Many on the far left believe they hold the moral high ground and if only others would stop (a) being so prejudiced and (b) making things up, we all could move forward together.

Recent experience has shown me the truth is far more complicated. In terms of liberal prejudice, in a recent post I noted that many liberals were all too quick to write-off peoples’ heartfelt concerns about our education system because they were Asian or because of their political philosophy.  In terms of not being open to facts that do not fit liberal orthodoxy, last week when I was a speaker at a Commonwealth Club event, not a pro wrestling cage match, audience members shouted that I was “wrong” and told me to shut up when I tried to answer the moderator’s questions.

I never expect everyone to agree with me on everything. Heck, I have been married for over 30 years.   I have learned, sometimes slowly, there usually are at least two sides to an issue and sometimes I am just plain wrong. And I have been in politics too long to take any of this personally. But if my friends on the left are truly interested in stopping this left-right food fight, I would suggest we start by listening to each other and at least be willing to discuss data that questions some liberal “truths”.

For example, at the Commonwealth Club I said an increase in the earned income tax credit was a better idea than raising the minimum wage. I said my position was based in part on the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report indicating an increasing the minimum wage could cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. Members of the audience shouted that such statement was “wrong” and my fellow panelist, Governor Jennifer Granholm agreed with them. Yet in the very first page of the report, the CBO said: “the $10.10 option would reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers”.

I also said the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare to some) would cost American jobs. Again, strong verbal disagreement from the audience and the Governor. Yet The Hill reported:

[The CBO] said the equivalent of 2.3 million workers would be lost by 2021, compared to its previous estimate of 800,000, and that 2.5 million workers would be lost by 2024 . . . Although the CBO projects that total employment and compensation will increase over the coming decade, that increase will be smaller than it would have been in the absence of the healthcare law.

On the Keystone Pipeline, I pointed out that by not completing the pipeline we would be increasing pollution and oil spills. Again, strong verbal opposition from the floor and the dais. Yet, the Obama Administration’s State Department stated the “rail transportation options would result in 28 percent to 42 percent more emissions than the pipeline”. With respect to spills: “The State Department report estimates that the Keystone XL carrying 830,000 barrels a day would likely result in . . . spilling 518 barrels a year. Under the most optimistic rail-transport scenario 1,335 barrels a year [would be spilled].

So let’s have the debate. In the era of big data, lets’ examine the facts. But if it truly is to be a debate, shouting down those that do not agree and ignoring information provided by independent, not to mention Democratic, sources is not a path that will move us forward together.