23 January 2012

Decrying partisan politics

“I think it would be a great tragedy . . . if we had our two major political parties divide on what we would call a conservative-liberal line...

I think one of the attributes of our political system has been that we have avoided generally violent swings in Administrations from one extreme to the other. And the reason we have avoided that is that in both parties there has been room for a broad spectrum of opinion.”

Therefore, “when your Administrations come to power, they will represent the whole people rather than just one segment of the people.” 
Timely words, uttered over fifty years ago by a famous American politician.  His identity is not as important as the sentiment, but if you need to know, it's in this New Yorker column.


  1. This from Nixon, the first Republican president to make the Southern Strategy work for his election.

    From Nixon's strategist, Kevin Phillips:

    "From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don't need any more than that... but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That's where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats"

    Cynically using racism to gain power was just fine for Nixon and his party.

    A two-party system by definition can never be representative of "the whole people". I envy democracies with parliamentarian systems where multiple parties must cooperate to form a ruling coalition. For all our arrogance and jingoistic pride, I think we have perhaps the most dysfunctional form of representation ever devised.

    1. Wouldn't it be nice if we could declare "no confidence" in congress and start anew?

  2. Let's just call them what they are, the "selfish party" and the "selfless party".


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