Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Are the Two Major Parties Out of Ideas?

This commentary really caught my eye and crystalized in my mind some thoughts which have been swirling around.

[To] put it more precisely, neither has a convincing narrative of where we are in history and where we should be headed next.

Successful political parties usually have such narratives. Theodore Roosevelt's Republicans believed in respecting but also regulating private property and in conducting a muscular and assertive foreign policy. This seemed appropriate in a nation that had grown from 5 million to nearly 90 million in the preceding century, that had built the world's largest economy and that had a huge but untapped potential for international power.

Franklin Roosevelt's Democrats believed in government intervention in the economy and a federal safety net, and in using military power to advance freedom and democracy in the world.
I know there is some of this with every election, but more-so than any other in my experince I have been wondering what exactly the two major parties stand for. Each party has their own reflexive issues: abortion, taxation, etc. But neither party can really explain right now why they do what they do. Reagan was known as the Great Communicator and Clinton was a success because he made people see with his eyes. But I am not seeing that with many of the people running this year. Only Obama seems to even have a real interest.


Sean said...

Nomad, I think this is hitting the nail straight on the head. The reason there is interest in Obama is because he is the only one of the major candidates that has any sense of a greater abiding purpose or vision. Everybody else just seems to be another guy that wants to be president for the sake of being president. This is one of the reasons I would be willing to vote for him over several republicans. I may not agree with how he'll get to many things, but I at least agree that there's a greater good that is inspiring those thoughts.

Wacko! said...

I've long tired of the two party system. What's frustrating is that the power these parties wield is enough to exclude alternatives. I feel we need to shake up the system so that fringe parties are given a chance to have a voice. Yes, there will be some VERY fringe views, but we need to find a way to give voters the option to see more choices. We are in an era of consumer choice, why not offer the same options with voting?

Sean said...

wacko! I think you're on to something. Personally I think we should go to a one party system, so we're just voting for the person we most agree with rather than someone with a party affiliation. Though, the way humans are, we would eventually divide up into parties once again.

Nomad said...

The problem with a one-party system, is then the party leaders become an oligarchy, choosing the leader instead of giving the People a chance to have a say. See any Communist country for this example.

But maybe you mean a NO-Party system. Not sure that is consistent with human nature, but it is clearly what George Washington had in mind at the beginning.