You're not supposed to look for a future mate at a family reunion.
There's good reason for that. Inbreeding is not good for the long-term survival of any species, including ours. Offspring get progressively weirder after generations of inbreeding.
I'm beginning to think that the same thing that applies to the world of biology applies to the world of ideas - especially political ideas. Over the past few decades, I've watched both political parties divide into separate populations like tribes separated by a mountain range.
Their ideas find mates only in their own tribe, and the flaws in both basic philosophies are magnified through each successive generation. Both sides have their own media preaching their own gospels to their own choirs. I'll coin a phrase to describe the phenomenon. It's intellectual incest.
Let's pick on the Republicans first because they are by far the biggest generators of talking-point press releases. Come by my office some day and I'll show you my e-mail inbox. While I welcome the releases I get from my senators on a daily basis and sometimes more often than that, I got on Rand Paul's list somehow. Add to them the releases from outfits such as Freedom's Phoenix, Americans for Limited Government, Bill Wilson and the Centennial Institute and you'll get enough anti-administration obstructionism to make another dam on the Colorado River.
Inbreeding of Republican ideas has led to a philosophy that all tax cuts are good and bigger tax cuts are better. So under that philosophy it was okay to launch two wars, undertake an astounding increase in the surveillance and intelligence bureaucracy, outsource many of these combat and intelligence operations to highly-paid contractors...and not restore taxes to a sensible level to finance any of this.
They also toss about the word "socialism" casually without understanding what it means. Quiz: Are Price, Helper and Bountiful socialist because their electric companies are government owned? (The answer is yes, because this is classic social ownership of the means of production or distribution of an economic good. You don't hear anyone complaining. Who cares?)
They disparage Keynesian economics because they don't get it. Government can go into deficit when times are bad to keep the economy running, but when times are good, the deficit is supposed to be paid off. Instead of using the budget surplus of a dozen years ago to pay down the national debt, the administration at the time decided that the surplus "belonged to the American people" - instead of to the government's creditors - and watched the deficit grow.
Democrats, on the other hand, never met a social program or regulation they didn't like. I remember LBJ's "Guns and Butter" approach, where it was okay to wage a war in Vietnam and a War on Poverty simultaneously, without enough money to pay for either one.
The Dems also tend to go overboard on top-down, centralized decision making, especially where the environment and public lands are concerned. Anyone remember how the Grand Staircase National Monument came to be? Presidential decree, without even the courtesy to notify the congressman whose district it was in or the state's senators.
Nobody here is going to forget how this administration's Interior Department pulled the rug out from scores of oil and gas leaseholders because some of those leases may have been too close to environmentally or culturally significant land. Nor is Carbon County going to forget the unilateral locking of four dirt roads on the Tavaputs Plateau by the BLM.
It goes on and on. Without some cross fertilization of ideas and philosophies, this trend is going to continue. Compromise - once an art form in government - is fast becoming a dirty word. Obstruction of government's responsibility to govern is now confused with some sort of heroism. Check out the backlog of unapproved presidential appointments and the flow of adjectives and adverbs from the GOP when the President made a few recess appointments to get something done.
So, to get back to the meaning of the first paragraph, inbreeding isn't good for people or ideas. Take a look at the offspring of both extremes - the Tea Party and the Occupy Movement - and you'll understand what I mean.