Third Time

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Haydnseek
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Third Time

Post by Haydnseek » Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:05 am

Regrettably, I doubt that we will see a third party because new trends and ideas are always co-opted by the existing parties, and voters re-elect incumbents whether they be crooks, liars, degenerates or do-nothings (in fact, they seem to actually like all of these types!) but I think Peggy Noonan makes some good points in the article below such as:
“The problem is not that the two parties are polarized. In many ways they're closer than ever. The problem is that the parties in Washington, and the people on the ground in America, are polarized. There is an increasing and profound distance between the rulers of both parties and the people--between the elites and the grunts, between those in power and those who put them there.”
This is probably more of a conservative thing though – holding political power and grabbing and spending the loot is almost the point of life for many on the left, or so it would appear, but the left may have its own corresponding deep disaffection as shown by the Euston Manifesto which I’ll guess will echo beyond the UK. The political elites on the left seem very willing to abandon fundamental liberal principles to score partisan points. This has to trouble many people. The extremists on the “progressive” side hardly seem to have much in common with liberalism at all. The mocking description of Cindy Sheehan as the “Fascist Fishwife” had a point to it.


PEGGY NOONAN

Third Time
America may be ready for a new political party.

Thursday, June 1, 2006 12:01 a.m.

Something's happening. I have a feeling we're at some new beginning, that a big breakup's coming, and that though it isn't and will not be immediately apparent, we'll someday look back on this era as the time when a shift began.

All my adult life, people have been saying that the two-party system is ending, that the Democrats' and Republicans' control of political power in America is winding down. According to the traditional critique, the two parties no longer offer the people the choice they want and deserve. Sometimes it's said they are too much alike--Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Sometimes it's said they're too polarizing--too red and too blue for a nation in which many see things through purple glasses.

In 1992 Ross Perot looked like the breakthrough, the man who would make third parties a reality. He destabilized the Republicans and then destabilized himself. By the end of his campaign he seemed to be the crazy old aunt in the attic.

The Perot experience seemed to put an end to third-party fever. But I think it's coming back, I think it's going to grow, and I think the force behind it is unique in our history.

This week there was a small boomlet of talk about a new internet entity called Unity '08--a small collection of party veterans including moderate Democrats (former Carter aide Hamilton Jordan) and liberal-leaning Republicans (former Ford hand Doug Bailey) trying to join together with college students and broaden the options in the 2008 election. In terms of composition, Unity seems like the Concord Coalition, the bipartisan group (Warren Rudman, Bob Kerrey) that warns against high spending and deficits.

Unity seems to me to have America's growing desire for more political options right. But I think they've got the description of the problem wrong.

Their idea is that the two parties are too polarized to govern well. It is certainly true that the level of partisanship in Washington seems high. (Such things, admittedly, ebb, flow and are hard to judge. We look back at the post-World War II years and see a political climate of relative amity and moderation. But Alger Hiss and Dick Nixon didn't see it that way.) Nancy Pelosi seems to be pretty much in favor of anything that hurts Republicans, and Ken Mehlman is in favor of anything that works against Democrats. They both want their teams to win. Part of winning is making sure the other guy loses, and part of the fun of politics, of any contest, of life, can be the dance in the end zone.

But the dance has gotten dark.

Partisanship is fine when it's an expression of the high animal spirits produced by real political contention based on true political belief. But the current partisanship seems sour, not joyous. The partisanship has gotten deeper as less separates the governing parties in Washington. It is like what has been said of academic infighting: that it's so vicious because the stakes are so low.

The problem is not that the two parties are polarized. In many ways they're closer than ever. The problem is that the parties in Washington, and the people on the ground in America, are polarized. There is an increasing and profound distance between the rulers of both parties and the people--between the elites and the grunts, between those in power and those who put them there.

On the ground in America, people worry terribly--really, there are people who actually worry about it every day--about endless, weird, gushing government spending. But in Washington, those in power--Republicans and Democrats--stand arm in arm as they spend and spend. (Part of the reason is that they think they can buy off your unhappiness one way or another. After all, it's worked in the past. A hunch: It's not going to work forever or much longer. They've really run that trick into the ground.)

On the ground in America, regular people worry about the changes wrought by the biggest wave of immigration in our history, much of it illegal and therefore wholly connected to the needs of the immigrant and wholly unconnected to the agreed-upon needs of our nation. Americans worry about the myriad implications of the collapse of the American border. But Washington doesn't. Democrat Ted Kennedy and Republican George W. Bush see things pretty much eye to eye. They are going to educate the American people out of their low concerns.

There is a widespread sense in America--a conviction, actually--that we are not safe in the age of terror. That the port, the local power plant, even the local school, are not protected. Is Washington worried about this? Not so you'd notice. They're only worried about seeming unconcerned.

More to the point, people see the Republicans as incapable of managing the monster they've helped create--this big Homeland Security/Intelligence apparatus that is like some huge buffed guy at the gym who looks strong but can't even put on his T-shirt without help because he's so muscle-bound. As for the Democrats, who co-created Homeland Security, no one--no one--thinks they would be more managerially competent. Nor does anyone expect the Democrats to be more visionary as to what needs to be done. The best they can hope is the Democrats competently serve their interest groups and let the benefits trickle down.

Right now the Republicans and Democrats in Washington seem, from the outside, to be an elite colluding against the voter. They're in agreement: immigration should not be controlled but increased, spending will increase, etc.

Are there some dramatic differences? Yes. But both parties act as if they see them not as important questions (gay marriage, for instance) but as wedge issues. Which is, actually, abusive of people on both sides of the question. If it's a serious issue, face it. Don't play with it.

I don't see any potential party, or potential candidate, on the scene right now who can harness the disaffection of growing portions of the electorate. But a new group or entity that could define the problem correctly--that sees the big divide not as something between the parties but between America's ruling elite and its people--would be making long strides in putting third party ideas in play in America again.

Ms. Noonan is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal and author of "John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father," (Penguin, 2005), which you can order from the OpinionJournal bookstore. Her column appears Thursdays.

Copyright © 2006 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnist ... =110008453
"The law isn't justice. It's a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be." - Raymond Chandler

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Post by Ralph » Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:17 am

I am prepared to lead a third party movement.
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Haydnseek
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Post by Haydnseek » Thu Jun 01, 2006 11:33 am

Ralph wrote:I am prepared to lead a third party movement.
Great! You've been reading about William Jennings Bryan? Well, I propose we update his "Free Silver" platform: "Free Beer" I say!
"The law isn't justice. It's a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be." - Raymond Chandler

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Post by Barry » Thu Jun 01, 2006 11:37 am

Noonan is a Johnny-Come-Lately. I've been screaming third party on here for a while now!
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Jun 01, 2006 11:57 am

It'll never happen.
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Barry
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Post by Barry » Thu Jun 01, 2006 12:25 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:It'll never happen.
Kill joy.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

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Post by Ralph » Thu Jun 01, 2006 12:29 pm

Haydnseek wrote:
Ralph wrote:I am prepared to lead a third party movement.
Great! You've been reading about William Jennings Bryan? Well, I propose we update his "Free Silver" platform: "Free Beer" I say!
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Post by Ralph » Thu Jun 01, 2006 12:30 pm

Barry Z wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:It'll never happen.
Kill joy.
*****

The story of her life, methinks. :)
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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Jun 01, 2006 12:34 pm

Barry Z wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:It'll never happen.
Kill joy.
Knowledgeable. 8)
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Haydnseek
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Post by Haydnseek » Thu Jun 01, 2006 12:52 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:It'll never happen.
I tend to agree with you. A new party is unlikely but ideological transformation and realignment happens periodically. Both parties have evolved radically in terms of beliefs over the years. Bring a pro-slavery, state’s rights Democrat and a high tax, strong federal government, anti-slavery Republican from the mid-nineteenth century to today and ask them to recognize which party is theirs? What they are now isn’t what they will be in the future. Both parties have sometimes included ferocious giant factions within them holding widely different views from one another as well as the opposition party. It was as if the major parties were just coalitions of smaller parties as in parliamentary systems. There have been significant fairly long-lasting alliances between factions across party lines too. Whole blocks of voters have left one party for another like, most recently, Southern Democrats for the Republican Party. Maybe we are at the beginning of a not unnormal period of change.
"The law isn't justice. It's a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be." - Raymond Chandler

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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Jun 01, 2006 1:02 pm

Haydnseek wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:It'll never happen.
I tend to agree with you. A new party is unlikely but ideological transformation and realignment happens periodically. Both parties have evolved radically in terms of beliefs over the years.
That's why it will never happen. The two majors always go where the public is. Always. If the public starts to beat feet, then the parties will follow. That's why in the US even the liberal party is conservative compared to the liberal parties of Europe: the American public is fundamentally conservative.
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