I want to be evenhanded in my opinions. I want to imagine that I've given a fair chance to the opposition before settling on my eventual position. Some bias is expected, but I like to think that I've been generally open minded. So it bothers me when I find myself dismissing positions and policies and ideas put forth by Republicans without even evaluating them. I hear that they're from Senator (R) of State and I immediately tune out.
When I go back to review a bill or statement by a Republican, I inevitably find that my knee-jerk reaction was correct. It bothered me tremendously until I figured it out; I don't take Republicans seriously because I've been buying into the false dichotomy of American politics. We have two political parties, one conservative, one ostensibly liberal. But that isn't necessarily the reality. In truth, one is conservative and the other is super-conservative. Republican and Democrat are our only real choices, but it isn't a real choice. It's a choice between Oligarchs; Kang v. Kodos.
By all measures that matter, Reagan - hell, Nixon - was more liberal than Obama. And yet we are still faced with decisions. In 2012 will it be Obama v. Bachman? Obama v. Huckabee? Obama v. Pawlenty? These are ridiculous choices. If conservatives (not the insane ones, to be clear) are clear-headed enough, they'll vote for Obama. Republican contenders (not yet chosen, to be fair) are, so far, fascist lunatics. Without them for contrast, Obama would appear to appeal to the conservative base. Sure, he's pro-choice and not homophobic, but is that really the only measure we can use to judge legitimate candidates? He's proven to be pro-war and pro-big business, he's failed to follow up on most of his 2008 campaign promises (closing Guantanamo, scaling back the wars, reforming health care in any real sense, adding oversight to industry, etc, etc). Only by modern political standards is he liberal.
So my problem is not that I can't take conservatives seriously or entertain their ideas. My problem is that the Democratic party of 2011 is as conservative as I am willing to go and there isn't really a real liberal party. Sorry if this is too "Godwin's law," but the Republican party had may as well be fascists or the Taliban for all the respect I feel that I owe them. I seriously disagree with many, if not most, Democratic policies, but I feel as though I can have a conversation with them and see their point of view.
Once I realized that, I felt relieved because I knew that I could have some legitimate and intellectually honest political discourse. I also was profoundly depressed because I saw that our country was completely fucked, because choosing between Republicans and Democrats is like choosing between the devil and the deep blue sea.