Friday, July 07, 2006
Yesterday evening on Special Report with Brit Hume Charles Krauthammer made an interesting point. He said that both parties seemed to be trying to create an ideological purity. This not only included the banishment of Joe Lieberman among the Democrats but the virtual disappearance of the old fashioned northeastern Republican from national politics.

Remember Thomas Dewey, the man who almost beat Harry Truman? Could someone like that get the GOP nomination today? Could Jack Kennedy get the Democratic nomination? What would the reaction be to his bear any burden speech?

So where does this leave Giuliani and Bayh? Where does that leave all those Americans who do not fit into either base? Because it seems to me that a time when both parties need to be bringing people in they are in fact driving people away. They are becoming more partisan at a time when more and more people are showing signs of Independence.

I thought this might be a phase,a temporary state of affairs, and yet when I see the Mexican election looking and sounding so much like the 2000 election up here I wonder if there is a larger shift toward polarizing politics. Is what we see here in the US a part of something being played out in other parts of the world as well?

And what part does media play in all that? How much of the division we see is real and profound and how much is the corrosive effect of the MSM imitating Eddie Haskell?

You look lovely today Mrs. Cleaver. And how is the little fellow? Did he recover from his adventure? Oh didn't he mention his trouble? Well it is not my place to carry tales Mrs. Cleaver.


Syl said...

I do think the whole world is becoming more polarized. It's just that there are still lots of different poles around.

If the number of poles should ever reduce to a mere two, then we're all in trouble.

Global communications with more and more and more people plugged in to the 24-hour news cycle leaves few left to hang on to neutrality of any kind.

Always something to discuss. Always something to argue over. Always something to take a stand on. And there are now billions who do.

Skookumchuk said...


So where does this leave Giuliani and Bayh?

Don’t know about Bayh since I’m not a Dem, but Giuliani I would say - fairly well. My wife said the other day that a problem for her was that “they all hate each other so much”. I think many Americans are very put off by the pettiness and incivility, even though these are not unusual or even especially harsh in comparison to what we have seen in the 19th Century, say. But what matters is the effect on the electorate, which may be considerable. And that has to change. So whoever is able to best wriggle out of the ideological chains of the rabid base will have a tactical advantage. I see the Reps being much more able to do this than the Dems. The Dems are in thrall.

and yet when I see the Mexican election looking and sounding so much like the 2000 election up here I wonder if there is a larger shift toward polarizing politics. Is what we see here in the US a part of something being played out in other parts of the world as well?

The bickering and refusal to concede is pretty much par for the course in Latin America, I’m afraid. This is nothing new. But - as a result, the anti-fraud measures developed in Mexico as a result of such popular dissatisfaction is quite impressive. There is an independent electoral agency that monitors election processes and results, the IFE.

Oh, and the IFE requires that every voter have a voter ID, kind of like a driver’s license with a picture, but also a fingerprint and a very tough to counterfeit hologram, which must be shown at the polling station. Wonder why we can’t do that here? Because it will somehow drive people away from the voting booth? Like poor people? Or Illiterates? Not in Mexico, it doesn’t.

The Mexican election was a contest between the traditional statist solution to economic and cultural problems and a less statist approach. Between a real socialist and a watered down socialist. And so far, the old-line socialism seems to be losing.

David Thomson said...

“I see the Reps being much more able to do this than the Dems.”

So do I. The venom is much more intense on the Democratic Party side. There is simply no comparison. Their hate is palpable and unforgiving.

Charles Krauthammer is only half right. I concede that liberal Republicans are feeling the heat. But that’s the same thing as their allegedly being victims of right wing rage.

Skookumchuk said...

That is:


MeaninglessHotAir said...

If political affiliations were based on rational thought rather than tribal identity, then JFK would clearly be a Republican today. Fortunately for the Democrats, all Irish and Jews have to be Democrats, just because. Now if they can just get all Hispanics on board as well they'll be able to rule for another century.

terrye said...

I think the meanness turns people off and i also think that most Americans are not estremists, it is not in our natures.

Rick Ballard said...


That's one of the real downsides of the anonymity of the internet. I understand why some people can't post under thier own names but overall anonymity has a negative value. Things are written by people who would not dare to say the same thing in company.

The corrosive quality that you identify really heated up during the Gingrich/Clinton battles (IMO). It hasn't improved since then. I don't believe that the Pelosi/Reid/Dean triumvirate is much meaner than Newt was - they're just a whole bunch dumber, which makes them look very petty rather than principled.

I won't lay this at the feet of the MSM - it belongs to the internet and to pols who believe that "firing up the base" is a 24 hour a day job. The Reps were beaten in '98 from too much heat and the Dems will be this year - they don't have any idea as to how to get the nutroots to sit down and shut up. The strident nativists aren't much help for the Reps but they don't do much harm either. I rate them as a null factor which could turn to a plus if an enforcement first and foremost bill makes it through.

terrye said...


I am not willing to let the media off the hook, just because they are sluts. They use everything.

But I do know what you mean. There are a lot of mean crazy people on the internet and there have been times when I have gotten into it with someone and it has occured to me that not only am I expending too much time and energy on that person...I really don't know who they are or what they might be capable of.

Luther McLeod said...

"Remember Thomas Dewey, the man who almost beat Harry Truman? Could someone like that get the GOP nomination today? Could Jack Kennedy get the Democratic nomination? What would the reaction be to his bear any burden speech?"

Interesting questions. First off, with one or two exceptions, I don't see anyone around who could meet the criteria of these men. Secondly, to directly answer the question, I see independent third party for the above, except perhaps for Dewey. Who would have been no plum, if I remember correctly.

But it is impossible, to me at least, that the "old" dynamics will ever again exist for these types of "individuals" to be on the national stage. The world has changed, this country has changed, even excepting the stridency. The old values that they spoke to and about are no longer extant for slightly less than half of our voters.

Those "old" values, forgive me, have too be repackaged, have to be made relevant to our changed society. Yes, they are around, but to be spoken of only in 'certain' company anymore.

And yes, the MSM, academia and the seemingly omnipresent marxist, gramiscian and otherwise socialist b******s whose influence is out of all proportion to their numbers are mostly too blame for this.

I also agree with Rick on the downside of anonymity. But I would say that it is considerably more influential in the MSM than it is in blogs. My reasoning is, the MSM, regardless of the importance we would like too place on blogs, is just much more pervasive as to their influence in the general populace. And even though we have a name under a byline, what does that really do or mean? Unless we know something about that individual, they may as well be anonymous. They are too me.

I'll shut-up now.

p.s. Yes, I know MHA, I'm supposed to be doing something about this.

Luther McLeod said...

I just decided, I do not care about the particular "story."

I want background. Reporter (with internet bio), source (of information, names, names names,) then the story.

If exposure is good for government, is is certainly no less good for the press.

loner said...

What looks like polarization is good polling research transformed into safe seats and nauseatingly undramatic campaigns and candidates. Ordinary effing voters, I hate 'em.

I'm reminded that it's only been 18 years since William F. Buckley, on Firing Line, responded to God-knows-who, who was trying to convince him that it was better to vote for Lowell Weicker (three-term Republican Senate incumbent from Connecticut) than for Joe Lieberman (Democratic Senate challenger from Connecticut), with something like: You don't understand. I hate Lowell Weicker.

And now three-term Democratic Senate incumbent Joe Lieberman is doing what he can to keep from having happen to him what happened to Lowell Weicker in 1988. He's trying not to lose a contested, free election. In Weicker's case, he got himself elected Governor of Connecticut two years later. I think it's safe to assume that William F. Buckley didn't vote for him then either.

Today, Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. is, as he has been since 1999, a member of the Board of Directors of WWE.

...and so it goes.

loner said...

I might add that the chattering classes (Congratulation, you're included!) are primarily "horse race" enthusiasts these days even when there's no horse race. Really. The rest of the voting classes (the many) don't much care what happens before or after an election so long as they're not overly inconvenienced.

Rick Ballard said...

You've got that right. The pros have got it mapped to the point where nobody loses - and nothing gets done, for the most part. There is nothing wrong with that, given the capabilities of those holding office.

terrye said...


You are right, I am one of the chattering classes. How awful.

And no luther, Thomas Dewey was not my pick, I like Truamn in spite of the bad rap he has gotten. I was referring more to the idea of the established north eastern Republican who is known for problem solving rather than ideology.