This column was written by CBS News Early Show Co-Anchor.
It would be simpler, you know, if America really could be painted with brushes drenched only in red and blue paint; if we could box up the country's convictions in simple columns, left and right.
Polarization is a popular and effective tactic. And it's preferable for its simplicity. Your opponent's the bad guy. It's easy -- you should try it sometime.
(Click here to listen to MP3 of Harry Smith's commentary.)
The world started spinning in reverse though, this week, when those crazy senators took a moderate path toward judicial nominations. And now comes news that the House of Representatives, in an act of utter defiance, is going to pass a stem cell research bill to the Senate. A bill the president promises to veto. Yep, veto. That's a word you haven't heard in long time. Because of the Republican control of Congress, President Bush hasn't vetoed a single piece of legislation since the day he took office. The stem cell bill doesn't seem to have enough votes to make it veto-proof. So maybe all of this is moot.
But just when you thought it was safe to split the country, emotions and motives have started spilling out all over the place.
Yesterday the president hosted parents and children whose families have sprouted from frozen embryos that otherwise would have gone unused -- a compelling picture to be sure. But, at the same time a wheelchair-bound young woman appeared in the Capitol to plead with Congress to think of her future too. Just who has a greater claim to those embryos? It's not a question whose answer is red or blue.
Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many across the country.
By Harry Smith
Copyright 2005 CBS. All rights reserved.