Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Democratic Paradise Lost

I suspect the last election was something more than it seemed. I suspect the last election was the Democrats’ last chance to win back the American people. . . an all or nothing offer, like a cheating spouse being given one last chance. They blew it. And now I suspect a permanent change in their relationship with the American people has begun.

As strange as it may sound, I believe the “natural” party for America is (or was) the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party traces its history all the way back to Thomas Jefferson, whose views came to dominate American thinking. Indeed, he believed in the rights of the individual over the state, he believed in state’s rights and he did not subscribe to large national interests or an interventionist foreign policy. These are all themes that remain at the core of American thinking today, even when we observe them only in their violation.

Later came Andrew Jackson. Jackson added a strand of populism to Jefferson’s beliefs. He stood for breaking up the corrupt elite that was taking hold in Washington and replacing it with a system that was more open to competition from small business.

Skipping ahead, came Roosevelt. FDR introduced the idea that the working man should be protected. But unlike the Europeans who flirted with socialism, the American version remained rooted in an ethos of self-reliance. Social security was billed as self-savings with the help of the government, not as a government granted pension like the European versions. FDR’s “New Deal” was billed as a way to put rural Americans and poor Americans to work, not on the dole. And FDR (because of the Supreme Court) avoided government sponsorship of industrial champions, something which became the basis for fascism in Europe. Thus, like him or not, you have to admit that FDR’s programs satisfied the American belief in self-reliance. And they were highly popular.

Moreover, until the 1960s, the Democratic Party was also highly patriotic and subscribed to a policy of strength, beliefs which fit perfectly with those of average Americans.

Thus, the values of the Democratic Party were the values of middle America, which consisted mainly of factory workers and small businessmen, all striving to be middle class. These people were practical, patriotic, favored a strong military (and felt American values were worth exporting), favored a small “safety net” for workers, but also wanted that safety net to be sustained by the contributions of the people who would eventually use it, and they despised privilege.

But in the 1960s, everything changed. Suddenly, the Democratic Party tore itself apart. On the one hand, you had traditional Democrats who lived in places like the deep South or western farmlands, and who still saw the Democratic Party as the party of Jefferson/Jackson/FDR. On the other hand, you suddenly had whiny, effete anti-American intellectuals and radical socialists. The bad guys won. Indeed, along came Johnson and he destroyed the Democratic Party’s reputation as fiscally responsible, as pro-worker and pro-small business. Instead, they became the party of the poor, the lazy and the vengeful; they became the party that thought America owed them something. Moreover, the opposition to Johnson’s war in Vietnam destroyed their reputation as patriotic, pro-military, and pro-American.

For the next thirty years, the Democrats sank further and further into their new form as race baiters, tax and spenders, destroyers of responsibility, and America-haters. As they sank, the public turned away from the Democrats. First came the South, then the West, and then any area outside of big cities turned against them. Finally, in 1994, the public tossed out the Democrats.

Yet, I honestly think that the whole time, the public wanted to continue to be Democrats because of their memory of what the Democrats had been. Their parents had been Democrats, everyone they knew was a Democrat, and they could point to FDR, Jefferson, and JFK as heroes. That’s why so many people remain Democrats today even though they don’t subscribe to a single belief espoused by the modern party.

So when Obama came along, I think the public saw an opportunity to give the Democrats one last chance to return to the party of old:

“You Barack hold the promise of a return to the old style Democrats. You talk about fiscal responsibility. You promise a break from the corrupt incestuousness that has beset our government. You say you favor strong military action. You want to put the race wars of the 1960s-1990s behind us. And you say you want to bring back responsibility. If you do this, then we will happily return to being Democrats; we will make you the permanent majority party again and we will even accept a little liberalism at the edges.”
Said differently, I think the last election was a test for the Democrats. The public gave them an absolute majority to see how they would react, i.e. they couldn’t hide behind the Republicans anymore. The public wanted to see if the party could shed itself of its crazies and return to Jeffersonian/Jacksonian/FDRian beliefs. If they could, I believe the public would have shifted back to the Democrats on a permanent basis.

But the Democrats blew it. They saw the election as a mandate to push hard along the same lines they’ve been travelling since the 1960s: anti-Americanism, tribalism (race, gender and union spoils), and transferring responsibility from the individual to the government -- the very things that pushed the public away. Because of this, I think the public is done with them. And I don’t just mean in one election cycle or two. I suspect they have now permanently lost their status as the “natural” party for America.

I base this on a variety of things -- the unchanging poll numbers which indicate a public that is no longer listening to the pleas of the Democratic Party; the public’s sudden dislike for each group that makes up the Democratic tribal system; and the loss of male voters, white voters, and the elderly, all of whom are needed to be a majority party. And there’s one more thing, something I’ve begun to notice a lot suddenly: moderates are no longer describing themselves as “moderate Democrats” or even “independent Democrats.” Instead, they are calling themselves “libertarians.” I don’t think this will make libertarians very happy, because they really aren’t philosophically compatible, but it is significant that so many moderate Democrats think they have found a new home.

In the end, I think the Democrats had a chance to regain their half-century of dominance, but they squandered it through the horrible leadership of Obama and Pelosi. Can the Republicans seal the deal and become the new natural party? I don’t know yet. But I do suspect that the Democrats are finished.


Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew, I think your premise is sound. It had always been sort of a "rich guy/business guy vs. "everyday working man" comparison. Abuses on one side or the other lead to gains by the opposition.

For example, during the era of robber barrons, abuses lead to formation of unions, but we know how corrupted unions became.

Roosevelt, (the dirty skunk as he was known by my grandfather) started it all. Many "intellectuals" of the time were quite enamored with the soviet system and the socialist utopia. Lyndon Johnson in the 60's really changed the dynamic for the worse.

What I can't tell is if it really is "one last chance." Too many voters act against the party in power if they do not see progress. The Republicans must act on an agenda that accomplishes something or we could have another massive mistake. "He who ignores history is doomed to repeat it." This is much more true when there is a longer period of time, so liberals may have their last bite at the apple for a while, but not indefinitely.

StanH said...

“Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated!”

I agree Andrew, but this will require an informed public for several election cycles. A willing Republican Party that will delineate the differences between a conservative, and a liberal. The complete or near upheaval of the MSM. It can be done, but before we can throw dirt on the ‘60s radicalized Democrat party, we must take one step at a time, and be rigidly dogmatic in what “we” believe, and the country will follow. Reagan showed us the way.

Joel Farnham said...


No, I think Andrew is right. I think that the American People as a whole are tired of the bait and switch tactic used by the Democrat Elite. In some ways, it has been the battered wife syndrome. "Maybe this time he will change" type of senario has been played out. I think this is the last hurrah by the Democrats.

It could be wishful thinking on our part, but I don't think so.

Well, it is also coming up to the last hurrah for the Republicans. Will the amorphous "ruling-elite" Republicans, the ones who are called Democrat-lite and the ones who backed Dede Scozzafava change?

The Republicans used to be for small government, fiscal responsibility, personal responsibility, border security and personal freedoms for all. Will it get back to that? Or will it continue down the Democrats path?

Time will tell. Good Article Andrew.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I agree with your caution. History is a pendulum and it tends to swing back and forth as one side or the other loses the faith of the public. Thus, it's possible that what we're seeing is just a quick shift back, which will be followed sooner or later by a shift back in the other direction.

But I am seeing signs that something has changed this time. It's hard to put it into words exactly, but I know a LOT of people who are conservatives but still think of themselves as Democrats. Only now, they seem to be changing. They seem to be coming to the conclusion, like Reagan, that the party has left them. And they seem to be redefining themselves with the label Libertarian -- even though they've misdefined it. (I'm seeing this in Hollywood and the media as well.)

I don't think this necessarily means the Democrats will be forever wiped out and disappear as a party -- but I think it means at the least that the danger of the Democrats ever holding all the levers of power again is close to zero for at least a couple generations. It could also become more permanent if the Republicans play this right. In the Scandinavian countries, they seem to have stopped the pendulum, I think that could happen here as well.

I guess the real test will be if places where people are Democrats by tradition rather than philosophy (like West Virginia), start voting for Republicans.

Tennessee Jed said...

Joel - nothing would make me happier than to be wrong on that score.

Tennessee Jed said...

exactly, Andrew . . .and that was pretty much my point. If one goes far enough down the line in the future, people tend to forget the lessons of history. I can't help but feel good about the way things are going right now, though.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I don't agree. On the one hand, I think the public is much more informed than people give them credit for.

But more importantly, I see this as something bigger than just an election cycle or about current thinking -- I see this as a matter of association.

Think of it this way. When you were in high school, you saw yourself as a "John Smith High School Cougar." And for sometime after you moved on, you continued to see yourself that way. But at some point, you simply moved beyond that and then you saw yourself as something else. That's what I'm seeing here. I think that the majority of the public saw themselves as Democrats until recently -- because that's how they were raised or because the rhetoric is enticing.

But now that is changing and people no longer naturally see themselves as Democrats. I'm not sure they see themselves as Republicans yet, but I think they are giving up the Democrats for something else... be it the Republicans or some new third party whose name we don't know yet.

If the Republicans play this right, I think they could become America's Team.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, Thanks!

I think the battered-spouse analogy is a good one. I think what has kept the Democrats in the game after Reagan was (1) the squishiness of Republicans like Bush Sr. who disavowed Reagan immediately, and (2) the incredible shamelessness of the Democrats, who openly lie to their constituents about who they are and what they believe.

I think the lies have finally caught up to the Democrats and their true nature has been exposed -- just like the nature of the "peace movement" was exposed in 1968. And I think this is causing Democrats (like Reagan) to conclude that the party is no longer the party they thought it was and they are breaking free from that association.

I don't know yet that the people will switch to becoming Republicans, they might simply go independent, they might just lose interest in politics, they may look for a new party, or they may start to pick and choose the Democrats they will support. But in any event, the news is not good for the Democrats.

LL said...

Insightful analysis!

Joel Farnham said...

You are welcome Andrew.

Your article as well as the American Thinker article this morning,


got me to thinking about what will the Republicans do with their super majority. If they go the way of the Democrats, they risk becoming irrelevant.

In a few years, it could just become, the American People are fed up with their parties failures and are in search for a new party.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, People do forget the lessons of history -- that seems to be part of our nature. But what I see as different this time, is that the public is "resetting the default." In other words, I think that up until now, large swaths of the country wanted to be Democrats, but voted Republican because they didn't like the Democrat. I think that's changing, the Democrats have lost the benefit of the doubt. They will now need to actually win people over rather than just wait for the other side to prove unlikable.

That would be a significant change.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks LL!

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, That's is a very good question. If the Republicans try to go back to business as usual -- doing the bidding of interest groups, then they will turn off people as well.

That opens the door for a new party or a possible resurgence of the Democrats. That said, I don't think the Democrats will recover because they're going to push themselves in the wrong direction -- far left. That means they'll lose their moderate members and the public.

That should be good for Republicans. But, if the Republicans don't pick these people up, and if they alienate their conservative base, then we have a really strange situation where a big chunk of the public has no home.

In that kind of vacuum, I could see something like the Tea Party becoming the vehicle for a genuine third party -- a people's party, to oppose the establishment party (Republicans) and the lunatic socialist party (Democrats).

BUT, let me add a huge caveat to that. First, there are too many factors to consider to get any kind of clarity on something like that happening, i.e. I would only be guessing because there are too many variable to consider to reason though this. Secondly, this would also assume that the two parties aren't good at responding and adjusting. I think the key factor to consider in that regard is that the Tea Party people are streaming into the Republican Party and changing it. So my guess is that the Republicans will become the People's Party, which leaves me wondering where big business will go?

Notawonk said...

rebublicans need to get tough, or else i see them failing as well. most folks i talk to or eavesdrop on (!) are FED UP with the lot of them. the rebs need to BELIEVE the anger of the country and step up. if they don't, it's gonna get uglier...

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, I agree. I think the Republicans need to become an "American people" party. They need to rid themselves of the mentality that Wall Street = America. And they need to do it fast.

I was a little disturbed to see them more aggressive about repealing the utterly pointless financial reform than they were about ObamaCare. Those are the instincts they need to lose. Listen to the people, not the lobbyists.

Fortunately, I think the Tea Party people are actively flexing their muscles within the Republican Party and are cleaning out the establishment types.

StanH said...

Andrew, playing on your theme, Rush recommended a great article over at the,

“American Spectator” an article By Angelo M. Codevilla, “America’s Ruling Class - - And the Perils of Revolution”

Incredible read, and enhances your article’s prose of “the party’s over!” We must coalesce this energy, for a greater America, but how?

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, We were talking about the article this weekend in the open thread. It's got major issues -- bad facts, poor reasoning, bad conclusions, and has all the hallmarks of conspiratorial arguing.

Joel Farnham said...


Yes it has major issues, but no one seems to see them right now.

Rush certainly doesn't.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, That's because it fits a theme that people want to believe right now. They want to believe that the reason things have been going wrong over the last 2-8 years is because "an elite" is secretly doing things the public doesn't want.

It's a form of blame shifting. It also lets people redefine the public in any way they want, i.e. "the public really believes everything I do and they would act on that if it wasn't for this evil elite." Both left and right are currently making this claim. It's nonsense.

The truth is that there is a group who think they are elite and they do wield a disproportionate share of power because of their positions or their money. . . but the public has been going along willingly with their daffy plans.

But now that those plans have been exposed as the cause of all of the problems we've run into, everyone wants to believe that they had no hand in causing the current situation -- it was this secret cabal. The truth is that most people went along with it. And the Tea Party is an expression of those people who did not go along with it and are sick of those who did.

Rush is great and is usually right, but he's wrong this time if he's praising this article. It happens.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, What amazes me about it, is that they somehow thought it was ok to express these kinds of rotten, biased thoughts with other journalists.

That tells us (1) their judgment is rotten and they do let their biases cloud their judgment, (2) the entire profession apparently shares the same views, and (3) they think they are above the rules -- since they are outraged that anyone would expose this. . . yet, they make their living by getting people to break confidences. So it's ok when someone does it to someone else, but it's an outrage when it happens to you?

This will particularly hurt the profession, not even for what Weigel said, but because people will now wonder what else was said by this private little club that apparently likes talking nasty about Americans behind their backs.

Joel Farnham said...


A wise man said, we deserve the government we get. His reasoning is if we didn't want that government, we would in extremis violently overthrow it or vote it out.

What do you think of the Journolist that is coming out now in dribs and drabs?

The Journolist to me is something we have KNOWN for years. It is why the alternative media and FOX news are so successful.

Sorry, sometimes I get ideas too fast and don't put them in correct order.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I responded to your deleted before you deleted it -- which is very similar to the new post, so please treat my response above as a response to your post. Thanks.

Joel Farnham said...


My fault Andrew.

Last night I was thinking about the ruling class and the country class. About how inaccurate it is.

I feel and think that the ruling class in the country aren't the sphincters in Washington DC, nor in the Capitols of the States. It resides in the people. We elect these politicians to be servants for us. The standard contract is the Constitution. We in return follow the rules the politicians create. Now, we as a group, are very upset at our servants. They have taken on airs, they have ignored us and they make some incredibly stupid decisions. Come November, I hope the Politicians get the message.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I agree in part. I think the term "ruling class" is appropriate because they see themselves as our rules. I also think this goes well beyond Washington, so it's not entirely correct that the public is really in charge.

But to the extent that we are talking about pure political power, I agree absolutely: we are the rulers and it is our fault for hiring them as managers, and then letting them act as our masters.

Unknown said...

Andrew: I felt like I was reading the story of my life in the Democratic Party (well, at least the parts after FDR). I think your description of the sea change in the Democratic Party in the 60s is accurate.

I grew up believing that the Republicans were not evil, but that Democrats had more of a heart when it came to the average Joe. I still think that was true until the average Joe was converted into special pleader and member of a protected victim class. That was when the Democratic Party ceased to be the party of the common man and became the party of class (and race) warfare.

But I clung to the Party in hopes of reform until '94 when I realized the Party had so completely altered itself into a crypto-socialist, elite-dominated party of the left that there was no longer any hope of genuine reform. Hillarycare drove me into the arms of the Republicans.

But I still state what I have said previously. I am a conservative by choice, a Republican by default. As long as the Republican Party flirts with big government and "compassionate conservatism," I will remain skeptical. I will enthusiastically support a true conservative, and I'm more likely to find that in the Republican Party. But I have yet to develop a true enthusiasm for the Party itself, and I think I have millions of conservatives and former Democrats with me.

StanH said...

We’ll have too agree, to disagree on that article Andrew. I found it a reasonable attempt to explain the unexplainable, Washington DC, Academia, MSM, K-Street, etc. As far as conclusions are concerned, even if they were given, I’d form my own, no man has all the answers. Too me the overarching theme of the article was encroaching progressivism, and how it’s permeated every facet of our lives, and most especially the body politic.
Washington is a seething cesspool of sycophancy that moves in a unified direction, counter to the will of the American people (CRA, TARP, Stimulus, Barrycare, Financial Reform, Immigration, etc.) ...they know what’s best! I don’t think it’s as much conspiratorial as it is, what’s in it for me? …self aggrandizement …perhaps power. I could keep going, but I don’t want to beat a dead horse.

Sorry for bringing it back up, I thought the open thread was about Richard Pryor : )

Gotta go vote! …see ya’ll this afternoon. Am I letting my “country class” show…LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I'm glad to hear you agree, as you are precisely the kind of person I'm talking about. You saw the old-school Democrats as the party of the common man, and the Republicans as the party of the elites.

But the Democrats tossed all of that aside. And now I think they've finally made this disillusionment permanent.

And I agree about the Republicans. They have yet to seal the deal to become the default party in America, but it is within their reach. They just need to drop exactly what you said -- big business socialism and "compassionate conservatism" which turned out to mean massive government intrusion in people's lives and massive spending on that intrusion.

They need to start seeing themselves as working for the average American. Free markets, free people, limited government, but a secure (yet self-sustaining and not interfering) safety net.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, The open threads are about whatever is on people's minds -- and this article came up and was discussed pretty extensively.

Still, I'm thinking of dissecting the article, we could always debate it more then.

Have fun voting!! :-)

Unknown said...

Andrew: And to add one more thought. The only President I've fully trusted since the first time I voted in 1966 was Ronald Reagan--and I was still a Democrat at the time. The first time I abandoned my total loyalty to the Democratic Party was to vote for Nixon, whom I didn't trust, but McGovern scared me to death. I voted for Reagan personally, not as the Republican candidate. Today, I'm more likely to vote for a Republican simply because he or she is a Republican, and I believe in party politics. But I'm still waiting for that Republican presidential candidate whom I can trust the way I trusted Ronald Reagan.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Reagan was the President when I started to really understand politics, so he made it very easy to be a Republican -- he was aided by the Democrats already being very anti-American at the time. So I've always been a Republican. But I share you're views on this. I don't like most of the Republicans I've seen in my life and I keep waiting for a good one like Reagan to come along.

And again, let me point out how your history reflects what I'm talking about in the article -- you went from seeing the Democrats as your "default party" to seeing the Republicans as the default. I think this last election was the last hurrah for the Democrats and that the majority of the public will now follow your lead.

Joel Farnham said...

Andrew and LawHawk,

If you guys think I am going to jump in here and promote Palin as the Republican you are looking for, guess again.

Palin, for all her virtues, has yet to win, hands down, a debate. She DID debate Biden, but....Joe Biden?! No, she will have to debate the up and coming ones before I get behind her. I know I said what I said the other day, but I never did say she was my pick. I wish Chris Christie would be available, but...

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, LOL! I actually wasn't even thinking about the current crop, I was remembering prior disappointments. . . and there were many. In fact, Bush Sr. really angered me when he disavowed Reagan. That was disgraceful. And Bob Dole and John McCain? Come on people, those are the best we could do? We could have done better yanking someone randomly off the street.

(P.S. I'm glad you're keeping an open mind -- that a very conservative trait. Reagan's famous "trust but verify" works with politicians too, if you change it to "have faith, but wait for proof that your faith is well-placed.")

Unknown said...

And let me add that this is the reason we don't endorse candidates in primaries (or even earlier). The internal vetting of Republican hopefuls has barely begun. There is plenty of time for a stunning front-runner to emerge, or a current front-runner to stumble badly.

Like so many others, I have constantly been let down by candidates I thought had possibilities. Jimmy Carter promised me clean government, and gave us no government at all. Bill Clinton promised me a restoration of the Democratic Party and instead gave us a government that was anti-military and promoted Hillarycare. That was the straw that broke this camel's back.

Bush I disavowed Reagan and first promised us a "kinder, gentler America," followed by "read my lips--no new taxes." And then there was Bush II who talked a good conservative game, then increased the size of government, spent like a Democrat, misplaced his veto pen, and fought the right war for many of the wrong reasons. I suspected him from the get-go, but Jeez, at least he made good Supreme Court appointments (my primary reason for voting for him), but even he tried to slip a political crony past us in the form of Harriet Myers. And then, shortly into his first term, he said "when people hurt, government must act." Thank you, Woodrow Wilson. Still, what were my alternatives? Gore? Kerry? Not bloody likely.

At least Obama hasn't disappointed me. He's turned out to be everything I thought he was--and worse.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Excellent points.

Let me add that the other reason for us not endorsing anyone is that we don't want people thinking that we don't respect their different opinions. Conservatives of good faith can have different views -- we're not lock-step liberals here.

Tennessee Jed said...

Well talking about what the Republicans could do with a super majority, in addition to his article today, Bruce Walker at American Thinker had a great article earlier in the week titled "The real keys to revolution." We could get rid of coercive union tactics, Obamacare, make voter fraud more difficult, all kind of good stuff.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I think it's very unlikely that the Republicans will get a super majority. Those are rare and I think that there are too many liberal states that simply won't vote Republican.

That said, there is still a lot that can be done -- especially with the Presidency. I think that electoral reform is a great idea, because that could stop a lot of the game the Democrats have been playing to steal elections. I also think we need to start treating unions like an enemy -- that why I propose in my agenda that we allow members to opt out of the political portion of their dues and to sue to enforce this.

Beyond that, I think we need to introduce genuine market reforms in each of the problem areas of our economy. Once health care and education run like everything else, then the politics (and the ability to make them political) will tend to disappear.

MegaTroll said...

I'm with LL, insightful and interesting analysis. Keep giving us something to think about!

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks LL, I thought it was interesting. These are just the kinds of things I keep seeing and I think they're worth pointing out.

Jonathan said...

Ok, thats all some pretty interesting viewpoints. I just don't buy the "democrats are liberals who want to give away the US" and "republicans are evil conservatives who want to give away the US"!
As I see it, and I have lived long enough to see many a president come and go, they all suck. They all gave away the hard earned taxes to corporations, they all deregulated industries that (i think its beyond obvious now) need to be regulated to protect all of us. I have watched our country spiraling down the toilet as our children don't get a decent education. Our industries have vanished, along with our jobs. We don't make anything but something called "derivatives". I have to scour the internet to find clothes that are made in the USA. Thats just ridiculous.
What do politicians have in common with sperm? One in 40 million have a chance of becoming a human.
Massive change is required if we want to be anything close to what we have been. Our "representatives" wont let that happen, the status quo is their fat paycheck. Only when we have other choices, other parties involved in the system will real opportunities for change be realized.

AndrewPrice said...

Jonathan, I think it's highly unlikely that we will ever have a serious third party alternative. Our system simply doesn't allow for that, barring some truly exceptional circumstances. And even then, I think the two parties have gotten much better than they used to be at absorbing these movements that rise up once in a while.

Trying to form a third party is simply a way to lose influence. If the public really wants change, then it needs to take over the existing parties. . . as the Tea Party people are doing with the Republicans.

As for the rest of your comments, the problem isn't deregulation, it's regulation -- there is very little in our economy that isn't subject to heavy regulation. We also make a lot more than derivatives -- we are the second largest manufacturer in the world, behind China (who just passed us this month). That's pretty impressive since we're supposedly a country without a manufacturing base. Our primary education system does stinks -- too heavily regulated and unionized, but our college system is the envy of the world and dominates the rankings.

Jonathan said...

I checked on the manufacturing, seems to be correct. But it still seems odd that Detroit is an economic wasteland and I cant find consumer products to buy that are made here. Some tools, some food but not alot.

As for deregulation, I suggest reading up on what Paul Volcker has to say about that. Deregulation of the financial industry is what led us to these fine financial times. Do we need more bureaucracy? Almost certainly not, but letting the wolves roam free doesn't really seem to be a better option.
I agree that a three or more party system is unlikely. I merely said its what we need. Voting for a senate seat should be open to all. And yes, I know about running as an independent. Without massive name recognition that doesn't work either. A system where a party can run on a single issue platform makes coalitions form, where many people can have their interests represented. A place where there is more than a dark line separating sides of the aisle.

A man can dream.

AndrewPrice said...

Jonathan, On financial deregulation I agree entirely. Both parties have conspired to help a small group form these megacompanies that are larger than all but a few countries, that have their fingers in everything, and that endanger the whole world economy when they mess up. They also have virtually no oversight. In fact, they have so much money and influence that they can literally buy and sell governments, news organizations, and control the market.

That's completely counter to the ideals of our economy or even common sense.

Like you, I would love to see re-regulation in that regard. I think they need to break these megabanks back up into separate consumer banks, investment banks, stock trading firms, rating agencies, and insurance companies. Letting them mix all of this is a nightmare. They should also impose minimum capital requirements, minimum insurance requirements, open trading rules requiring them to report all their holdings and track their solvency, and eliminate structural issues that favor them in the markets -- like microtrades where a stock is traded 100 times in a second by the same company.

The reason you don't see a lot of American goods is because most consumer products use very few resources other than labor. Since Americans can't compete on the basis of labor cost, those tend to be made overseas. The kinds of products Americans make tend to be more "machine tool" oriented -- large, complex equipment that goes into building complex items.

Detroit is in trouble for a lot of reason, mostly having to do with 40 years of backwards thinking and union excess. Look at the difference between Honda and GM. GM has stuck with the union model and has been slowly forced to do most of it's production overseas. But Honda went to the South where it could get cheaper more flexible labor and the American South stole those jobs from Japan.

As for third parties, I understand your point. My concern with third parties (besides the unelectability issue) is that I would be concerned that three parties wouldn't stay anymore "pure" to their ideals than two parties, and that the majority of the public would end up choosing the RINO/DINO party every time. I'd rather take that option off the table and make them choose two clear paths -- a small government party and the other guys. But for that to happen, the people need to get involved again and literally remake the Republicans and the Democrats. I have hopes this is happening, but we're certainly not there yet.

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