Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Don't Misread the Midterms, The Polity Has Not and Will Not Change

So once again we have an expensive, poorly attended mid term election, and to no one's surprise the Party in power has given some of it up. In a repeat of the same old script, Mitch McConnell and other Republican leaders are talking up the spirit of cooperation while no doubt plotting to put the finishing touches on what will soon be 8 years of subverting our political system to bring down a President they have a personal animus towards and to turn over our legislative process to lobbyists and other outside influences who have found legislation to be a more cost effective way of growing their business, having found the marketplace and growth through innovation and proper management to be much too demanding.

In our Congress, the notion that representatives reflect the wishes and interests of its citizens has become perverted by gerrymandering and the hugely disproportionate influence of lobbyists on all sides of the spectrum. That is why, in spite of everything you hear about smaller government, the number of laws being written continues to climb.

The distaste for politics, and hence government (they are NOT the same), continues to grow as the parties become more and more defined by an ideology. Finding a liberal Republican or a conservative Democrat is becoming harder and harder as our parties begin to look more and more European. President Obama, and I'm sure most other national politicians, are acutely aware of this. In the President's news conference today he said as much, noting that the majority of voters- unlike the 32% that voted in the midterms- "are not interested in ideology, they are ma interested in practical, good government," and that "my job is to do some practical, hard nosed things while I am in office."

This gets me back to the point I have been making since the start of this blog, that there is a huge "Pragmatist Party" made up of the majority of American citizens. We don't care about Party, we are reviled by ideology, and we are tired of platitudes that divide more than unite.

The bottom line is this: regardless of whether the idea starts from the right or the left, the American people will support whichever position is seen as the most practical. The farther a Party moves from the Center, the harder it will be for their policy to capture the support of the Center, home of the pragmatists.

So the Republicans now control both houses of Congress, and the public will now expect them to produce. Back when I was a Republican, back before the days of the Tea Party, I would have been confident that my Party would succeed at producing legislation pragmatists would support. Now I'm not so certain. President Obama seems to "get it." Unless the Republicans "get it" too, we are going to have another two years of pathetic, ideologically driven drive that will satiate the needs of those with access to the halls of Congress, but will do nothing for the majority of us who are simply along for the ride. And a bumpy ride it will be.

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