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nikkibong
10-12-2009, 03:03 PM
Hilarious piece (http://www.cjr.org/campaign_desk/when_the_right_voice_goes_wron.php) about the erstwhile 'head Ross Douthat in the CJR today. It's a list of "Stuff Wrong with Ross Douthat's lastest column."

At the risk of crudity, I loved number three:

3. The unfortunate use of the word ‘hoo-ha.’ Douthat is famously wise-beyond-his-years; but he is, apparently, unaware of the modern meaning (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Hooha) of that word. Sure, William Safire got away with the old-time, PG usage (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/hoo-ha); but, then again, there are many things Safire got away with that few others rightly can.

graz
10-12-2009, 03:54 PM
At the risk of crudity

What do raw veggies have to do with it?

Wonderment
10-12-2009, 06:06 PM
The unfortunate use of the word ‘hoo-ha.’ Douthat is famously wise-beyond-his-years; but he is, apparently, unaware of the modern meaning of that word.

Hoo knew?

graz
10-13-2009, 12:33 PM
Piling on with panache. (http://doghouseriley.blogspot.com/2009/10/hello-death-riley-listen-i-just-read.html)

bjkeefe
11-03-2009, 06:02 PM
DougJ has taken to calling Ross "chunky David Brooks (http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=29203)."

FTW.

(? (http://www.google.com/search?q=%22chunky+reese+witherspoon%22))

nikkibong
11-23-2009, 11:27 AM
The first 'graf in today's column:

Before the 2008 election, almost nobody outside Alaska and Arkansas had heard of Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee. But in a long and crowded campaign season, they were the only Republican politicians who inspired any genuine enthusiasm.

...meaning Ross has never heard of Ron Paul.

Do they still have editors at the old gray lady?

bjkeefe
11-23-2009, 02:14 PM
The first 'graf in today's column:

Before the 2008 election, almost nobody outside Alaska and Arkansas had heard of Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee. But in a long and crowded campaign season, they were the only Republican politicians who inspired any genuine enthusiasm.

...meaning Ross has never heard of Ron Paul.

That's a good point, and I'm embarrassed to say that thought never occurred to me, either.

In some sense, though, one could say that Paul, at best, inspired wild enthusiasm in a comparatively small number of people. Granted, the GOP did their level best to keep him out, but he never really pulled serious numbers (http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/primaries/results/candidates/#302) in the primaries -- no first-place finishes, and max of ~25% of the vote (and that only in a couple of sparsely populated states). Further, he did not remain on the radar of the overwhelming majority of the voters after Nov 2008.

claymisher
11-23-2009, 04:15 PM
That's a good point, and I'm embarrassed to say that thought never occurred to me, either.

In some sense, though, one could say that Paul, at best, inspired wild enthusiasm in a comparatively small number of people. Granted, the GOP did their level best to keep him out, but he never really pulled serious numbers (http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/primaries/results/candidates/#302) in the primaries -- no first-place finishes, and max of ~25% of the vote (and that only in a couple of sparsely populated states). Further, he did not remain on the radar of the overwhelming majority of the voters after Nov 2008.

I seem to remember about a million Andrew Sullivan posts about Ron Paul. That's just Sullyworld though.

Now that the Paulsplosion is over, can somebody explain this to me?

http://truthactivism.com/Ron_Paul_Revolution_banner_30_x_89.jpg

I saw this everywhere in 2008. WTF?!

AemJeff
11-23-2009, 04:35 PM
I seem to remember about a million Andrew Sullivan posts about Ron Paul. That's just Sullyworld though.

Now that the Paulsplosion is over, can somebody explain this to me?

http://truthactivism.com/Ron_Paul_Revolution_banner_30_x_89.jpg

I saw this everywhere in 2008. WTF?!

I never saw, or at least noticed that graphic even a single time. It's actually a great design, considering the specific message. Totally "Fuck the hippies!"

claymisher
11-23-2009, 04:45 PM
I never saw, or at least noticed that graphic even a single time. It's actually a great design, considering the specific message. Totally "Fuck the hippies!"

What's with the backwards love? Is Paul for love? Or against it? What?!

I'm sure it was the work of an overzealous technolibertarian geek. I doubt that it makes any sense. The semi-autistic nerd behind it was probably just enamored with wordplay.

AemJeff
11-23-2009, 04:51 PM
What's with the backwards love? Is Paul for love? Or against it? What?!

I'm sure it was the work of an overzealous technolibertarian geek. I doubt that it makes any sense. The semi-autistic nerd behind it was probably just enamored with wordplay.

"Love" in a graphic representation is such an iconic hippie artifact. Turn it backwards, slip it into an Abbie Hoffmanesque assertion of "Revolution!" and tie to your guy, who happens to perfectly embody a certain kind of anti-hippiedom (despite having attracted folks like Arlo Guthrie (http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2008/01/29/group-w-grad-endorses-ron-paul/) to the cause; in fact, all the better in that light.)

TwinSwords
11-23-2009, 05:20 PM
"Love" in a graphic representation is such an iconic hippie artifact. Turn it backwards, slip it into an Abbie Hoffmanesque assertion of "Revolution!" and tie to your guy, who happens to perfectly embody a certain kind of anti-hippiedom (despite having attracted folks like Arlo Guthrie (http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2008/01/29/group-w-grad-endorses-ron-paul/) to the cause; in fact, all the better in that light.)

You're definitely right that the graphic was part of a successful Ron Paul marketing strategy that attracted a lot of people who would never ordinarily follow a far-right extremist. Paul was also very circumspect in the way he responded to questions and framed his positions so as to not alienate some of his very liberal followers, people who were attracted to him because of his positions on the wars and the excesses of Bush administration police state policies (e.g., the PATRIOT Act, or the theory of the unitary executive), but would have been repulsed if they knew he was opposed to representative democracy and the very existence of government, except within extremely narrow bounds. I actually have a friend in real life who was a Code Pink member, and your typical radical leftwing feminist. She fell in love with Ron Paul, never wanted to know a thing about his libertarianism, and now aligns herself with the tea baggers. (Much of the Ron Paul movement redirected its energies into the tea parties following the election.)

claymisher
11-23-2009, 05:25 PM
You're definitely right that the graphic was part of a successful Ron Paul marketing strategy that attracted a lot of people who would never ordinarily follow a far-right extremist. Paul was also very circumspect in the way he responded to questions and framed his positions so as to not alienate some of his very liberal followers, people who were attracted to him because of his positions on the wars and the excesses of Bush administration police state policies (e.g., the PATRIOT Act, or the theory of the unitary executive), but would have been repulsed if they knew he was opposed to representative democracy and the very existence of government, except within extremely narrow bounds. I actually have a friend in real life who was a Code Pink member, and your typical radical leftwing feminist. She fell in love with Ron Paul, never wanted to know a thing about his libertarianism, and now aligns herself with the tea baggers. (Much of the Ron Paul movement redirected its energies into the tea parties following the election.)

I know people like that too. It's the choose-your-own-adventure model of politics. It's a lot more fun when you can make up whatever reality you want.

TwinSwords
11-23-2009, 05:47 PM
I know people like that too. It's the choose-your-own-adventure model of politics. It's a lot more fun when you can make up whatever reality you want.

Indeed. This particular friend of mine would be happy with either Dennis Kucinich or Ron Paul as president -- as if that makes any sense at all -- and everyone else is completely corrupt.

bjkeefe
11-23-2009, 06:04 PM
I know people like that too. It's the choose-your-own-adventure model of politics. It's a lot more fun when you can make up whatever reality you want.

Indeed. This particular friend of mine would be happy with either Dennis Kucinich or Ron Paul as president -- as if that makes any sense at all -- and everyone else is completely corrupt.

Yes. For a lot of people, RP was just the latest example of someone putting a face and a little charisma to the longing to vote for None Of The Above. Many of the Paultards seemed just like the Perotinistas and the Naderites to me.

(NB: "Paultards" != "everyone who supported Ron Paul")

TwinSwords
11-23-2009, 07:13 PM
Yes. For a lot of people, RP was just the latest example of someone putting a face and a little charisma to the longing to vote for None Of The Above. Many of the Paultards seemed just like the Perotinistas and the Naderites to me.

(NB: "Paultards" != "everyone who supported Ron Paul")

Yeah. there was an amazing ideological diversity among his followers: from the racist militia types who knew exactly what he stood for, to the laissez-faire capitalists/libertarians who, again, knew exactly what kind of hell Paul would unleash on this country if given the chance, to the hippie-dippy, anti-war leftists, and many others.

Paul was just really, really good at answering questions in such a way as to not alienate anyone. No matter what your issue or what your concern, Paul could manage to answer in such a way as to convince you he was on your side, with the exception of the Bush/Cheney loyalists.

Paul's not gone, either. His followers are a major faction of the tea bagger movement, they continue to promote his election in 2012, and he continues to make appearances in fringe media, like the Alex Jones show, where he is revered as almost a diety. He even turns up on cable news with far more regularity than most Democrats and Republicans.

bjkeefe
11-23-2009, 08:17 PM
Mr. Riley is none too happy (http://doghouseriley.blogspot.com/2009/11/they-saved-douthats-brain-stem.html) about recent developments at the NYT.

Wonderment
11-23-2009, 09:47 PM
Yes. For a lot of people, RP was just the latest example of someone putting a face and a little charisma to the longing to vote for None Of The Above. Many of the Paultards seemed just like the Perotinistas and the Naderites to me.

Or you might say that people interested in the candidacies of Paul, Perot, Nader and other non-mainstream candidates are champions of true democracy.

Many people believe that the two-party system of the USA is really a one party system, and the flourishing of Libertarian, Green and other parties would enhance US democracy.

Since I share this belief, I tend to be very interested in campaigns like Nader's and Paul's and resist efforts to discredit them or shut them out of televised debates and political discourse in general.

Rather than marginalize the candidates by trashing their views, it might be more productive to look at the big picture -- the system they are trying to change.

One might reflect, for example, on whether or not Barack Obama really delivers on Change by 2012 or 2016, or if he fails because he is trapped in the ideology, corruption and vested interests of his party.

Third party candidacies, campaign finance reform and grassroots movements (yes, like the much-maligned tea parties, immigration reform rallies and peace protests) seem to me to provide the best opportunities for real political change.

TwinSwords
11-24-2009, 01:59 AM
Or you might say that people interested in the candidacies of Paul, Perot, Nader and other non-mainstream candidates are champions of true democracy.

To start with, an enemy of democracy (Ron Paul) cannot, in my view, be a "champion of true democracy" -- even inadvertently.

Second, there is far more in a Paul candidacy for a principled person like yourself to lament than to celebrate. Not just because his tiny band of followers were deeply confused about what he stood for and unaware of what they were supporting, but also because in truth he represented an agenda to far to the right of Bush/Cheney (I'll grant that the one dimensional political spectrum is of limited use when including figures like Ron Paul, and that on very carefully selected (cherry picked) subjects, Paul could be said to be to the left of Bush/Cheney, or even the entire Democratic Party (e.g., war), but the overwhelming balance of Paul's views are far to the extreme right of the Republican Party; he would effectively dismantle government and end democracy in America, if given the opportunity.)

While we all celebrate political participation and the flowering of new ideas, it has limits. I would expect you to no more celebrate the formation of a Nazi party than to celebrate Ron Paul's popularity.

Finally, America's two party system is structural, and it cannot be fixed by merely voting for a 3rd party.

Wonderment
11-24-2009, 03:17 AM
While we all celebrate political participation and the flowering of new ideas, it has limits. I would expect you to no more celebrate the formation of a Nazi party than to celebrate Ron Paul's popularity.

Finally, America's two party system is structural, and it cannot be fixed by merely voting for a 3rd party.

I disagree on both counts. I don't think it's fair to compare Paul to a Nazi. He's not someone I would feel comfortable supporting, but I think he's on the right track for the development of a libertarian ticket. Pat Buchanan is another type of right-winger whose ideas I find interesting. Granted, most of the appeal for me is on foreign policy grounds, but there may be some common ground among Paul/Buchanan types and Will Wilkinson type libertarians. We'll see how these trends play out over the next decade or two.

On the other point, I am a member of a third party (Green) so I tend to support all our candidates for political office. In a potentially close election like the 08 presidency I campaigned for Obama, as did many other Greens. But I don't think "voting for a 3rd party" is really the point. I'm more interested in building a third party. My political views are represented only by a handful of Dems. in Congress (people like Dennis Kucinich). I don't like being in the position of always supporting candidates whose views I oppose only because they are preferable to Dick Cheney.

I tend to think it's defeatist to simply conclude that the USA is hopelessly Dem. or Repub. Many other countries have overcome similar one or two-party systems that suppressed democracy; there's no real reason why the USA can't also mature and improve.

bjkeefe
11-24-2009, 08:18 AM
Or you might say that people interested in the candidacies of Paul, Perot, Nader and other non-mainstream candidates are champions of true democracy.

I will agree with that if you will agree that "true democracy" is not an unqualified good.

Many people believe that the two-party system of the USA is really a one party system, ...

Many people believe that we have been visited by ETs, or that the Moon landings were faked, or that the Bible is literally true. That doesn't make these beliefs true, or even respectable.

There is a world of difference between the Democrats and Republicans, especially in their current incarnations, and to notice that compromises have to be made to move an agenda forward, or that the overall system is disproportionally controlled by big money, is not at all to show that the two parties are identical. Repeatedly saying "they're all the same" is an attitude than makes a label like Paultards appropriate.

... and the flourishing of Libertarian, Green and other parties would enhance US democracy.

I'm tempted to say "see my first sentence above," but I'm not even sure that's right. If one defines democracy as the people getting what they want, it's not at all clear to me that third parties have done much to realize that goal. I'm not going to say there's no good that's come from third-party efforts -- it is, for example, one way to get one of the two main parties to move in a desired direction -- but it seems to me that more often, the main effect of a strong third party in recent American history has been to divide the side that the third party with which is more closely aligned, with the result that the even less desirable party wins. I'm thinking of, for example, Perot in 1992 (from the point of view of conservatives) and Nader in 2000 (from he point of view of liberals).

Since I share this belief, I tend to be very interested in campaigns like Nader's and Paul's and resist efforts to discredit them or shut them out of televised debates and political discourse in general.

That much we can agree on.

bjkeefe
11-24-2009, 08:56 AM
If one defines democracy as the people getting what they want, it's not at all clear to me that third parties have done much to realize that goal. I'm not going to say there's no good that's come from third-party efforts -- it is, for example, one way to get one of the two main parties to move in a desired direction -- but it seems to me that more often, the main effect of a strong third party in recent American history has been to divide the side that the third party with which is more closely aligned, with the result that the even less desirable party wins. I'm thinking of, for example, Perot in 1992 (from the point of view of conservatives) and Nader in 2000 (from he point of view of liberals).

And here is a good example of a different approach in battling the status quo (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/24/us/24crime.html), one that strikes me as being better the third-party approach.

(via (http://wonkette.com/412378/conservatives-team-up-with-aclu-to-take-on-big-supreme-court))

Wonderment
11-24-2009, 03:05 PM
And here is a good example of a different approach in battling the status quo, one that strikes me as being better the third-party approach.

I read that article yesterday, and I think (although it overstates the case) the effort represents another way outside the two-party system where progress can be made. Note when I responded originally here that there were several ways to work toward undermining two-party dominance (campaign finance reform, grassroots campaigns and contributing to the development of additional parties). The NYT article points to another area -- non-partisan judicial reform. If the ACLU and former Republican AGs can agree that the Feds have far too much prosecutorial power and that the stupid laws from which that power emanates are unconstitutional, that's a sign to me that there may be a set of such issues that may bring people together who are disaffected with the whole Dem-Repub. spectrum of ideas and practices.

Wonderment
11-24-2009, 03:22 PM
There is a world of difference between the Democrats and Republicans, especially in their current incarnations,.

I think this is our main area of disagreement, and it's also the key impetus for activists who join other parties (as well as a key push factor for the large chunks of the population who don't vote at all and/or dismiss all US politics as hopelessly corrupt).

On the issue that matters most to me -- war and peace -- I see (so far) very little difference between Dems. and Repubs. For example, the most likely way the Afghanistan escalation will play out is that a Dem. president will have great support from a Repub. Congress.

Granted, if by "current incarnations" you mean that Bush was a incompetent and inarticulate clown and Obama is cultured and eloquent, I of course agree. But hordes of Dems. (including the current VP and Sec of State) supported even Bush's most deranged venture -- so it's quite fair to call the Iraq debacle a bi-partisan effort.

I know that we could debate the nuances of enviromental, social, economic and defense policies all day long -- just as they do in Congress. There's a case to be made of "world of difference" as well as "what's-the-difference."

My bottom line take-away is that the parties are not sufficiently differentiated and that strong third and fourth parties would keep them more honest.

If one defines democracy as the people getting what they want, it's not at all clear to me that third parties have done much to realize that goal.

Because the current system is fixed to marginalize them. In other countries Greens and Libertarians would be sitting in Congress and would have cabinet portfolios (by law). Here they are reduced to Don Quijote characters who incarnate every four years with a pack of fringe followers.

bjkeefe
11-24-2009, 05:26 PM
I think this is our main area of disagreement, and it's also the key impetus for activists who join other parties (as well as a key push factor for the large chunks of the population who don't vote at all and/or dismiss all US politics as hopelessly corrupt).

On the issue that matters most to me -- war and peace -- I see (so far) very little difference between Dems. and Repubs. For example, the most likely way the Afghanistan escalation will play out is that a Dem. president will have great support from a Repub. Congress.

That's fair enough. Your priorities are different from mine. Also, I do agree that on issues related to "defense," there has not been much practical difference over the past few decades. Still, one of the main reasons Obama won the last elections was because of the distinction he was able to draw between himself and McSame on this very front. Maybe it was all empty rhetoric, but I'm not yet out of hope.

Granted, if by "current incarnations" you mean that Bush was a incompetent and inarticulate clown and Obama is cultured and eloquent, I of course agree. But hordes of Dems. (including the current VP and Sec of State) supported even Bush's most deranged venture -- so it's quite fair to call the Iraq debacle a bi-partisan effort.

No, that's not all I mean. Leaving aside the thrall under which both parties are held by the military-industrial complex, I think the Dems and Reps differ significantly in a number of areas that are important to me, like civil rights, abortion rights, attitudes about science, interest in real health care reform, concern about AGW, attitudes about progressive tax structures, and how much catering is done to the Christianists, to name a few. Sure, the median Democratic politician's views aren't perfectly aligned on any of these with mine, but they're a lot closer than are the views held by virtually every Republican pol.

I know that we could debate the nuances of enviromental, social, economic and defense policies all day long -- just as they do in Congress. There's a case to be made of "world of difference" as well as "what's-the-difference."

To me, the differences are large enough that "world" is closer to the truth than "what."

My bottom line take-away is that the parties are not sufficiently differentiated and that strong third and fourth parties would keep them more honest.

Maybe. It seems just as likely to me to think that stronger N-parties (N>2) would not do much to keep them honest. From what I can tell from other countries where N is greater than 2, it seems like what ends up happening is deals are cut with various splinter groups in order to form governing coalitions, and that this happens after elections. So, I'm not sure what there is that keeps the larger parties honest.

If, however, by "honest" you mean "more in line with my views," well, maybe. I don't really think that's true, at least in the US over the past few decades, because I haven't seen any evidence that a separate party has more clout than a determined faction within one of the two main parties. It appears to me, in fact, that they have less.

If one defines democracy as the people getting what they want, it's not at all clear to me that third parties have done much to realize that goal.
Because the current system is fixed to marginalize them. In other countries Greens and Libertarians would be sitting in Congress and would have cabinet portfolios (by law). Here they are reduced to Don Quijote characters who incarnate every four years with a pack of fringe followers.

At some point, blaming "the system" rings hollow. I grant there has been no shortage of chicanery in things like limiting ballot access. However, if there really were enough people who wanted something more than a Dem/Rep choice, it would not be impossible to get these things fixed.

The thing is, third-party people really are out on the margins in this country. Think about it. Barely half the eligible population can even be bothered to vote once every four years, and nowhere near that come out to vote the other three. And of those who do vote, probably four out of five, I'd wager, spend little to no time thinking about issues, and pay no more attention to the players than what happens to pass in front of their eyes when they turn on the teevee, in any week more than two to either side of Election Day. So, that takes us down to 10-20% of the country who really do care about politics, and most of those are willing, even eager, to do battle from the red side or the blue side.

I'm not saying I oppose third-party efforts on principle. It's just that, as I said before, they have tended in the US in recent history to be little more than transient clumps of people who wanted to cast a None Of The Above vote in a way that felt more positive. Or, as with the Greens and Libertarians, they just have never been able to build their ranks in any sort of ongoing way. For whatever reason, they are viewed as extreme to the point of being unreasonable, or as irrelevant, in a "Yeah, would be nice, but ..." kind of way.

Part of this may be how they're portrayed by the major parties and their friends in the media, but that's not the whole story, because if there's something the MSM likes to do almost as much as reprint press releases, it's to give undue attention to exciting new up-and-comers.

It's probably also true that to the degree that a core value of a third-party comes into vogue, one of the two major parties swings in that direction to appropriate the issue, be it the Dems with environmentalism or the Reps with deregulation or tax cuts. So, it could be said that the third parties have some effect, but I'd still rather see groups organize explicitly in support of some small set of policy goals, rather than keep up this, as you say, quixotic attempt to completely remake the system.

==========

[Added] I could be coming at this overly scarred from the past three decades, in which it has seemed to me that "the right" has been able to maintain much more cohesion than "the left," and so I am therefore inclined to be excessively suspicious of efforts that seem to do little more than to encourage my side to maintain its state of disorganization and internal squabbling. Maybe if the Reps rupture, I'll be able to see things in a different light.

claymisher
11-24-2009, 07:10 PM
I disagree on both counts. I don't think it's fair to compare Paul to a Nazi. He's not someone I would feel comfortable supporting, but I think he's on the right track for the development of a libertarian ticket. Pat Buchanan is another type of right-winger whose ideas I find interesting. Granted, most of the appeal for me is on foreign policy grounds, but there may be some common ground among Paul/Buchanan types and Will Wilkinson type libertarians. We'll see how these trends play out over the next decade or two.

On the other point, I am a member of a third party (Green) so I tend to support all our candidates for political office. In a potentially close election like the 08 presidency I campaigned for Obama, as did many other Greens. But I don't think "voting for a 3rd party" is really the point. I'm more interested in building a third party. My political views are represented only by a handful of Dems. in Congress (people like Dennis Kucinich). I don't like being in the position of always supporting candidates whose views I oppose only because they are preferable to Dick Cheney.

I tend to think it's defeatist to simply conclude that the USA is hopelessly Dem. or Repub. Many other countries have overcome similar one or two-party systems that suppressed democracy; there's no real reason why the USA can't also mature and improve.

When you have first-past-the-post elections you're going to only have two parties. The rules dictate the strategy (you know, like starting in Australia when you play Risk). If a third-party succeeded it would because one of the two majors collapsed, like the Whigs in the 1850s. And we'd be back to a two-party system. You really need to change the constitution first.

Wonderment
11-24-2009, 07:25 PM
I could be coming at this overly scarred from the past three decades, in which it has seemed to me that "the right" has been able to maintain much more cohesion than "the left," and so I am therefore inclined to be excessively suspicious of efforts that seem to do little more than to encourage my side to maintain its state of disorganization and internal squabbling. Maybe if the Reps rupture, I'll be able to see things in a different light.

Yes, imagine a world in which Palinistas (Christian Republican Party) and Gulianistas/Frumistas (Secular Republicans For Fiscal Conservatism Party) really divorce over irreconcilable differences. It could happen. A lot of moderate Republicans are liberal on social issues, non-interventionist abroad, pro-environment, and just as appalled by the religious right as you are. Their big split with Dems. is over the economy.

Post-schism it would be interesting to see how Dems. would act to differentiate themselves.

Wonderment
11-24-2009, 07:29 PM
You really need to change the constitution first.


A big hurdle, but not impossible. It has happened in other countries that become sick of corruption and pseudo-differentiated oligarchical parties.

PreppyMcPrepperson
11-24-2009, 10:38 PM
Yes, imagine a world in which Palinistas (Christian Republican Party) and Gulianistas/Frumistas (Secular Republicans For Fiscal Conservatism Party) really divorce over irreconcilable differences. It could happen. A lot of moderate Republicans are liberal on social issues, non-interventionist abroad, pro-environment, and just as appalled by the religious right as you are. Their big split with Dems. is over the economy.

Post-schism it would be interesting to see how Dems. would act to differentiate themselves.

I've been predicting this split for a long time, but I'm with Claymisher that the structure of the US constitution is 2-party. So even when, in our history, a major party has ruptured, it hasn't led to a multi-party system, but rather to a parallel rupture and realignment in the other major party. The whole first half of the 19th century basically worked that way.

So if fiscal conservatives split from social conservatives on the Right, I think on the Left, you would see cultural liberals (agenda: free software, medical marijuana, organic produce, non-interventionism) split from populist liberals (agenda: welfare state).

The cultural liberals will realign themselves with the Frumistas, who would have abandoned the conservative cultural agenda, and the populist economic liberals would ally themselves with the social conservatives, who are quite happy with big government so long as it has room for faith-based initiatives. The first coalition would be the liberal-tarianism advocated by Brink Lindsey; the second coalition would be the populist conservatism advocated by Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam.

TwinSwords
11-25-2009, 08:03 AM
When you have first-past-the-post elections you're going to only have two parties. The rules dictate the strategy (you know, like starting in Australia when you play Risk).

Actually, starting in South America is a far better strategy.






;-)

claymisher
11-25-2009, 01:02 PM
Actually, starting in South America is a far better strategy.

;-)

Really? I don't know that I've ever tried that. Do you build out into Africa or into North America from there, or does it just depend on what's going on in the game?

claymisher
11-25-2009, 01:09 PM
Yes, imagine a world in which Palinistas (Christian Republican Party) and Gulianistas/Frumistas (Secular Republicans For Fiscal Conservatism Party) really divorce over irreconcilable differences. It could happen. A lot of moderate Republicans are liberal on social issues, non-interventionist abroad, pro-environment, and just as appalled by the religious right as you are. Their big split with Dems. is over the economy.

Post-schism it would be interesting to see how Dems. would act to differentiate themselves.

I think it'd take losing a few more wars for the right to really crack up. As for your take on moderate Republicans, that's already happened. Those folks are the people who are no longer Republicans. That's why Republican party ID has plummeted and independents have gone up:

http://pewresearch.org/pubs/773/fewer-voters-identify-as-republicans

btw, that's why independents are less liberal they they used to be, because there's more of 'em now, and some of them were recently Republicans. That's a sign of Republican failure, not that the media understands this ("Democrats losing independents!!!1!!!11!1").

But yeah, I'm with you on the schism. The social conservatives have been suckers for the last 30 years. The Republicans in power have done next to nothing to advance the social conservative agenda (Wall St gets all the love). But they keep coming back for more. I guess that's the advantage of having the faithful in your coalition.

claymisher
11-25-2009, 01:27 PM
A big hurdle, but not impossible. It has happened in other countries that become sick of corruption and pseudo-differentiated oligarchical parties.


I think there's a sweet spot where you get the right amount of voter input and having a strong response between your vote and actual governance. Right now your vote doesn't convey that much information (I have some half-formed idea about politics and Shannon's information theory. Maybe some science types can help me out?). What does your vote for Obama really signal? What does your vote for McCain really signal? What's the optimal amount of information from the voter?

A lot of European countries settle into three parties: one conservative (Christian), one social democratic, and a minor free-market liberal party (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_International). Generally if a small party has good ideas one or more of the major parties will co-opt them. That's why the Greens in Europe can have their platform succeed without them ruling.

Ultimately though I think every country will wind up with two main parties because human psychology clusters around two personality types. There's always that 30%-40% of the population that's traditional, authoritarian, etc, and then there's everybody else. I like three party systems because they reduce the influence of the authoritarian types.

kezboard
11-25-2009, 01:48 PM
Still, one of the main reasons Obama won the last elections was because of the distinction he was able to draw between himself and McSame on this very front. Maybe it was all empty rhetoric, but I'm not yet out of hope.

Missile defense! Missile defense!

kezboard
11-25-2009, 01:55 PM
Let's keep it real, though: the reason Ross (and I) forgot about Ron Paul was because his supporters weren't the stereotypical "base" -- you know, middle class Southern/Midwestern conservative Protestants who like to hunt. The archetypical Ron Paul supporter was a computer geek in his twenties (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2007/12/apostles-ron-paul), not a hockey mom or a "Joe Six-Pack". Ross has already decided that these stereotypes are what the Republicans are all about (or, indeed, what America is all about) so of course he's going to be blind to a candidate whose fans are stereotyped differently.

bjkeefe
11-25-2009, 02:38 PM
Missile defense! Missile defense!

Ah yes. Thanks for the reminder.

bjkeefe
11-25-2009, 02:51 PM
Mr. Riley is none too happy (http://doghouseriley.blogspot.com/2009/11/they-saved-douthats-brain-stem.html) about recent developments at the NYT.

And he remains unhappy (http://doghouseriley.blogspot.com/2009/11/kids-today.html) today.

claymisher
11-25-2009, 02:55 PM
Ah yes. Thanks for the reminder.

Didn't Obama already negotiate big nuclear arsenal cuts with Russia too?

bjkeefe
11-25-2009, 03:16 PM
Didn't Obama already negotiate big nuclear arsenal cuts with Russia too?

He's made steps in that direction, sure. I don't think anything is final, though, but it does look good (http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hPNHmxuyR_We9Bj_3XWbHuMIZsbA).