Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Those Cowardly Democrats

In 2006, the voters gave the Democrats control of both houses of Congress and a mandate to oppose President Bush. Since then, the Democrats have been far too cowardly to stand up to Bush, one of the most unpopular presidents in history, and have instead done little more than vote for his bills and policies -- even when that has meant joining with Bush to undermine the Constitution. In other words, they have betrayed the voters who put them in office.

The Democrats are not much more these days than the left wing of the Republican Party.


Kay said...

I admit to not following politics very much, so I thought I'd ask you if what I've heard about Barak Obama consistently standing up to Bush is true?

If so it will be one more reason I'll vote for him.

jamie said...

That's what us "Naderites" were trying to tell everyone eight years ago! lol

In some places Democrats have done well, like here in NH where they managed to pass civil unions a year after the previously Republican-controlled state legislature had voted successfully to ban same-sex marriage.

In general, though, you are very much correct, and it is sad that the majority of Americans feel that not only is the two-party system the only way to operate but that it works well. That is a faulty assumption that must be corrected, along with the electoral college and campaign finance.

Webs said...

The Democrats are not much more these days than the left wing of the Republican Party.
Isn't this just the natural outcome of having a 2 party system?

amuirin said...

disappointing, si

Paul said...

Hi Kay! Obama has indeed stood up to Bush on several occasions, most notably when he voted against our invading Iraq. In addition to standing up to Bush, he has done such controversial things as travel to Michigan to reprimand the auto industry. I've begun to suspect that Obama speaks his mind.

Hi Jamie! Not so long ago, I proposed in a comment on another blog that the US adopt a system so that any party with 5% or more of the vote could be represented in Congress. I think if we did that, we'd even have a few seats occupied by you subversive, tree hugging Naderites. At any rate, it would give us a real alternative to the current monopoly held by the two major parties.

Hi Webs! I think you might be right that any system limited to two parties is going to see a convergence of the parties.

Hi Amuirin! I'm disappointed too. I had high hopes the Dems would stand up to Bush. Alas!

jamie said...

Unfortunately Paul that 5% idea already exists. That was one of the main objetives for Nader running as a Green in 2000: he was hoping his name recognition would be enough to get him the federally-mandated 5% in the election to assure the Green Party a place on the ballot and almost succeeded. Some Greens even made it into Congress.

The trouble is that goal, while seemingly realistic, is still incredibly disadvantageous to anyone other than a Democrat or a Republican. Why should Democrats or Republicans get automatic ballot placement and not any other "third" party involved in an election? The rules and hurdles are very arbitrary, prejudicial against anyone not conforming to the flawed two-party system and only promote the sort of perverse unilateral false-dichotomy presented as political choice in this country.

Also to touch on webs' point, that's exactly the case. With only two parties the tendency is to either polarize, converge or paradoxically do both at the same time. With multiple parties in the mix there is more incentive or even need to build coalitions and partnerships.

A two-party system promotes struggles for control and destruction of opponents in the place of genuine issue debates (polarization), and therein lies the real danger and disservice. A two-party system also creates the "moderates" that want to appeal as the compromising sort, thus creating a convergence.

Mind you, I'm typing this as I just posted about my favor toward two Democrats, so please take it with a grain of salt. lol

C. L. Hanson said...

I agree that a lot of the problem is inherent in the two-party system (and I've blogged about my own tiny attempt to change things: Confessions of a former Nader voter, part 1 and part 2).

Still it amazes me how willing the Democrats are to cooperate with Bush considering how disasterous and unpopular his actions have been. I just got done reading an article in The New Yorker about American use of torture on "enemy combatantants", and I am absolutely horrified: First that the U.S. could be doing such a thing (and Americans still imagine the Bush-led foreign adventures have any kind of moral leg left to stand on), and second that it's accepted as business as usual instead of generating an outcry to the point of being stopped.

Of course you've seen that I've already outlined my position on the subject: Where have all the checks and balances gone?

Arunk said...

Paul - This could be because both the Democrats and the Republicans think they must follow an important, unwritten rule of the people of any country: Never make the country officially look like a loser, particularly in the minds of people of other countries.

No matter how you slice it, dropping and pulling out now would be interpreted as such by many. It will be subject to ridicule.

While more and more people are reconciling to this (guts to admit a mistake and face the consequences), I think it is not mainstream. I would wager that the average American wants the US to somehow extricate itself from this situation without looking bad - that is asking for the impossible :).

While I don't like politicians, the people really cannot blame them in this. This country re-elected Bush when the war was going bad. It has taken too many years, and too many deaths for them to "come around". If any, they take the lion's share of the blame.

Oemar said...

Paul, the present situation in US is a bit tricky. You can easily be labelled as a traitor for not supporting some anti terror law made by Bush. Who would want to take a chance with this?
You can predict about one man, but a large group of people, like the population of a country, it has strength of a million men and IQ of a child. You never know what stupidity they might fall for.

Paul said...

Hi Jamie! The 5% I was referring to wasn't the American law, but rather the law in several other countries that states whenever a party gets at least 5% of the vote, they have to be represented by at least one member of parliament. I think if we somehow divided up Congress by the percentage of votes, we would have a much more open and representative system.

C.L., I find it shameful that some people who call themselves American condone and accept torture. For that matter, it's shameful that some people who call themselves human condone and accept torture. I'm with you: Where's the outrage?

Arun, I have read that Bush behaves like Bush because he believes that doing such things as changing his mind shows weakness. But to me, persisting in a stupid course of action shows greater weakness than ceasing to persist in a stupid course of action.

Oemar, until Bush was reelected, I held the naive belief that some depths of stupidity were beyond even the masses of people to commit. No more. I now agree with you that a nation collectively behaves like a child. At best, maybe an adolescent.