Friday, January 22, 2010

Problems at the Core

Joe Lieberman, official photo.

Image via Wikipedia


Both our political parties have

significant structural and functional problems. They each contain a group that believes  the purpose of politics to be ideological warfare, and they each contain a group that believes politics is a tool to serve their interests. Since the groups within each party are not compatible with one another, there is a struggle within each party that mirrors the struggle between parties in oddly complementary and paradoxical ways. 

We might call the two groups Selfish Toadies (ST) and Cultural Fanatics (CF).

There is a cycle of dynamic dominance between the two groups in each party. Currently, the Republican party has seen the rise of more and more ideological cadre, with the STs trying to co-opt the message of the CF's for their own purposes. In the Democratic party, liberals are gradually taking the role of spoilers, again with the STs trying to co-opt the CW message for their own purposes. The Obama administration is largely STs at this point. 

Across parties, the struggle is between CFs in the Republican party and STs in the Democratic party. The current political instability is not just between the parties, but also between the components within each party. Any stability that occurs either within or across parties will be immediately undermined by the other inside "enemy" or the other party. This general instability will not change any time soon, especially with the economy crashing and the growing deterioration of the health care system, local infrastructure, and the fragmentation of allegiances in every part of the political fabric. In a phrase, everyone, in multitudinous and shifting groups, is struggling for the "soul" of “their” party.

The national political system is no longer capable of solving any major problem. The two parties view vetoing effective action by the other as the only predictably useful political strategy, and within the parties, the components view vetoing the other component in the same way. Joe Lieberman is kind of the poster child for this approach to a political career.

As the whip cream on the sundae, the Supreme Court has now allowed a far greater use of corporate funds to promote political agendas than at any time in modern history. Spin and insults are standard competitive tactics used by corporations to undermine competitors. Therefore, we will be spending far more money to create an incompetent political class than we have in the past. 

Needless to say, the extra money  will not produce better political results.

What to do?

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