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Voters Hesitate Between Evils Tried and True

Many Republicans greeted the 2010 election results with glee, but there was a sting in the tail.  From November 2008 for the next two years, Democrats ran the whole Washington show, and Speaker Pelosi et. al. were in the country’s face every day, reminding everyone in American just why the Democrats are so awful.

Then came 2010, and ever since the Republicans have been back on stage, sharing the limelight with the Dems, and offering the country a refresher course on why it hates the GOP.  Somehow, appeals to spare the rich from taxation while cutting popular social programs don’t have as much populist appeal as so many Republicans hope.  The Republican presidential campaign so far has further weakened the political appeal of the party; the serial self-destruction of conservative front runners is turning the electorate off on the whole party.

Charles Krauthammer reads the situation pretty clearly in a smart Washington Post column.  Last week’s election results, he wrote, “showed that the powerful Republican tailwind of 2010… is now becalmed. Between now and November 2012, things can break either way.”  He continues:

This is no disoriented, easily led citizenry. On the contrary. It is thoughtful and discriminating. For Republicans, this means there is no coasting to victory, 9 percent unemployment or not.

For Democrats also it means the coming campaign will demand something better than the usual schlock.  The electorate by and large thinks the two parties have failed before and will fail again given the chance.  The first party to develop a genuinely fresh and hopeful approach based on what voters find to be a deep and correct analysis of where we are will reap great rewards.

Until then, voters will pick indifferently at the unpalatable dishes on offer — and unless something dramatic happens in the upcoming campaign, they seem unlikely to trust either party with undisputed control of Washington, DC.

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  • Silverfiddle

    Both sides are more worried abut jockying for political position than solving problems.

    The Great Compromise is to simplify the tax code: Take out all the loopholes and exemptions in exchange for lower rates.

    I’ve seen many analyses that show this would reap more revenue for the government, which makes sense because tax avoidance is not cheap, and it funnels money to unproductive streams.

    If the code is straightforward, and it is marginally cheaper to pay the tax, the rich will simply pay it.

    But reportedly, the

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    I disagree that the “eat the rich” position of the Democrats is gaining any traction, or that the Democrats are escaping the blame for cuts in social spending. The whole Occupy Wall Street mess is a PR disaster for the Democrats with all the crime, drug use, filth, vandalism, and overall stench a complete night and day contrast to the lawful and cleanly TEA Party rallies that left their sites cleaner than they were when they got there.
    Nor do I agree with your opinion of the GOP Primary horse race as a negative, this is how a President should be vetted, unlike the way Obama was given a complete pass on associations, college transcripts and papers, and public statements. The eventual Republican nominee with be much stronger because of the competition, and the GOP will have had a chance to pick the policies, principles, and direction they truly want.
    I also don’t see the one loss in Ohio to big labor, as a Win for the Blue Model. It is rather a defensive hold in the red zone, as the labor gangs are on the defensive, and all they won was the status quo and to keep things as they are until the next throw down. The real fundamental change from Tuesday’s elections was the Republican’s collecting of complete control of 2 more states bringing their total to 27 vs. 15 for the Democrats with 7 split and 1 nonpartisan, and Ohio’s vote against Obamacare.

  • Paul Brinkley

    silverfiddle says “Both sides are more worried abut jockying for political position than solving problems.”

    I claim that this illustrates a general problem, as opposed to a temporary blight of worthy candidates. Generally, the problems of our nation have grown in complexity and ambiguity (no clear right solution) to the point that the problem of *looking* like a good elected official appears vastly more tractable.

    Furthermore, I hold that this fact is itself hard for people to recognize, since most people are too busy with living their lives to worry about what’s going on one state over or in the nation in general. So long as that is the case, politics will look like one passel of tepid campaigns after another, where the biggest interest lies in who can uncover the most exciting scandal about a rival. It has become a sports event.

    Beneath that, I believe there is a trend toward resolution. Even now, American prosperity is growing (it is merely reorganizing itself for the moment). As prosperity grows, so grows the luxury time to lift one’s head above the grind and observe what is beyond one’s political bubble of comfort. Only then will there accrete a strong enough consensus of what America wants in the way of a leader.

  • Kenny

    Jacksonian Libertarian says: “I also don’t see the one loss in Ohio to big labor, as a Win for the Blue Model. It is rather a defensive hold in the red zone, as the labor gangs are on the defensive, and all they won was the status quo and to keep things as they are until the next throw down.’

    Exactly right.

    And in winning, Big Labor lost because now to towns, cities, and school districts all across Ohio will have to lay off government employees to balance their budgets.

  • Corlyss

    At the root of this loss of confidence Republicans are now experiencing is 1) lack of policy coherence, 2) too many Congressional voices babbling their own version of some policy, 3) MSM hostility to Republicans, and 4) lack of policy coherence. Congress can’t run the country. It don’t speak with one voice (see above). POTUS gets the spotlight and loving attention whenever he so much a burps. John Boehner is the closest thing to a governing counterpart to POTUS and he ain’t exactly prepossessing. Republicans have needed someone to take them in tow who knows how to craft a message to the electorate. No more than 10 seconds long; 3 major points of what you stand for; no ad-libbing. Did I mention that they lack policy coherence? It isn’t really that they don’t have one. Paul Ryan has it. They’re all doin’ riffs on it. Get it out there!!!!

  • Silverfiddle

    I agree, Paul.

    I contend that “government doesn’t work,” because it was never designed to work in the manner progressives wish.

    Every intractable problem does not need to be “solved” by Washington. Indeed the federal government has shown itself more adept at creating problems than solving them.

    We are a diverse nation, so one-size-fits-all solutions and programs just won’t work. Let’s give those quaint antiques known as the enumerated powers and the 9th and 10 Amendments to the US Constitution and try.

  • Anthony

    “There can be no doubt that something has gone terribly wrong with our two parties. There is widespread frustration with the course of events in America. Americans are on edge: wary, pessimistic, and cynical.”

    “The two main political parties are not showing a way out of the crisis. Even when the fights between them are vicious – on taxes, spending, war and peace, and other issues – they actually hew to a fairly narrow range of policies, and not ones that are solving America’s problems. We are paralyzed, but not mainly by disagreements between the two parties, as is commonly supposed. We are paralyzed, rather, by a shared lack of serious attention to our future. We increasingly drift between elections without serious resolution of a long list of deep problems…” (Jeffrey D. Sachs).

    The aforementioned provides background to “Voters Hesitate Between Tried and True” as well as insight into pervasive cynicism about the nature and role of government – for longer exposition see “The Price of Civilization.”

  • Kris

    “The first party to develop a genuinely fresh and hopeful approach … will reap great rewards.”

    I offer the following slogan for Obama: “Hope and Change!”

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