Friday, October 21, 2011

Being offended by policy

Last week I was sitting at the desk of the office I'm interning at and I heard a Congressman on CSPAN arguing against federal funding of abortion. One point he mentioned was that half the country opposed abortion and would thus be offended if the federal gov't funded it. I immediately spouted off a response in front of one of the staffers, which was that I would find it offensive if you as a Republican wanted to fund infrastructure projects in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other foreign countries yet not want to do so here in the US. And that my taking offense to that policy wouldn't change his mind, thus taking offense to federal funding of abortion is not a a very good reason to oppose it as a policy.

Well, it turns out that Republicans do in fact want to federally fund infrastructure projects in other countries:

Republicans have made blanket opposition to big federal spending projects a cornerstone of their policy agenda. That means even historically bipartisan programs like infrastructure investment are DOA in Congress, at least for the time being.

So it came as a bit of a surprise to hear a GOP senator who’s up for re-election this cycle say on Fox News, “We can go over there and help them build their infrastructure up.”

That’s Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). He wasn’t talking about a forlorn corner of the United States, though. He was talking about Libya. And the ‘infrastructure’ he was talking about didn’t really include schools and bridges.

“One of the problems I have from leading from behind is when a day like this comes we don’t have the infrastructure in place that we could have,” Graham explained. Here he’s talking about the metaphorical infrastructure of U.S. forces and appointees on the ground who can help direct events. However, he soon moved on to talking about another type of infrastructure — the kind that helps with extracting oil.

This isn't to say that funding infrastructure in places like Libya is necessarily a bad idea. Its just that given the circumstances we face in the US (high unemployment, poor infrastructure, low interest rates) it seems like funding infrastructure here would take priority. You would think that patriotic Republicans who like to tout the US as the greatest country ever would like to implement policy that helps make that statement more factual than an ideal goal.

I'm not really offended, in a strict sense, by these types of things. They just annoy me. Poor logic annoys me, especially coming from supposedly smart people who are suppose to be running the country. So I don't mean to say that being offended is a good logical argument for not implementing a policy. Just don't use that emotion as a reason why you don't support a certain policy because there is almost certainly something you support that others will find offensive.

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