions about things like election forecasts had deep set partisan divides.

You would think the left and the right could have a discussion about all the different topics that are related to politics (like election forecasting). But the reality is that the ingroup/outgroup identifications are so strong, and so pernicious, that for most of the time the two groups could just as well be from different planets. 

I should add that I am usually one of those that thinks there are considerable similarities between the two parties and while there are important differences, they are actually far closer than we give them credit for. However, this is a comment about values and policy positions, when it comes to forming partisan teams and parsing everything through that lens, they are as far away as ever. 

And since I can't really pretend I am not a partisan, I will note for the record that the Democrats in the video definitely laid the smack down on Ted Cruz, and not the other way around. Constitutional universalism is a viewpoint that has been widely and repeatedly rejected by the courts, and Feinstein is correct to lay it on thick when the simplistic red meat throwing "but what about the 2nd amendment?" style questions get thrown at her. 

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