February 23, 2005

Centrist Dreams

Back in the mid-to-late 90s, I was part of the local Reform party. I felt like I didn't fit in either major party and this new burgeoning party seemed like a good fit. Of course, the party imploded and I began to doubt a strong centrist third party could emerge. These days, I tend to believe that centrism at least for now is better expressed within the two major parties.

Matt Miller's swangsong column talks about how both parties are not really serving the people by ignoring major problems that are just down the road. He believes that it's only a matter of time before it's "third party time." Here's the money quote:

"My intuition is that if Washington Republicans continue to veer right, and Washington Democrats (despite my friendly coaxing) find themselves trapped in a "reactionary liberalism" unable to embrace new ideas, at some point a critical mass of leaders on both sides will start to think (and should start to think) about a new force that can move the nation toward real answers.

When they do, they'll quickly discover there is a constituency out there waiting to be summoned. They'll discover an army of young people - who have the most to lose from today's bipartisan charades - who can be taught how our drift robs their future, and who are filled with too much energy and idealism to know what "can't be done." They'll find a press that needs an "official" third force like this to legitimize a style of news coverage that exposes the hoax and points toward common-sense solutions.

And when all that happens, watch out. "

Miller is right that both parties are veering to the extreme and tend to play games instead of acutally formulating real solutions to vexing problems. My concern is if there is really a chance a new party or movement will come about. Maybe it will. I know I for one am tired of the extreme conservativism in the GOP and I know that there are a few Dems tired of the wingnuts that dominate their party. Maybe when the poop starts hitting the fan, people might get some righteous anger and create a movement that will fundamentally change this country for the better.

I just don't know if we are at the point right now. I know that it is hard to get moderate Republicans involved in forming more moderate policy. I've tried getting people involved in my local Log Cabin chapter and that has been an uphill climb.

I hope Miller is right. We need something better than what we have now.

Posted by Dennis at February 23, 2005 12:27 AM
Comments

The Republican Party has won the last two national elections, has maintained its majority in congress, and has maintained its hold on more governorships, and state legislatures than the democrats

But what has it done for the nation Thomas?

Posted by: dorsano at February 24, 2005 01:26 AM

Joshua -

America is a two-party system but was not always a two party system. Look back in your history books at the early elections in our country. You might also want to note that the Republican party started off as a "third party."

Posted by: Mark Kittel at February 23, 2005 01:57 PM

Thomas,

You believe in the core principles of the Republican Party, yet admit that the current administration does not do a good job of upholding those values. But then you go on to say basically "that's today's reality" - so it's okay, in your view, for the party to discard its core values in order to garner votes. Am I reading this right? And this is the kind of party you want to be in - one that turns away from its values for political expediency?

Posted by: Mark Kittel at February 23, 2005 01:55 PM

Even the suggestion of the creation of a third party confuses me, and leads me to question how much of a Republican you really are. I donít know about you, but Iím a Republican because I believe in the core principles of the Republican Party Ė Strong national defense, a small government that stays out of my bedroom and out of my wallet etc etc. Now Iíll admit that the current Republican controlled government isnít living up to all of the stated principles of the party Ė especially ones concerning fiscal responsibility. That said, youíre suffering from the same mental disorder the democrats are if you believe we live in the same world we did in the days of Lincoln, Regan or Bush 42. Our party was the first to modify itself and adapt to this new reality, (thanks to Regan, and the visionary leadership of the Bush team) and because of that the American people have entrusted our candidates with their lives and prosperity.
The Republican Party has won the last two national elections, has maintained its majority in congress, and has maintained its hold on more governorships, and state legislatures than the democrats. What this tells me is that those who stand and scream about the direction the Republican Party is taking this country are out of touch. For those that grew up in the mediocrity of the first Bush administration and the prosperity of the Clinton years, welcome to democracy from the view of the minority ideology.

Posted by: Thomas at February 23, 2005 05:27 AM

At first glance a third party seems that it could be a reality some time in the not so distant future. However, you have to remember what makes government, politicians in particular go. Money. More specifically, interest group money. Traditionally corporations support the right, labor unions the left. Who would jump ship and support the middle? Unfortunately, probably no one, therefore eliminating the possibility of a third party getting off the ground.

America is, and always has been a two party system. It really doesn't work any other way. One party will have to completely collapse in order for another to rise. Right now, with the Democrats losing Labor money (due to Unions getting weaker) as well as a lack of vision by their leaders, it looks like that may be the route that their party is taking.

Posted by: Joshua Kagi at February 23, 2005 01:09 AM
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