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October 06, 2008

Comments

Frank Glenn

I agree. What then? Do we (basically liberals or populists) follow the leadership of Kucinich et al. to the Left (perhaps not as far as Dennis) or do we reconstitute ourselves as "populists" on an issue-by-issue basis and try to pose as "problem-solvers" rather than "ideologues"?

toujoursdan

I also agree, but don't think the end of the two entrenched party system in the U.S. is a bad thing. Voter participation rates seem to indicate that neither party, nor the process itself, is engaging people like it used to. It's time for a shake up.

I also wouldn't be surprised is the Dems died first. They are not only inheriting the mess left behind, but will also be dealing with the challenges of "peak everything" which is going to make the current crisis look like a ripple in the pond.

DKSampson

But if Obama doesn't win, we'll be four years deeper in debt and malaise and it will be an even harder task than it is now... At that point, perhaps we'll be facing the end of a democracy, never mind the two party system. Whew! Can't believe I even phrased such a downer message...

Jody

Can I compare this election to that of 1932 while not comparing Obama to FDR, please? Because I'm struck by how many folks are saying, "these men who have fought tooth and nail for years to hold this high office must surely wish they could run away, now that the world is in such serious trouble." Did anyone say that of FDR in 1932? Or even of Hoover?

Why shouldn't two individuals who want to be the most powerful person in the world be confident/arrogant enough to think they have what it takes to steer the ship of state away from the shoals?

You know, I think Hillary Clinton would LOVE to be contemplating the Oval Office right now. I think she would be absolutely eager to get to work -- and I mean that as the highest form of praise.

I hope that Obama and McCain are not just ready, but anxious, to take office in these conditions. That's the only kind of president I want. (In fact, I'd go so far as to say we've had the other kind of president for eight long years now, and it's been more than enough.)

As for the party system, the last time we saw parties disappear, as opposed to reserve their positions, was in the 1850s, and it happened because a new party emerged to destroy the old one, and the new party needed slavery to do so. I don't think a financial crisis will be enough to spur that kind of seachange, not while the political system is structured to prevent third parties from emerging.

The Libertarians might be positioned to surpass the Republicans someday, if they can poach away enough Democrats to do it, but I don't know if they have a common-cause issue great enough to do it. Meanwhile, Abortion and gay rights have probably demonstrated that they're not big enough issues to allow the evangelical right to rise up into a third party, either. So I think the Republican party, as the spokeperson for "the Right" is probably safe for now.

I can't think of any issue large enough to overshadow and step-by-step destroy the Democratic Party.

If the Libertarians replace the Republicans, and they might be able to (historians would point to Perot someday as the forerunner), it would happen via some centrist movement that would, more or less, overtake both parties. But I doubt our system would support that -- the mechanisms for gaining elected power tend to push us in a two-party direction, and allow the ends of the spectrum to dominate the middle.

John Petty

I could see the "Wall Street wing" of each party get together because they have a common interest in money which surpasses all other ideological considerations.

As for those who speak for "Main Street," I have a hard time picturing "right wing populists" and "left wing populists" finding any kind of common cause.

Hypatia

Jody is right. People who want power want power, no matter which side they're on, and trouble is their kind of party, which is not to say they don't feel the stresses and strains.

I'm sure Bill Clinton, for example, felt as bad as anyone after September 11, but I also think part of him was gnashing his teeth, thinking of the opportunity before Bush and how his rival was botching it.

John Petty

The star player always wants the ball with the game on the line--or something like that.

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