A Dime’s Worth of Difference

October 25th, 2010

By Tom Carter

Racist rabble-rouser and archconservative George Wallace used to say, “There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the Republicans and Democrats.”  Ross Perot said the same thing, as did Ralph Nader and others.  What they had in common was they wanted to get elected outside the framework of the two parties.  What they also had in common was they were at least partly right.

I just dispatched my absentee ballot to Texas.  As I labored over the ballot, making sure I knew enough about the lesser offices and candidates to actually vote for one of them, that thought kept going through my mind.  (I know, I know — you’re in bad shape when you’ve got George Wallace on your mind.)  The fact is, when I look at the performance of the two parties during the past couple of decades it really doesn’t seem to make much difference which bunch is in power.

Right now, our biggest concerns are taxes, spending, deficits, and debt.  Aside from a few well-credentialed idiots like Paul Krugman, who ought to shut the heck up, the vast majority of people seem to understand that we need to take dramatic remedial action through taxing and spending changes if we’re going to avoid a long-term collapse.  There’s no other way to do it.

Republicans want to maintain or lower current levels of taxation and solve the problem by spending cuts.  However, they’re vague as can be on what spending they would cut.  For example, try finding specifics in their latest “contract.”

Democrats want to avoid tax increases on all but the wealthiest Americans — they generally don’t vote for Democrats anyway, so why not?  But they want to keep all the expensive entitlement programs so beloved by their base.  The only cuts they’re much interested in might be in defense, but even most Democrats know there isn’t much to be saved there.

The Bush Administration cut taxes and spent like drunken sailors (considering how bad it was, that’s an insult to drunken sailors).  The Obama Administration is continuing the drunken sailor approach to government.  Where can we voters go to find political leaders with the cojones (Sarah Palin said it first!) to prescribe the nasty medicine we must take in order to survive?

I voted for Rick Perry for governor of Texas again because he has continued to lead with economic policies that have made Texas relatively well-off compared to other big states.  I voted for my incumbent Republican member of the House because, well, he’s not a Democrat, and I want to send my piddling little message of disapproval of how things are going.

How about issues other than the economy?  War, for example.  Clinton’s timidity and military ignorance botched the situation in Somalia and led us to lead NATO into the disaster of bombing Yugoslavia.  Bush got us into ill-conceived and poorly planned and executed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Obama is doing the same thing with his muddled and doomed-to-failure strategy in prosecuting the war in Afghanistan.  So in terms of finding a difference between the parties, war is a wash.  They’re both incompetent and irresponsible.

So my meaningless little contribution to the vote totals in Texas isn’t going to make a dime’s worth of difference in the near-term fate of the country.  Neither is yours, my friend.  The real question is how bad will things have to get before our political leaders man-up and start making hard decisions?  Very bad, I’m afraid.

Like most people, I’ll follow the election returns closely.  I hope the Republicans beat the stuffing out of the Democrats at all levels.  Not because I’m a Republican, God knows, but because I want politicians of all stripes to get a strong message that the people are mad as hell and they better start doing a better job.  I don’t expect it to happen, but, as the man said, “Hope springs eternal….”


Articles written by
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Categories: Economics, News, Politics | Comments (5) | Home

Bookmark and Share

5 Responses to “A Dime’s Worth of Difference”



  1. Clarissa |

    “The fact is, when I look at the performance of the two parties during the past couple of decades it really doesn’t seem to make much difference which bunch is in power.”

    -I couldn’t agree more, which makes me very sad.

    “The Bush Administration cut taxes and spent like drunken sailors (considering how bad it was, that’s an insult to drunken sailors).”

    -This is very well-said and very funny.

    “I hope the Republicans beat the stuffing out of the Democrats at all levels. Not because I’m a Republican, God knows, but because I want politicians of all stripes to get a strong message that the people are mad as hell and they better start doing a better job.”

    -I somehow feel that nobody will get the message, and it will be business as usual after the elections.


  2. Tom Carter |

    Clarissa, no doubt you’re right that it will be “business as usual after the elections.” Some politicians are too dense to get the message, and others will get it but either won’t give a damn or won’t have a clue what to do about it. I cling to the conviction that the American political system is among the few best that exist, but we can’t keep it that way without courageous and skilled leadership. Looking around the political landscape, I have no idea where it will come from.


  3. Clarissa |

    “I cling to the conviction that the American political system is among the few best that exist, but we can’t keep it that way without courageous and skilled leadership.”

    -I don’t think that just one person – no matter how skilled and intelligent – could change the status quo. This isn’t a monarchy, after all.

    What I don’t understand is why there are only two parties. This country deserves a lot more variety of political affiliation.


  4. Brianna |

    Tom – I too am going to vote a mostly straight Republican ticket. Not because I am Republican, but as you said, because they aren’t Democrats. Don’t know how much good that will do in IL, but oh well….

    Clarissa – having only 2 major parties has its problems, but having multiple parties also has problems. Whatever the faults of our system, at least here you can only be governed by a majority. In many European countries, it becomes entirely possible to be governed by a minority as minority parties use their “tipping-point” status as a bargaining chip in forming governing coalitions.


  5. Tom Carter |

    The two-party system as it has evolved in the U.S. is a perennial topic of discussion and debate among political scientists and historians, not to mention the huge number of trees that had to die for the innumerable books and articles on the subject. It began at the beginning, with people broadly defining themselves as Federalists and Anti-Federalists (later Republicans, via Jefferson and Madison). The ideas of Hamilton and Jefferson pretty much defined the differences.

    There are lots of folks who would like to do away with the two-party system, with the strongest feelings found among those who most recently didn’t get what they wanted out of the existing system. But like the electoral college, which has a solid foundation in the Constitution that the two party system doesn’t have, changing the way things are may sound good, but there’s no agreement among serious scholars on exactly how to do it or what to replace either of them with. The worst problem is that we’d be jumping into the dark abyss of unintended consequences — the results might be far worse.


Leave a Comment


(To avoid spam, comments with three or more links will be held for moderation and approval.)












Authors

Recent Posts

Categories


Archives


Meta

Blogroll



Creative Commons License;   

The work on Opinion Forum   
is licensed under a   
Creative Commons Attribution   
3.0 Unported License
.    






Support Military Families 
















My Zimbio  

Political Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory   Listed in LS Blogs the Blog Directory and Blog Search Engine

   Politics Blog Directory  

Demand Media

Copyright 2014 Opinion Forum