I’ll be the first to admit that we point a lot of fingers over here without always recognizing people who are doing a good job. For instance, Bud Selig, although old, ugly and responsible for some of the worst excesses in the game of baseball’s long history, has also helped several teams secure the funding they needed to build new stadiums and has so far managed to avoid contraction.
The same thing goes for the government. It’s easy to focus on the guys who show up on MSNBC and Fox News to spout whatever partisan talking points have been approved for the day but we tend to hear a lot less about the guys who stand up and give it to us straight or who quietly support something they believe in personally even if it doesn’t necessarily follow the party line. So here’s a few guys with whom I generally disagree but who deserve some respect anyway.
This one is pretty easy because Gates has actually been a very effective and post-partisan Secretary of Defense. However, he recently brought it to another level as he took Congress to task for wasteful defense spending and then spoke his mind in front of the graduating class at West Point. Gates is on his way out so it’s a little easier for him to call it like he sees it but it’s still something worth mentioning.
Alito is a conservative’s conservative. Even when he does something I agree with, it’s usually for a completely different reason than why I would have done it. However, when he voiced the sole dissent with the Court’s opinion in the Westboro Baptist Church case, you had to feel a little twinge of pride. Sure, I don’t agree with his legal reasoning and the court made the right decision in light of the First Amendment. However, Alito expressed what pretty much all the rest of us were thinking when he wrote “In order to have a society in which public issues can be openly and
vigorously debated, it is not necessary to allow the brutalization of
innocent victims like petitioner. I therefore respectfully dissent.” I respectfully concur.
Yep, he made the list, too. And honestly, generally Dick is a dick. But like any parent, when you mess with his kids, you wake up a giant. You don’t want to do that, especially when it’s a giant who shot his own friend in the face with a shotgun. So it really shouldn’t come as any surprise to find out that Dick does not toe the party line when it comes to gay marriage, especially since one of his daughters is gay. Cheney even famously parted ways from his Commander in Chief when it came to the issue of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Hey, maybe he’s not such a dick after all.
Being a Senator means that sometimes you get to be above the fray. In general, it’s a contemplative body that acts as a check on the hot-headedness of the House. So in an era when disentangling the US from any sort of foreign involvement has become the mantra of the Right, it’s nice to see a Senator from the Right stand up and say that what we need is a more robust and intelligent foreign involvement. You tell ’em, Lindsey.
Sure, Graham and Gates tend toward the more moderate positions so maybe this isn’t all that bold of a list. But I still think it’s important to give credit where it’s due. More than that, it’s nice to see some politicians show some balls. Too bad the Democrats can’t do it from time to time.