Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The GOP, Crack Cocaine & Third Parties

If a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged, to use the old aphorism, then Pete Abel is a moderate who has been mugged by his own party, in this case the right wingers who have tried to tear down the Republican Big Tent.

Abel, who blogs at Central Sanity and co-blogs with me at The Moderate Voice, is fighting back and plans to devote his considerable energies to regaining the moderate Republican high ground in the run-up to the 2008 election.

Besides actually putting his money where his mouth is, Pete also is (gasp!) capable of changing his mind, that rarest of qualities in the political arena.

He acknowledges in a post titled Involvement, Not Quantity, Is the Answer, that until quite recently he felt that there needed to be more than two major political parties in the U.S. for the system to work.

But Pete says he now realizes that:
"The problems [with the system] arise not when we have two major parties, but when one of them controls both Congressional chambers and the White House, effectively locking up two of the three branches of government and all-but-eliminating one of the most inspiring concepts encoded in our Constitution, namely, the concept of checks and balances . . . The key is to ensure that we have at least two equally viable parties from which to choose. And that requires attention and focus and commitment on the part of the electorate – first, to the parties that are versus the parties that might be."
It is not my intention to beat up on Pete, but I think he takes the equation only about two thirds of the way. The other third?

The trend toward the homogenization of the major parties, the result of which is that it is increasingly impossible to tell Democrats from Republicans.

The primary reason for that is simple:
Both parties are addicted to money and beholden to the special interest groups -- big pharma, health-insurance companies, the defense industry, and so on -- that provide buckets full of it to run their campaigns, underwrite their political conventions and scratch their various itches.

Until either or both parties are cured of that addiction -- and I simply don't see it happening -- neither party will be truly viable for me.
Meanwhile, Gottlieb over at My Left Wing embraces the emergence of a third party and gives the Dems a well-deserved kick in the slats:
"The point of any third party is not to win an election against the two-party Borg, but to do what is right. Moral conscience is more important than political expediency. This would seem a no-brainer, but, no, it appears the majority of so-called 'liberals,' 'progressives' or 'Democrats' are willing to take baby-steps to end a prolonged, illegal, irresponsible and immoral war declared by a coup d'etat installed imperial presidency with delusions of hubritic grandeur with nothing to show for their dreams of vainglory but tragic consequences.

"If any evidence is needed to immediately begin a mass independent populist movement to check our runaway government that has lost its moral compass, common sense and fiscal conscience, it is the betrayal of the Democratic Party to the vast majority of voters that returned it to power in November 2006 to accomplish one thing quickly. <>"The Democratic Party is not worthy to receive the support of any card-carrying liberal."
More here.

Finally, Jurrasicpork at Welcome to Pottersville sticks it to the GOP, correctly noting that it is disingenuous to blame all of its ills on a deeply unpopular president:
"[A]t this point 2004 looks like an aberration, an election won with fear-and-smear tactics that have passed their sell-by date. Republicans no longer have a perceived edge over Democrats on national security — and without that edge, they stand revealed as ideologues out of step with an increasingly liberal American public.

"Part of the Republican collapse surely reflects public disgust with the Bush administration. The gap between the parties will probably get even wider when — not if — more and worse tales of corruption and abuse of power emerge.

"But polling data on the issues . . . suggest that the GOP’s problems lie as much with its ideology as with one man’s disastrous reign.

"For the conservatives who run today’s Republican Party are devoted, above all, to the proposition that government is always the problem, never the solution. For a while the American people seemed to agree; but lately they’ve concluded that sometimes government is the solution, after all, and they’d like to see more of it."

More here.


Pete Abel said...

I don't think it's possible to feel beat up by you, not if you continue to approach debates in your typical, cordial and constructive manner.

Besides, I think this particular debate is going to go on for some time, and if we're in it for the long haul, we might as well get along!

In terms of the disillusionment with the GOP, I wonder if it's because people realize "that sometimes government is the solution, after all, and they'd like to see more of it," or it's because people realize the government of late has operated with such wreckless abandon, they'd simply like to see a group of adults running the show. Even at Kos's site, the new D mantra seems to be "better government not bigger government."

Shaun Mullen said...


Thank you for the kind words.

Would you care to weigh in on what I see as the pernicious effects of big money?

Superdestroyer said...

But how will the U.S. function with a s a single party state. Can a government delivery quality services in a single party state? How can individuals make changes in a single party state?

When the Republican party collapses into irrelevancy, who will be the winners and losers and what are the long term implications?

Shaun Mullen said...


Given that the Democrats hid behind a big rock, we got a pretty good look at how the U.S. functioned as a single-party state during the first five or so years of the Bush presidency.

It was not a pretty sight.

Superdestroyer said...


Given that at the height of Republican power, they managed to eck out at 51% majority.

The real question is how will the country function when the Democrats get a 70% majority? Look at how little that President Bush and the Republican Congress did during those six years.

I cannot image that the Democrats will be as passive when they dominate politics.

I live near DC and see everyday what happens in a one party state. Horrible schools, bad traffic, high crime, a transportation systems that is losing hundred of millions.Is what is happening in places like DC or Baltimore the situation that we all face with a one party state?