Wednesday, December 27, 2006

End of the two-party system?

It is now clear that the new Democratic Congress that assembles in a few days time will not make much difference. "Earmarking" will go on as usual, except that the money will flow to Democratic districts. Paul Krugman, ever a barometer of self-righteous idiocy, says in the New York Times that the Democrats must now get their full share of pork. Never mind the hyperastronomical deficits that will result. There will of course be no meaningful changes in the "look the other way" policy on ethical lapses. Members of Congress play by their own rules, which are not the ones that apply to you and me.

Above all, it seems depressingly clear that the Democratic regime will not accomplish the main task that the voters wanted them to do, and that is to end the war in Iraq. Of course warmongers like Lieberman and Clinton are hopeless. That we have known. What many are not prepared for is the large contingent of enablers, like Senator Harry Reid, who will actually support an increase (the "surge") in troops, providing it is somehow linked to a larger plan to end the war. Sure, sure.

We have a president who is delusional, and the opposition party, ostensibly in power, is not prepared to do anything about it. They are truly gutless.

There will be a large antiwar rally in Washington on January 27. I plan to be there. Remembering as I do the antiwar energy of the Vietnam era, I find the absence of such rallies puzzling. It can't just be the lack of the draft as a motivator.

Perhaps we have entered into a new age of electronic democracy. That might be a good thing, but I don't see that the bloggers are proving efficacious at a time when we desperately need their intervention.

The two-party system, though, is moribund. Perhaps the best that can be expected is withdrawal from Iraq (after two more years!), and then a period of isolationism in foreign policy and gridlock with regard to domestic legislation. The scenario assumes that the Chinese and our other foreign creditors will not pull the plug.
Then our own equivalent of bread-and-circuses--shopaholic frenzy at the mall--will have to stop.

We can still cultivate our garden. That's what I'll be doing, in the guise of a new research-and-thinking project. Details will be supplied in due course.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

One hears so many cross-currents of incoherence it's alarming how out-of-focus the Democrats' response to GWB seems to be. We know GWB is delusional (if not mentally disordered on a more significant level than Nixon). But the country does not want to impeach him, so that "obvious" maneuver has to be tabled. They cannot withhold the purse strings, because they'll be accused of abandoning the troops. And it's certain that their initiatives will be vetoed, without the votes to override. A witch hunt may disclose more malfeasance than already known, but to what purpose? Without impeachment, and with a recalcitrant Executive, deadlock ensues. I don't see anyway out of this predicament. Worse (or better), Democrats will be blamed for not making things better, not that they would or could, but they cannot. And since this heterogeneous party is not like the Republican homogeneity, it's difficult to believe they'll find a consensus among themselves, that even if legislated, will be vetoed. And their "agenda" is so muddled in confusion and contradictions, lacking an overarching principle of governance or any principles, they're just loose canons shooting blanks that GWB will swat away. This bodes poorly for 2008 (not to mention the next two years). Our government is broken, dysfunctional, and impotent, except to spend and spend as if there is no tomorrow. What has become overwhelmingly obvious, is that BOTH parties are illiberal and unprincipled and barely functional. We cannot even end a war that everyone wants ended, and all other remedies have been taken off the table. Stalemate. I suppose some consolation can be taken that it likely won't get worse, as it would have, but there's little hope for it getting better. The tragic fact is that this constitutional crisis would be a perfect time to have a constitutional congress to revisit some of these institutional problems (like an undemocratic Senate), but with the country itself without a rudder, would we dare open that can of worms and not think it will get worse? Unless and until we recapture our liberal impulses, nothing will improve, and will likely get worse. And the authoritarian types see the opportunity under the duress of artificial fear to create a new state of affairs that is positively scary -- under the existent system. And yes, the reason there have been few protests over Iraq is because of no conscription and the blogosphere, which allows steam to rise, without running any engine. Perhaps a prophet will arise to take us to a better Promised Land, for only prophets can make these ventures. But then the question is, Who? The silence is deafening.

2:01 PM  

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