Frothing Moderates

I keep reading about the problems of the republican party and how on the one hand they need to appeal outside of their base, and on the other hand how they need to cater even more to their base. Since their base appears to be a bunch of hyper conservative no government gun toting blowhards (if Palin and Limbaugh are any example), it seems to me that their base is totally alienating the 50%+ moderates that are out there (i.e., if, according to a recent poll I read, about 21% call themselves republican and some 27% call themselves democrats, then it seems to me that the rest don't call themselves either and are likely to be moderates). As someone who once considered himself a republican, the idea of even considering the idea of associating myself with the morons blathering about hate this and hate that (what kind of idiot not only goes on record saying he hopes the President fails, but vociferously defends that position?) makes my skin crawl. On the other hand, the idea of associating with a soak the rich until there are no rich any longer democrats also makes me ill. Then there are the wackos like Nader and previously Perot which makes the existing third parties look like a bunch of dumbasses. It seems to me that it is clear we need a third party, but how would it happen? I loath politicians and it makes my skin crawl to even think of shaking hands with one, so I don't think I could ever run for any office or attempt to organize a party (not to mention I already got enough things going to keep me busy all day), but clearly something needs to be done. Efficient government should not be an oxymoron. It seems to me that most people who are willing to stick their hands into the fire / head into the lion's mouth (i.e., enter politics) must have strongly held beliefs to keep them going during the long dark periods when they are kissing ugly babies and giving the identical zero information content speech to a group of bored and disinterested listeners, something I figure most moderates are not willing to do simply because they would have to be dedicated and I envision most moderates are too busy enjoying life.

Then there is the evil of Gerrymandering (the silly-assed redistricting that goes on to ensure candidates get reelected). By carefully crafting voting districts so they exclude members of the opposition (who ever that happens to be), they essentially guaranteed that the district can never be held by anyone from another party. Thus, even if a lot of people get upset with the party that represents them, all they can really do is change reps, not parties. I think making voting districts dependant on something less subject to political tinkering (like zip codes, though you can be sure that we would wind up with some funky zip codes if that happened!) would go a long, long way toward getting a better government. California is a perfect example of why Gerrymandering is such a problem. The balance betwixt dems and republicans actually elected has essentially been unchanged for decades yet over that period there have been several ideological changes which has shifted power from dems to republicans and back, yet the proportion of dems vs. republicans elected is unchanged. Now, if the country suddenly goes moderate (and if 50% call themselves something besides dem or republican, I argue this happened a long, long time ago), why in the hell do we still see CA totally dominated by dems and the proportion untouched? Our country has engineered itself into a position where we can have no credible third (or fourth, fifth, etc.) party and thus are left with 'incredible' third parties like Nader. You should not have to choose betwixt d or r just to have a career in politics and since 'independent' simply means 'not allied with d/r', that means there is no real party platform for moderates to talk about.

How to change anything? Eliminating Gerrymandering in favor of something not subject to political influence would have to be the place to start, but how to make such a change without first joined the system (and thus selling your soul to the devil)? Then, once that insurmountable task has been completed, the next would be to get enough moderates together (taking them from their nice, relaxed, enjoyable life) that can form enough of a consensus to build a party (Mad as Hell Moderates perhaps?) which can then campaign to try to capture liberal republicans and conservative democrats. Probably a total waste of time and since moderates tend to be relaxed an even bigger challenge. Isn't the very idea of frothing moderate an oxymoron itself?

If you found this rant interesting, you might also like this article: Commentary: No one represents America's center by John Feehery.

I found that I am not alone in my complaints about Gerrymandering; here is an algorithm specifically intended to eliminate it: Splitline districtings of all 50 states + DC + PR. What is needed is a Supreme Court ruling that something like this (it MUST be open source so it doesn't get tinkered with behind closed doors!) is required for all districting. Then we might be on to something.

Not an exact fit with this article, but here is a discussion on the endless campaign season: Commentary: Palin, Gingrich, Romney and 2012 by Julian Zelizer. In it the author talks about the spiral of cost required in order to appear competitive in any race (particularly Presidential) and how it shows no sign of stopping. I am not sure if there is any resolution beyond eliminating private money all together, not likely something the Supreme Court would stand by on. Our system is well and truly broken, but I am not sure what would be an adequate replacement beyond a benevolent dictator (and where we gonna get one of them?).

In my opinion the founding fathers accidentally created a form of government that simultaneously robs the commoner of any meaningful input in the process while guaranteeing that commoner lacks any incentive to revolt against it. Consider this: in almost all elections we have a 'choice' between a democrat and a republican, both often chosen by the hyper partisan wing of each party (i.e., those that vote during primaries). Thus, the massive middle ground lacks any sort of representation and simply has a choice I like to call 'death by hanging or death by firing squad', a false choice if I ever heard of one. However, as a way to 'guarantee' that there will be no revolution, since anyone can be (and sometimes it seems like everyone has been) part of the system, if you really are motivated to change the system (unlike, say, someone like me who just wants to spew about it and annoy others like you dear readers) then either through your own volition you will join the system or your peers will complain about your ranting until you are forced into joining the system, thus selling your soul (presuming, naturally, you are successful; if you aren't, well then that takes care of itself doesn't it?). With all potentially revolutionaries sucked into the very system they would revolt against, the system is guaranteed immortality, at least until an outside influence takes over.

Copyright 2009 by Keith Oxenrider