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An interesting article in "Time"

An one party rule is bad: it corrupts the country and the party in power. The quesiton is, can the current Republican party be an effective check on Democrats? The recent Time article by Michael Grunwald seems to answer this question negatively.

The article refutes the Democratic canard that Republicans have no ideas. Republicans actually have plenty of ideas. The problem is, these ideas cannot win a majority. An important example is the GOP alternative budget. Besides being a p.r. disaster (setting the release of numbers on April 1 was a real gaffe), it was too radical for the huge majority of Ameircans: It's a radical document, making Bush's tax cuts permanent while adding about $3 trillion in new tax cuts skewed toward the rich. It would replace almost all the stimulus — including tax cuts for workers as well as spending on schools, infrastructure and clean energy — with a capital gains–tax holiday for investors. Oh, and it would shrink the budget by replacing Medicare with vouchers, turning Medicaid into block grants, means-testing Social Security and freezing everything else except defense and veterans' spending for five years, putting programs for food safety, financial regulation, flu vaccines and every other sacred government cow on the potential chopping block.

The author describes the "death spiral", known in the control theory as positive feedback: when GOP becomes more radical, centrists like 200,000 PA voters including Sen. Specter leave the party. The remaining true believers make the party even more radical, causing even more moderates flee. This might be ok of Rush Limbaugh: he is here for money, and his audience pays. However, party is different from a sect, and wacos never have a chance to become a political force. Rush would be happy to become a clone of Rev. Moon; is this a palatable future for other GOP leaders?

It seems GOP might be on the verge of extinction. Maybe a schism in the Democratic party is the way to return to a two-party system.


( 37 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 7th, 2009 03:43 pm (UTC)

4-5 years ago many thought that the Democratic party was on the verge of extinction and look where we are now.
May. 7th, 2009 03:45 pm (UTC)
I do not remeber positive feedback like the one described above.
May. 7th, 2009 03:59 pm (UTC)
Easy: people who depend on governmental spending tend to vote for Dem => more votes for Dem => they feel the country supports even more governmental spending, and create more dependants => more votes for Dem
May. 7th, 2009 05:23 pm (UTC)

Positive feedback is merely a theory (interesting one, though). The republicans' problem now is that they are too far to the right, while the problem with the democrats a few years ago was that they lacked coherency. In that sense it is different, I agree.
May. 7th, 2009 04:28 pm (UTC)
Exactly. It all depends on how their internal squabbles resolve in the next year or so. If "Rush and Co." win, then GOP will indeed go into the death spiral for at least another election or two. If some new faces/ideas win (say that daughter of McCain, what's her name), then they may easily come back.
May. 7th, 2009 06:51 pm (UTC)
момент после выборов -
естественный для отхода партии от центра.
Как только замаячит шанс на власть, самые разультраправые республиканцы
задрейфуют к центру.
Вопрос к знатокам: центральная печать типа Тайма в обозримом прошлом
тоже предрекала радикализацию проигравшей партии вплоть до полной маргинализации?
May. 11th, 2009 06:00 am (UTC)
Brought to you by the Iraq debacle and the economy debacle.

Dems did not win - Repubs lost.
May. 7th, 2009 04:00 pm (UTC)
The problem is, these ideas cannot win a majority.
This is sad, but true.
May. 7th, 2009 04:24 pm (UTC)
Why is it sad? I'm rather glad that these ideas can't win a majority. What's sad is that GOP is a hostage to these ideas and is unwilling to even consider coming up with new ones.
May. 7th, 2009 04:33 pm (UTC)
Well, I meant pretty much the same. I hate the idea of the single party "Единая Америка". But agree that currently GOP has nothing to offer. And this is sad.
May. 7th, 2009 04:38 pm (UTC)
Well, actually, that was exactly my point when I said that I wish for a different kind of opposition party and you laughed it off at the time. Not that I'm bitter about that, just wanted to point out that there's nothing wrong with wishing for a different opposition.
May. 7th, 2009 04:46 pm (UTC)
No, nothing wrong with that. Maybe I didn't understand you at the time. However, I do believe that even within GOP there are people who can join reasonable opposition party.
May. 7th, 2009 04:05 pm (UTC)
Maybe a schism in the Democratic party is the way to return to a two-party system.
I sure hope for something like blue dog democrats.
May. 7th, 2009 04:06 pm (UTC)
The problem is that you eventually run out of other people's money.
May. 7th, 2009 04:39 pm (UTC)
Have you seen the recent interviews of Chris Matthews with GOP leaders on issues of science?
May. 7th, 2009 08:05 pm (UTC)
What did they say?
May. 7th, 2009 08:17 pm (UTC)
I am not capable of restating of such weird and confused views. I gotta watch it yourself:
May. 7th, 2009 08:54 pm (UTC)

Да, ну и типы.
May. 7th, 2009 08:28 pm (UTC)
I remember that TV debate, where the moderator asked GOP presidential hopeful to raise hands if they believe in evolution. I remember that GOP young star, Bob Jindal, participated in exorcism.

This is really sad. How can we have a meaningful dialogue with these people?
May. 7th, 2009 04:41 pm (UTC)
Прежде чем делиться на части, пожалуйста, сначала всеобщую медицину и починить US image abroad. А республиканцев смыло прогрессом, ничего не поделаешь. Поделом.
May. 8th, 2009 05:24 pm (UTC)
> Прежде чем делиться на части, пожалуйста, сначала всеобщую медицину и починить US image abroad

На свете есть куча стран с всеобщей медицинoй (включая и СССР/Россию откуда вы вероятно уехали), есть куча стран с неплохим imageм abroad. Скажите, зачем вы поехали в США ?

И поехав в США потому что там вам лучше, вы хотите ввести в США вещи существующие там где вы не остались / куда не поехали потому что там вам хуже.
May. 7th, 2009 04:55 pm (UTC)
Bush is the greatest president ever. He killed GOP. We should praise him.
May. 7th, 2009 04:56 pm (UTC)
I have to disagree majorly with this article.

Just a few years ago I read very similar articles about how democratic party could not provide a check on republicans, because they [democrats] were too liberal, too radical, etc.

Opinions shift very quickly, and it would be very foolish to discount the republican party at this point.

Edited at 2009-05-07 04:57 pm (UTC)
May. 7th, 2009 08:35 pm (UTC)
The demographics several years ago worked for Democrats: the new generation was more liberal than the old one. Does it work for Republicans now? I do not think so.

Republicans bet their farm on the old constipated white males listening to Rush. It is an excellent choice if you want to sell Viagra; less so if you want to sell ideas.

I could see the new voters going to change the balance then. I do not see the new generation voting Republican any time soon.
May. 7th, 2009 09:15 pm (UTC)
What do you think of McCain's daughter? (Megan?) From recent public GOP speakers she seemed to be the only one not afraid to butt heads with Rush...
May. 8th, 2009 01:52 am (UTC)
I am not sure I should think anything about her (yet?).
May. 7th, 2009 11:48 pm (UTC)
Ron Paul?
May. 8th, 2009 01:58 am (UTC)
I do not think John Birch society can attract any young people. Ron Paul was a keynote speaker at their 50 anniversary and stated that he had no disagreements with them on major issues (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/22/magazine/22Paul-t.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print)

It is not just that Ron's friends are repulsive; they are ultimately uncool. I see no future for him in the emergent demographics.

Edited at 2009-05-08 01:59 am (UTC)
May. 8th, 2009 03:33 am (UTC)
I'm fairly certain that's exactly what was being said back then with parties reversed: that the new generation is growing to be more conservative than the previous one, that now with more blogs, etc., the liberal media doesn't have an advantage and more and more people are getting "fair" information and are turning to republican party, etc.

I vividly remember arbat explaining to me exactly why the democrat party is dead :)
May. 8th, 2009 03:31 pm (UTC)
I have no idea where does arbat takes his data from. Here is the data about young voters preferences from Pew: http://pewresearch.org/pubs/813/gen-dems. Look at the chart: in 2004 Dems had 51:40 advantage in party identification. What "conservative generation" we are talking about?! Right now the split is 58:33. The last time Republicans got such advantage among young voters was Reagan's election. Let us face it: since George H. W. Bush Dems consistently overpoll GOP in this demographics.

There was an interesting article about young voters here: http://www.pollster.com/blogs/young_voters_gop_and_race.php. It discusses a number of bad choices made by Republicans in last years. Basically they sacrificed long term strategy for short term advantages.

I would be happy if this proves to be wrong: we need a viable conservative option for the health of the country. However right now I do not see how GOP can overcome several decades of stupid tricks.
May. 8th, 2009 09:48 pm (UTC)
we need a viable conservative option for the health of the country

Absolutely! И я уверена, что оно есть (типа, у Давида Брукса) и оно проявится, когда пройдёт истерика. Вот окончится история с Алом Франкеном, они оплачут свои потери и вернутся к реальности. И с тем же Спектором наладят контакты, и к синим псам начнут подъезжать, а в итоге сыграют свою жизненноважную роль тормозов.
May. 8th, 2009 04:24 pm (UTC)
> An one party rule is bad: it corrupts the country and the party in power.

Вы можете кое-что сделать для того чтоб избежать этой опасности:
пишите в вашем журнале прореспубликанские посты, агитируйте ваших читателей за положения республиканской программы, остро критикуйте демократов и их идеи и не пишите о них ничего положительного. Ваши читатели-американцы проголосуют за республиканцев, может республиканцы что-то и выиграют, и будет вам двухпартийная система.
May. 9th, 2009 02:23 am (UTC)
A rather unlikely scenario. There are always people who say America is going in the wrong direction and sooner or later GOP will capitalize on that. Whigs disappeared since they supported slavery and so did the majority of Democrats. Thus, GOP emerged as a party that united those who were against slavery, whether because they preferred free market economy or because they wanted equality for all. The only thing that can destroy GOP today is a certain popular agenda that finds little support among Republican leaders and is hostile to left-wing Democrats. But I don't know what it could be, perhaps, communitarianism?
May. 11th, 2009 05:58 am (UTC)
I disagree. This "alternative budget" seems a part of a decently thought out strategy.

The important part about it is that it is not intended for implementation - and, crucially, nor it it intended for real discussion today. It is pubished FOR THE RECORD.

The Republicans are betting on faulure of Obama's recovery plan. They hope he will fail, or be seen to fail, by the election campaign for 2012. And then in the campaign they expect to be asked - "what was your alternative? How was it different?"

And they want to pull out old newspapers with this "alternative budget" and say - see, we did have an alternatie and no one can say it's not different! We would have saved the country if only you liistened to us!

Note that Bush did not do anything as radical as this, on the contrary
the stimulus stuff started under him. They expect to downplay this and play up their "alternatives" in the evencual election game.
May. 11th, 2009 05:59 am (UTC)
...and voter count is important for THEN not for now. Giving up current supporters for a chance at massive gain for election time may be seen as a good bargain.
May. 12th, 2009 12:31 am (UTC)
It looks like a strategy of a stupid spouse after a divorce: "I wish you starve and see I were right. Then you will return to me".

The problem is, people usually understand when somebody prays they fail. This strategy never works.
May. 12th, 2009 01:35 am (UTC)
Politics is not EXACTLY like family life and a "see them fail" strategy may very well bring the Conservatives back to power in the UK soon.
( 37 comments — Leave a comment )



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