Wednesday, July 25, 2012

America is not just broken, we're delusional

I tend to agree with BooMan.
If America has a problem it is that it has evolved to a point where the political natures of the two major parties are not able to co-exist in a functional way. Our system works when party loyalty is weak. But, right now, party loyalty is strong. No one can govern in an ideologically rigid system where you need 60% of the Senate to move legislation and no party has anywhere near 60% control.

There are only two ways out. Either the parties will become more fluid, or one party must be crushed underfoot.
The delusional part is that every 4 years the country has one massive conversation trying to decide which one of two candidates can solve our problems with hardly a whisper about what's actually broken.

No matter what promises President Obama made, the truth is that for the last 2 years (since Democrats lost their 60 vote majority in the Senate and Republicans took control of the House), about the only things he's been able to get done are those he has the executive power to do.

And yet here we are in the midst of an election and just about all anyone can talk about is Obama vs Romney. The media, in their commitment to false equivalence, won't highlight the fact that Republicans - on inauguration day - vowed to do everything legislatively possible to halt any attempt by the President and Democrats to work towards solutions. And the public is starved for a Daddy to fix it all - giving Romney the opportunity to stay competitive by blaming it all on Obama.

The reality is that President Obama has introduced the "fluidity" that BooMan talks about. He demonstrated time and again that his style is to define the goals we all can agree on and then be open to ideas from either party that can be shown to reach them. For his efforts he's been pilloried by the left and obstructed by the right.

We're at a stalemate until the Republicans either join him with some fluidity or get crushed underfoot.

On the possibility of the former, The American Conservative has an interesting article titled Obama's Right Wing in which they talk to some Republican defectors.
If these criticisms of capitalism and plutocracy seem underdeveloped, they are. The truth is that these thinkers long for intellectual leadership.

Why not go left? After all, the experience of the Bush era seemed not only to dislodge commitments to the conservative movement, but also to loosen the convictions that went with membership in it. Bartlett is open to the idea, but he finds the prospects dim. “I think one of the things liberals could do for dissident conservatives is what the right did for dissident communists and dissident liberals,” he says. “They nurtured them. Those conservatives understood that these apostates were powerful allies. But the left is too stupid to recognize the opportunity that is there.”...

“The problem with Burkean conservatives is there are not enough of us and not enough rich ones. There’s a paucity of structures and institutions, but there could be more,” offers McConnell.

“One of the things intellectuals love to be is on the cutting edge,” says Bartlett. “We now have to write off the last 30 or 40 years and go back and start from scratch, and do what those guys [Buckley and Irving Kristol] did, although now in essence we are fighting against our own this time.”
I agree that the left has been too stupid to nurture dissidents from the right. We seem to find too much enjoyment in merely pointing out the extreme wing's lunacy.

I also think Bartlett is right in saying its time to start from scratch on a new conservative approach and that's likely to take years to develop. The problem is that the challenges we face right now can't wait that long.

What we're left with is either crushing Republicans in November or an ongoing stalemate while conservatives get their act together.

I'm rooting for the crush.


  1. I think that demographic changes are going to eventually force the GOP into the reality that they are going to either lose over and over again or change their party to something more moderate. Those are the choices. It's all over but the waiting already.

    1. I agree totally.

      It's what happens while we're waiting that concerns me.

      Guess my lack of patience for the long game is showing this morning ;-)

  2. Booman goes on and on about crushing underfoot. He clearly got it from Led Zeppelin.

    The GOP is way too invested structurally in the media, and therefore a huge part of our discourse, to disappear any time soon. Keith Richards lived through the 1970's, and the media functions for the GOP much like the timely transfusion worked for Keith. Survival seems the order of the day.

    I find it very realistic to imagine, though, the left wing of the GOP peeling off to a greater degree than it did in Obama's Presidency so far. Little comments here and there from senior Republicans give me the impression that they're waiting to see the results of the election before talking of any compromise. To some extent, if one turns off any concern for people's welfare (lower-case), it's the rational approach for them, as they chose a strategy--obstruct--and need to go with it until it fully plays out in November.

    I was part of the peace movement (such as it was) in Riverside, CA right after 9/11 and through 2005, when I moved. Some of our number saw the police as our adversaries, but I felt strongly that we needed to approach the police as our allies-to-be. Our little movement never really got much further than the discussion, which was in reality fairly little discussed.

    Radical change only happens when nearly everyone, including and especially those upon whom the status quo functionally depends, abandons the status quo and demands, even passively, radical change. We need, therefore, to develop allies among groups with whom we feel little affinity on the surface.

    Education, infrastructure, health care, pension system. That's how you get 99% together and counterbalance the weight of the 1%'s capital.

    1. I know its highly improbable at this point, but my "crush them" fantasy would be a mirror image of the electoral map of the 1972 election (the last time the left extremists were catered to in the Democratic Party).

    2. Ah, OK. I think an electoral college blowout is entirely possible, though not without some unforeseen event giving people a reason they don't already have to ditch Romney.