Democrats think that the way you weed an overgrown garden is to pour fertilizer on it and take a nap; Republicans think the way you weed a garden is you get that one little weed right there, that little bastard, in your crosshairs and just shoot at it until you run out of ammunition. Both garner applause from spectators, but most weeds are fine with either approach.


8 comments on “Gardening

  1. Skef says:

    We’re talking about the poor here, presumably?

  2. poseidonian says:

    We’re talking about non-means-tested Social Security and Medicare benefits for the upper middle class, presumably? We’re talking about Predator drones for assassinating Pakistanis presumably? I couldn’t begin to characterize the countlessly many things we spend money on, and neither could you.

  3. Skef says:

    Well, that’s all true, of course, but your metaphor at least implies that there are things (weeds in the garden) that both parties agree are bad and they’re just being incompetent at getting rid of. But its not clear that that’s what is going on at any level (either the actual congressmen or the party memberships generally). The closest match that gets frequent mention might be farm subsidies, but those don’t exist because of the parties so much as because the Senate decided it never goes out of session.

  4. poseidonian says:

    Hm. I didn’t say one word about “the poor” and I can’t see how “your metaphor implies that there are things that both parties agree are bad” and “your metaphor implies that the target of budget cuts are the poor” are equivalent or even linked. You think that the Democrats believe that spending money on the poor is bad? You think I or anyone could conceivably think that? Weird. I think I’ll steer clear of responding to your broached and abandoned thought that I might want to exterminate the poor, and regard it as an innocent salvo in a lively political discussion.

    In any case, the metaphor was meant to imply that there is some need to cut the deficit, and that while both parties seem to agree that far, neither seems all that serious about it, though their unseriousness manifests itself in rather different ways. Of course the parties differ on their revenue source and spending priorities; that goes without saying.

  5. Skef says:

    Whoops, sorry … I’m not actually here to troll. I stumbled across your blog a while back and added it to my RSS do-hicky out of interest and in appreciation of the quality of writing. You’re probably sick of me enough as a result of this, and won’t have much sympathy for this anyway, but let me try to put my ducks back in a row:

    There is a current struggle over cutting in the congress that largely breaks down across party lines and has a significant focus on social service programs. I take it that if anything is currently in the republican’s cross-hairs, and is simultaneously something democrats don’t want to cut, then, it is those programs. To weed is to remove weeds, and being a weed is, conventionally, a bad thing. My comment plainly sounded like I was attributing this view to you, but the point I was inaptly trying to make was “there is this implication here … are you sure you want to be making it?”

    I’m a bit more comfortable with the content my follow-up, which (with luck) just makes the point that weeding a garden is not an easy thing if it belongs to multiple people and they don’t agree on which plants are the weeds.

    Again, sorry. I don’t know you, and attempts to make these kinds of points are best done between friends or with much greater care.

  6. poseidonian says:

    Fair enough! My intention was to address The Deficit as the issue, not any particular form of it, and that the reduction of the deficit was being likened to weeding. Honestly, the example of Republican posturing that came to mind was NPR spending – that was the “shooting at it ” metaphor. And I wasn’t even thinking that NPR was itself weedy! Just that money spent by borrowing is inherently weedy. I had intended green living things to represent federal spending of all kinds, the presence of weeds being that there is too much of it given revenue (and the presence of other plants, this being a garden, indicates that there is something that money should be spent on). It never even occurred to me that the competition between two parties over who can can outdo the other in ignoring runaway entitlement spending and irresponsible tax cuts was “about” social spending or the poor at all. I thought it was about seeing how far we can get away with doing nothing about the deficit while scoring points against each others’ parties. But I would never intend to compare a class of people to something that should be exterminated. It’s the debt financing I want to see exterminated, but through an honest and judicious balance of entitlement reform, fewer ambitious uses of the military and progressive tax increases.

  7. The Martian says:

    What do you think, if anything, of the budget drafted by the progressive caucus?

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