Monday, September 06, 2004

The one party country

How many more national elections will the Republican machine win before they become the national party? How many more elections before the democratic base, recognizing it cannot get any of its issues turned into policy, begins lobbying the Republican machine directly? Maybe it's a hopelessly wrong doomsday prediction, but my God . . .

Look at New York, California, and Massachusetts. Three liberal states with Republican governors. For good reason, liberals in those states have decided that allowing one party, in this case the Democratic party, to control the entire government is counterproductive (though in New York, it doesn't seem as though the government is especially well-working for all of its balance). Despite the fact that those three governors would be considered liberals in much of the Bible belt (a fact that perfectly represents the serious internal divisions that the Republicans have managed to suppress as they retain power), they are Republicans nonetheless, fiscal conservatives who check any free-spending impusles from the states' legislatures.

In the national government, one party now controls all three branches, as many have pointed out before. But that power will only deepen if the President is reelected. At least three Supreme Court Justices to nominate will place the Court firmly in the hands of conservative ideologues (fairwell to legalized abortion, hello to a country without civil rights in a constant war on terror). All signs point to the Republicans holding Congress as well, allowing them to further shape the country as they choose--and the political discourse of the country as well--which will almost certainly deepen their hold on power.

What has one party in power gotten us? An ineffective Congress that gave the President the power to make war on faulty intelligence that it was their duty to oversee and an absolutely massive fiscal deficit which will counteract the expansionary monetary policy of the Federal Reserve and reduce US exports for years to come, increasing our twin deficit mess. And of course there's Iraq. You all can read a trillion other words one way or the other on that issue, and either way, mistakes have been made.

The Republican party has in the past, though they hate the word, taken nuanced positions on issues. This is a party with a large contingent of (usually) intelligent, thinking moderates who believe in reproductive rights for women, who value science's contributioon in areas like stem cell research, and who don't think a "no tax and spend" strategy for running a government is responsible. Where are their voices? Drowned out in a polarized debate? Who knows. But take one look at the Republican platform and it's clear they had little say on what it includes.

In any case. Moderates in the Republican party haven't jumped ship because as long as their party remains in power, they know they'll get a few scraps thrown their way from the Neocon-Christian Conservative power mongers that run the party. How long before the Democratic base starts moving in the same direction?

(I'll accept "never" as answer, but can I be scared anyway?)


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