The grand illusion of partisan politics

Hagmann P.I.
March 13, 2013

By Douglas J. Hagmann

If you were born in the early to mid-1970s or before, you might remember Oldsmobile’s attempt to convince the car-buying population that their brand of car changed by their new slogan, “[T]his is not your father’s Oldsmobile.”  The ad campaign first appeared in 1988 and was seen as an attempt to convince the buying public that Oldsmobile had changed to appeal to a younger crowd while still maintaining their respect from the “old guard” of car buyers.

Well, consumers didn’t buy the marketing ploy – literally, at least in terms of the product. After a protracted period of trying to convince the public of its broad appeal, General Motors ceased production of Oldsmobile in 2004. This marketing ploy is relevant to today’s partisan politics as I assert that this is not your father’s government.  Or your grandfather’s government.

Many believe that a two-party political system consisting of Republicans and Democrats standing for vastly different values and objectives is alive and well across America. True patriotic Conservatives who are accurately informed, well researched and historically astute know otherwise. We see through the thin veneer of the Madison Avenue gloss and look at the substance, and frankly, don’t care much for the not-so-slick salesman tactics of the establishment Republicans.

Revelations compliments of Rand Paul

Perhaps the latest and most telling of all recent events was the political polarization caused by the 13-hour filibuster by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. It might seem like old news, but the importance of the reaction by certain members of the Republican party must not be minimized, for it is quite telling. Regardless of how you feel about Senator Paul, his actions revealed an important distinction, or lack thereof, between elected parties who still recognize the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights as the supreme law of the land.

At issue was, and for all practical purposes still is, the nomination of “drone czar” John Brennan to head the CIA and the use of drones and lethal force without due process against United States citizens on U.S. soil. Senator Paul asked for a simple response from the Attorney General, who represents the Executive branch of our government. Without a response, Paul took to the Senate floor and spoke for 13 hours. As painful as it was for the Executive and Judicial branches and their media mouthpieces even to acknowledge Senator Paul’s persistence, his actions eventually generated a response. A short letter signed by Attorney General Holder was begrudgingly released. The answer was “no,” at least according to the letter.

In this case, Senator Rand Paul served not only his constituents well, but every American who still cares about the rule of law and our God-given rights as enumerated in the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights. Presumably, an issue of this magnitude should matter to every American, regardless of political party. The blowback he received, however, tells us otherwise.

Party loyalty or loyalty to our Constitution?

The open hostile criticism Paul received, and those who took him to task or failed to support him, must be duly noted by every Conservative in America. Political hubris is not confined to political party, nor is the virtual shredding of the document of our founders. It is at this point in our history that everyone, and especially those who consider themselves Conservatives, must publicly declare their loyalty to our Constitution and Bill of Rights. In my view, anything less is a deliberate betrayal to our nation and every citizen. Some might even call it treasonous.

For such reasons, we should thank Rand Paul for demanding public and transparent accountability where none before existed. We should also be thankful for the collateral effect his actions had in identifying those who publicly minimized the issue by citing the alleged lack of concern over this matter during the Bush administration, Lindsey Graham and John McCain. I do, however, agree with both McCain and Graham in one sense – true Conservatives should have been outraged over the Bush policies, and many indeed were. But that’s where my agreement, as an American citizen who cherishes the rights enumerated by the Constitution, begins and ends with McCain and Graham on this issue.

As an American caught up in the fervor and need for justice in response to the 9/11 attacks, I’ll admit that I accepted and supported the passage of the various laws and formation of the different agencies, from the Patriot Act to the Department of Homeland Security. I’ll take full responsibility for my errors in judgment. Once I was able to shake off the initial shock of the event and conduct my own research into the larger agenda, I was able to see that we were and still are, being lied to by elected officials on both sides of the political spectrum.

Ultimately, I matured and extricated myself from the confines of the false Republican-Democrat paradigm. I stopped listening to the pundits and talking heads and began my search for the truth. It was a painful process as I found that the political posturing was just like the slick media car campaign. Unlike your choice between an Oldsmobile and another model, however, the stakes are much higher, yet the choice is much simpler.

You are either loyal to our Constitution and Bill of Rights and everything our nation once represented, or you are not. It’s that simple. The happenstance of odd political bedfellows be damned.

HAGMANN P.I. (Doug Hagmann)
Private Investigator for over 35 years. TV Host, Radio Host and Author.

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