Bunker Mulligan "Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." ~Mark Twain

May 9, 2005

Party Crashing

Filed under: Politics — Bunker @ 5:05 pm

Pardon me while I ramble on just a bit.

I heard part of Sean Hannity’s program on the way home today. He was talking to some Democratic Party political advisor whose name I didn’t catch. The Democrat was saying that his Party needs to change, and Hannity was emphatic that he wants to Democrats to continue in the same way so they continue losing. That was all I really heard before going to a different station.

I have issues with both.

We must, absolutely, end this association by political party. I want the Democrats to be strong. I want Republicans to be strong. I am neither.

My parents grew up at a time when everyone was told to “Vote Party.” The straight ticket made every voter’s job easy. If your parents were Democrats, so were you, and so were your children. Same with Republicans.

I would love to see parties disappear. They are the root of all that is evil in politics. The Founding Fathers warned against them, and quickly formed them with the first Presidential race to replace George Washington. They understood the dangers, yet still fell victim.

The two major parties can no longer be clearly defined as separate. Yes, there are some philosophical differences, but incumbents act as incumbents. Period. They are for protecting their own seat, and will waiver in philosophy as much as they must to keep it. They will follow their conscience only as far as they feel they can and still get reelected.

And why should they be any different than the rest of us? We write letters and make phone calls and provide financial support to those whom we believe will represent our own very personal interests. Few large campaign donations are made with the thought that some candidate will do what is right, rather they will do what we want. Of course, we think we’re right.

I want candidates to actually be sincere. Perhaps that’s too much to ask. Each party has a “Whip” in the House and Senate whose job is to keep the party members in line. Both parties do things in Congress measured to get more seats for their party. Anyone elected to Congress for the first time probably has every intention of being the next Mr. Smith. The reality hits them quickly. Party trumps all.

I support Kinky Friedman’s candidacy for Governor of Texas not out of a desire to see him replace Rick Perry, but to see him actually on the ballot shaking up the political establishment. Will he be a good Governor? I don’t know. He couldn’t screw up the political system more than it is already. And he would provide some fresh ideas that politicians would actually have to listen to. I supported Ross Perot for the same reason. I like independents. Just getting on the ballot is a bigger challenge than most incumbents face in a full election.

I advocate eliminating party affiliation on the ballot. If you want to vote, you should at least take enough interest in the election to know which candidates belong to which party. Besides, you should be voting for someone rather than something. After all, with all the campaign talk about personal attributes of the candidates, isn’t that what they’re selling?

I am sick of “conservative” and “liberal” as if one person actually fit either of those completely. And the idea that if someone is conservative they must be a Republican and all liberals must be Democrats is un-American. The two parties want everyone in the party to fit their particular mold. We don’t. I reserve the term “leftist” for those who follow the tenets of Marx, and who view us all as a collective. Few liberals actually fit. The same goes for “far right”, and some seem to think these are the only two groups in this country.

We are far more diverse than that. Even those at the extremes don’t agree with everything their particular “group” believes. I’m libertarian–which means I share some things in common with both groups. Moreso with Republicans than Democrats, but no slave of either. Neither has a monopoly on ideas. Nor does the Libertarian Party.

I continue to believe we are all individuals. We cannot be shoe-horned into any particular group. But humans are social animals, and feel comfortable as part of a herd. Most of us are happy to be associated with one group or another–until that association becomes uncomfortable in a specific instance. Then, we all decide we’re really “independent.”

Why not make that formal? Why not ignore party affiliation? How about getting some politicians to actually be independent?

Too tough. Party affiliation is where the money is.

And that is why Hannity and the other operative were focused on Party, and making sure their party continued to pick up seats. All that matters is that the Party be in control. That can be seen from comments by Democrats in the Senate talking about “checks and balances”. The concept was meant to deal with the three branches of government, not the two parties of politics. And both parties do all they can to keep independents off the ballot.

As an individual, I don’t want any organization making decisions for me. I want representatives to promote the interests of the people they are supposed to represent. Not just the Republicans or Democrats in their districts, or the Republicans or Democrats in other states–everyone in their district.

That’s what the Founders had in mind.


  1. It was Carville, and Carville was in rare form, wasn’t he? His defense of Dem S-stainery was unbelievable.

    Laptop is back in service, life looks good.

    Comment by Paulie at The Commons — May 9, 2005 @ 7:38 pm

  2. I have to be honest. There were times when I would have agreed with Hannity, but the truth is that the Dems have become so much like what Hannity wants, that Republicans don’t think they need to be Republicans. They have had a chance to put the changes into place that they attacked the Democrats for when the Dems were in power, and they have decided instead to feed at the public trough as bad as, if not worse than the Democrats used to.

    Maybe we ought to have two parties with different names: The Incumbents and the Outcumbents.


    Comment by Bob James — May 9, 2005 @ 9:29 pm

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