The Two-Party System is Choking our Country

Posted: August 19th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | Comments Off on The Two-Party System is Choking our Country

Simpsons Two-Party System

The above cartoon, and the Simpsons episode is originates from, does a fantastic job of encapsulating why so many people are turned off by the election process; the Two-Party system guarantees you never really have a choice. What happens when you’re told to pick the lesser of two evils and you can’t really tell a difference between the two? What happens when you don’t see either as particularly “evil” so much as you find them both to be incredibly boring and you’re entirely disillusioned with the faux “choice” before you?

I typically steer clear of expressing my political view points because I know that mentioning at all can easily snowball, and I don’t want to be the guy that tries to push a view on you that I’m not 100% behind myself.

  • Tell you to be car-free/car-light? Sure
  • Talk about how great urbanism is and rail against the suburban “dream”? Absolutely
  • Try to shed a little light on some really cool art that some folks may still see as a crime? You bet.
  • Attempt to sway you to vote for a donkey or a packaderm?

  • What I do feel is a valid conversation topic for everyone is how dissatisfied we all should be with the current two-party system and our overall election process and how little choice we all really have in the scenario.

    I recall reading in Gladwell’s “Blink” about how Harry Truman was given the nomination by his party as part of a deal in one of the smoke-filled backrooms that we all know means somebody is up to no good. The story goes on that Truman wasn’t the best candidate, but he was the strongest, that is to say he was the one that looked the most like what people expect a President to look like, and in the end it seems they were right. Truman won, performed miserably as a President, and the machine rolled on.

    Of course, we tell ourselves that this doesn’t happen anymore, that we have media coverage of the primaries now, that technology has given us so much access that deals like this could never happen again. Indeed, every major news outlet is happy to cover the election cycle practically from the time the previous one ends. What they don’t do, however, is give us anything of substance that would inform the voter. For fear of being considered biased (here I’m excluding Fox News, clearly), we end up with news outlets that are basically the equivalent of TMZ for the white-collar crowd.

    I suppose my main issues with the present state of the Two-Party system can be broken down into a few areas

    The candidates don’t run on any platform/issues of their own.

    Major party candidates either echo the official party platform (at which point we should just admit we’re not voting for Obama or Romney, we’re voting for one mascot/logo over another), or they run on the genius angle of “Hey, I’m not THAT guy”, meaning the incumbent who they presume you’re disenfranchised with. Of the current batch, Paul Ryan is the only one that somewhat intrigues me because he’s the only guy who’s putting his name on a plan that’s more than one bullet point.

    The debates and interviews are always boring because nobody asks them any questions that require a real answer.

    Should a question prove tough to dodge, it doesn’t matter because the average voter either ignores the debates/interviews, or is already planning on voting based on religion/race/creed/party anyways, so it doesn’t really matter. Let’s be honest, we elected a President who didn’t know who several key foreign leaders were, and then followed that up by electing a guy who said in a debate that he would have to be in-office before he could decide how to handle certain rogue states. Man was I wrong when I thought President was the type of job you were qualified for before you interviewed for the position, not something you just showed up to and hoped to learn along the way. Clearly job qualifications are only for us plebs.

    Putting the fate of the free world in the hands of the Iowa Caucuses was an awful idead.

    Admittedly, my state is known more for tumbleweeds and Ansel Adams photos than it is for progressive political thought, but to watch every election cycle launch with the desires of a bunch of corn-monoculture farmers drives me banana sandwich. Everyone wants to vote for a winner, so we watch the candidates who win early primaries soar and see those who don’t play well a few fly-over states fall to the way-side. I say start with Super Tuesday, do them all on the same day, or figure something out that keeps the guys who decided to grow a crop laced with bio-engineered Round-Up from having this much sway in the decision making for our country.

    The growth of the religious party versus the intellectual party. As well as the expectations that ethnic groups have to belong to a given party.

    Sensationalism sells, and it gets votes. I get that. So what are we supposed to do when we don’t fit the mold of each party? Not “christian”, not anglo-saxon, not suburban? Don’t bother applying? When you’ve veered into inclusion based on the people you all likewise want to exclude, you’re supposed to expect that such thought patterns contribute directly to your own demise, right? The idea that should you agree on economic ideas means you’re also expected to agree on moral/social ideas is downright idiotic. Only “good christians” like to spend wisely and decrease entitlements while only non-secular voters are willing to suppose social programs and expansive government? I’d struggle to see anyone saying that outloud with any seriousness, but that’s the black-and-white we’re told to believe so that everyone can fit easily into one of two segments within the two-party system.

    Everyone can quote numbers, but nobody can quote solutions.

    So how about we try this on for size? I want to vote for someone who wants to tax responsibly and spend responsibly; whether that means raising taxes, cutting taxes, or flat-out rebooting the tax system, just get it right and prove it works so that this stops being an issue where intentionally vague rhetoric can continue to baffle those with less time/attention to the details. I want to see welfare reform hand-in-hand with overall spending reform and balanced-budget enforcement. I dislike how much I pay in taxes right now, but even more than that I loathe the idea that I’m paying this much and we’re still having to borrow from China and we’ve still got malnourished children and under-appreciated soldiers coming home from war without the resources we know they need.

    …but who’s the candidate that wants to accomplish this?

    Until that guy shows up I guess I’m stuck voting for either a party who hates “rich” people or a party who hates non-Protestants. Thanks for making me feel welcome, guys.

    P.S.: Anyone miss when I used to blog about zombies, memes & wolverine? I realized today I’m officially old when I’m writing about politics and I’m not “staging a rally in the quad” to go along with it.

    Jon Stewart > Glenn Beck

    Posted: January 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Jon Stewart > Glenn Beck

    When someone does a better “you” than you do, it’s time to pack it in.

    That’s exactly what Jon Stewart (yup, the Big Daddy dude) does to red-state minstrel Glenn Beck right here.

    I dedicate this one to my good, confused frenemy @Bruherd.

    Link, in case the video won’t work

    The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
    The 11/3 Project
    Daily Show
    Full Episodes
    Political Humor Health Care Crisis

    I imagine the same idea applies to the "public option"

    Posted: September 22nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: | Comments Off on I imagine the same idea applies to the "public option"

    Promises and Realities

    Posted: August 29th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: | Comments Off on Promises and Realities

    Let me preface by saying that back in 2000 I would have classified myself as a “McCain Republican”. Nowaday, however, I am feeling less loyal to Senator Johnny Mac, as his ideas are taking a back-burner to the party platform. I think my devotion hinges on who he selects for a running mate, as someone like Colin Powell (my personal preference) or Rudy Guilianni would show a more international slant, and a stark opposition to the policies of the Neo-Cons. Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee, however, would seem like Dick Cheany: The Sequel; and don’t even get me started on the idea of Joe Liebermann.

    That said, I am far from entertained by the bait-and-switch that is the Obama-theory. Yes, Obama is well spoken, but that’s far from being a measuring stick by which to see if someone should be President. My thoughts are that electing Obama would result in the Democrat version of W. Bush. A young candidate with no experience who’d be in over his head and end up a puppet-President to the powers behind him. In the meantime, we’ll get promises like those in the article below (taken from the Assosciated Press via Yahoo)

    WASHINGTON – Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination Thursday night
    with a lofty vision for the nation’s future that is far easier to articulate
    than to accomplish.

    The next occupant of the White House will inherit a half-trillion-dollar budget
    deficit that will severely crimp any plans for spending on new programs, as well
    as the messy endgame of the war in Iraq and growing energy and health-care
    challenges. A look at Obama’s promises and the realities he would

    The promise: Obama has pledged to attack the weak economy with another stimulus plan to follow the $168 billion package of tax rebates for individuals and tax breaks for businesses that
    Congress passed last February. Obama’s stimulus would include tax rebates, aid to state and local governments and increased spending for infrastructure projects. He would also increase spending in other areas such as alternative energy programs. Obama promised to “go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less.”

    The problem: Obama’s spending plans and middle-class tax relief will collide with the hard reality of exploding budget deficits. The Congressional Budget Office projects this year’s deficit will hit $400 billion, driven higher by the weak economy and the stimulus program Congress has already passed. And the Bush administration is forecasting that next year’s imbalance
    will hit an all-time high of $482 billion.

    The promise: A short-term rebate of $1,000 per couple to help with rising energy costs; release of up to 70 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and investment of $15 billion a year over the next decade to encourage renewable energy, clean-coal technology and
    electric cars. “In 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East,” Obama said.

    The problem: The next president will take the oath of office in January and confront an immediate crisis: The cost of heating homes is likely to be at record levels. Obama’s promised rebate relies on enactment of a windfall profits tax on big oil companies, which could take months and is by no means sure to get through Congress. The last time the nation had such a tax, from 1980 to 1988, U.S. reliance on foreign oil went up. His longer-term solution, encouraging alternative energy by creating a $150 billion clean energy fund, relies for financing on a program of selling pollution allowances to combat global warming that is even more uncertain.

    The promise: Obama says he would engage both allies and adversaries to repair the U.S. image
    abroad and regain leverage and leadership that he says Bush squandered. He says he will marshal international pressure against Iran, boost U.S. efforts against extremists along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and get a faster and firmer start on Middle East peacemaking. He vowed to “renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression.”

    The problem: The United States has already reversed many policies other nations saw as isolationist or bullying — for example, by joining international diplomatic efforts with “axis of evil” nations Iran and North Korea. Obama would continue those efforts and others without any greater guarantee of success. Any U.S. administration wanting to step up activity in Pakistan will face strong resistance from Pakistani authorities and probably pay the price for violating its sovereignty by seeing cooperation cut back.

    The promise: Pull all U.S. combat forces out of Iraq within 16 months, send more combat troops to Afghanistan and provide better care for wounded troops and veterans. “John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war,” Obama said. “That’s not the judgment we need.”

    The problem: A troop pullout is feasible and conforms roughly to a withdrawal timetable advocated by the Iraqi government. But a 16-month timetable risks shifting responsibility to Iraq’s security forces before they are ready, and it gives the insurgents an explicit target date for waiting out the Americans. Until forces are pulled from Iraq, there are none to bolster the force in Afghanistan. Balancing needs in those two countries will be an immediate challenge for the next president. There is a broad consensus on the need for more troops to combat an emboldened insurgency in Afghanistan and to train government troops there, but the trick is to accomplish that without giving up gains against the insurgency in Iraq and without robbing combat-weary soldiers and Marines of the rest periods they need. Caring for veterans and the wounded entails enormous costs, and the scope of the health care requirements for returning troops is not yet fully known.

    The promise: An $18 billion plan that would encourage, but not mandate, universal pre-kindergarten; teacher pay raises tied to, although not based solely on, test scores; an overhaul of President Bush’s No Child Left Behind law to better measure student progress, make room for noncore subjects like music and art and be less punitive toward failing schools, and a tax credit to pay up to $4,000 of college costs for students who perform 100 hours of community service a year. “Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy,” Obama said.

    The problem: With the budget stretched thin, a huge infusion of cash for early childhood education or college costs seems unlikely. Federal spending on education has already been rising for more than a decade. Congress and the White House will be in no hurry to tackle No Child Left
    Behind, which was due for a rewrite in 2007; the economy, the war and health care are stickier and more pressing concerns.