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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Party 


Gindy links to a Peggy Noonan article that reads, in part:


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)....

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....[T]he 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....

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.



Well, if the Republicans are incompetent, and the Democrats are even more incompetent, doesn't that mean that the EXISTING third parties will rise to the challenge and emerge as thought leaders? Not exactly, because the existing third parties are even more incompetent than the Republicans and Democrats.

Take the Constitution Party, please. You'd think that they'd be capitalizing on the immigration debate - after all, when Jim Gilchrist ran for Congress, he did so as a Constitution Party candidate. But when you go to the website of Michael Peroutka (Constitution Party candidate for President in 2004), this is the first thing that you see:


“Harper’s” Editor Lewis Lapham Rejects God, Hates Christianity Upon Which America Was Founded


We have deficits and debt and terrorism and immigration, and the former standard-bearer for the Constitution Party is worried about a magazine editor's religious beliefs? Ah, but we can check the official Constitution Party blog.

Here's the beginning of the May archive:


Wednesday, May 31, 2006

An AP story about the perils facing "moderate" Republican incumbents this November reminded me yet again of the tyranny of politically-correct language. Of all the exclusionary buzzwords in our modern political lexicon, "moderate" is the most offensive, at least to yours truly. A "moderate," you see, is a member of an allegedly conservative organization that tows the line of the liberal anointed; a "moderate" Republican, therefore, is pro-abortion, pro-welfarism, squeamish on gun rights, comfortable with the Lavendar Lobby, opposed to such objectionable practices as the posting of the Ten Commandments in courtrooms and the display of creches on the commons, and so forth....



And here's the beginning of the April archive:


Saturday, April 29, 2006

An AP story about the perils facing "moderate" Republican incumbents this November reminded me yet again of the tyranny of politically-correct language. Of all the exclusionary buzzwords in our modern political lexicon, "moderate" is the most offensive, at least to yours truly. A "moderate," you see, is a member of an allegedly conservative organization that tows the line of the liberal anointed; a "moderate" Republican, therefore, is pro-abortion, pro-welfarism, squeamish on gun rights, comfortable with the Lavendar Lobby, opposed to such objectionable practices as the posting of the Ten Commandments in courtrooms and the display of creches on the commons, and so forth....



They posted the same thing twice and they still couldn't spell "lavender" correctly.

Returning to Noonan's point - a new political party will not be dictated from above by the Hamilton Jordans (or Ross Perots) of the world. While the elites may help to publicize it, we have to remember that the last successful third party was the result of a combination of mass inspiration and elite guidance. I refer, of course, to the Republican Party.


Trying times spawn new forces. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 divided the country at the 36° 30' parallel between the pro-slavery, agrarian South and anti-slavery, industrial North, creating an uneasy peace which lasted for three decades. This peace was shattered in 1854 by the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Settlers would decide if their state would be free or slave. Northern leaders such as Horace Greeley, Salmon Chase and Charles Sumner could not sit back and watch the flood of pro-slavery settlers cross the parallel. A new party was needed.

Where was the party born? Following the publication of the "Appeal of Independent Democrats" in major newspapers, spontaneous demonstrations occurred. In early 1854, the first proto-Republican Party meeting took place in Ripon, Wisconsin. On June 6, 1856 in Jackson, Michigan upwards of 10,000 people turned out for a mass meeting....



No matter what Hamilton Jordan and Ross Perot do, a truly powerful political party won't be born until people are energized by issues...not by people.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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