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Matthews: Politics is about big ideas, reasons

Let me finish tonight with why so many people look down on politicians.It's this.This skirmishing, this pie-eating contest, this sack-race, this absurd picnic a

Let me finish tonight with why so many people look down on politicians.

It's this.

This skirmishing, this pie-eating contest, this sack-race, this absurd picnic atmosphere of one side against the other, the waste of beautiful summer afternoons with dank arguments in the basement.

This isn't why I love politics - why I've loved it all my life. This is the Florida recount. This is Al Gore picking out which counties he wants recounted, thinking that's the way to win. This is "W" finding a way to get to the Supreme Court to get himself chosen president rather than elected by popular demand.  This is baseball, not by Babe Ruth, but by bunt. This is tennis, not aces but little flea flickers across the net when your opponent is back at the line. This is chicken-crap.

Look, we either have a real solvency problem as a country or we don't.  If we do, this effort to cut the deficit is real. If we really do have a problem of spending more than we're bringing in, we need to solve it by bringing up revenues as we rein in spending.  If it's real, then we need to take it on in a real way - pulling up that 14 percent of taxes and pulling down that 25 percent of spending - so they meet somewhere around 22 percent - which seems about right given the aging population.

It isn’t complicated.  We've got a numbers system to do it.  There's no other way to do the math.  If you want government to spend 22 percent of the economy, cough up the 22 percent in taxes to pay for it - or stop talking and get out of the way.  

If the Democrats want to say government should be larger - say so.  If the Republicans want to say government should be down at 14 percent, let "them" say so and tell us what program they want to kill.

I love politics because it's about big ideas, about big reasons, about the kind of country you want to live in, the role you want America to play in the world. It's not about debt ceilings or whether to pay for things you've already bought. It's not the "return" country. 

It's a beautiful country in a beautiful summer.  We ought to get outside and debate the big-picture, blue-sky stuff - what kind of country we want this to be. 

That's why I like politics - the Roosevelt, Kennedy, Reagan stuff - the stuff even young kids like me cared about.