Will the Real GOP Please Stand Up?

In response to a comment on his recent post, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?”, written after the latest Democratic debate, Kyle wrote:

You know this is a very new tack for me, and it requires a certain understanding. In the past I’ve often not been a large fan [of] principled leadership in the sense that Bush embodies it, in other words, I’m something of a populist, I believe there should be some kind of waffling as dynamics don’t stay static, and I’m a fan of compromise. But the deciding factor here is that this kind of governance only works if all the parties involved are willing to engage on equal footing.

I asked if he didn’t then find Obama’s focus on bi-partisanship disturbing. He replied:

Actually, Mick, I don’t.

There is, I admit, a discrepency [sic] between what I feel now, and what I feel all the time, and this under the understanding that much of the problems stem from the fact that the Chief Executive is totally against bi-partisanship which largely creates the dynamic that bi-partisansip won’t work.

The fact is, I have endorsed Obama from the beginning because his philosophy is largely in line with how I think government should work, and the only way to get to that place is to put someone in the Executive who embodies that. But…you do fit perfectly into the piece I wrote entitled, “Why Obama Won’t Win“, that being that the left has been turned so anti bi-partisan that the philosophy that Obama offers won’t sit well with many of the more entrenched liberals/progressives.

A lack of bi-partisanship is what is called for now among Democrats because without that, they will be trod upon by the Republicans. But it is also my feeling that with the right President, one who will halt Republican chicanery when is necessary, but won’t push them from the table completely, then I think we can get back to the kind of decision making and legislating that will be most beneficial to the country.

(emphasis added)

What we have here perfectly illustrates the left-wing divide between those of us who think the GOP has become so extremist, so ideological, and so rigid that negotiating with it is bound to be an empty exercise in Kabuki, and those who, like Kyle, believe that the GOP’s extremism is skin-deep and that “the right President” could turn things around.

I would like to believe him. I really would. Hell, if you can negotiate with fanatical terrorists and dictators, why can’t you negotiate with Republicans? Kyle believes that with a stonewaller in the White House, the Republican minority feels no pressure to compromise, so it doesn’t. Presumably Bush, backed by a Congressional minority that votes in lockstep with anything he proposes, feels the same lack of pressure. Thus the gridlock.

He’s got a point but it’s a risky belief to hang your country on. The ideologues aren’t locked into this dance because of their political positioning. They’re locked into it by their ideology. The Republican party has purged virtually all of its moderates and is now filled to overflowing with extremist neocons and devoted theocrats, people like Tancredo and Jim DeMint and Mitch McConnell and Tom Coburn and and and – the list is a long one. Admittedly we have recently been freed from the tentacles of a lot of the worst offenders – Sensenbrenner is gone, so are Hastert, Santoro, and Barr, among others. Just this past week, no less than a half dozen GOP incumbents announced their decisions not to seek re-election. Republicans are fleeing Bush’s unpopularity like squirrels fleeing a forest fire.

But as of even date, control of the party remains in the hands of TB’s and corporate-controlled free-market fanatics. It’s unlikely that moderates who might want to replace the extremists who are leaving will get any traction, either from the party hierarchy of from the increasingly far-right Republican base. All you have to do to understand this is look at the way the GOP candidates are positioning themselves for the presidential primary season. They’re trying to outdo one another in appealing to the most ultraconservative voters. In one debate, they spent a sizable chunk of their time one-upping each other over who would be the most ardent defender of Gitmo and torture (Romney won that exchange by saying he’d “double the size of Guantanamo”; he didn’t say exactly who all these people were that he was expecting to imprison without legal counsel or trials or even evidence, but the Muslim community has a pretty good idea by now who he was thinking of).

For gawd’s sake, Rudy Giuliani, the Little Dictator, is leading in the polls. This is no longer a party that would countenance the likes of Bob Michel or Henry Hyde (before the Clinton impeachment) or Ed Brooke. It barely tolerates Olympia Snowe, primarily because she represents no threat to them. Movement conservatives have utterly changed its character, and MC’s don’t believe in compromise or bi-partisanship. This is a quote I stole from a recent Glenn Greenwald post. It’s from a 1964 Harper’s essay by historian Richard Hofstadter called “The Paranoid Style in American Politics”.

The paranoid spokesman sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms — he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization. He constantly lives at a turning point. Like religious millenialists [sic] he expresses the anxiety of those who are living through the last days and he is sometimes disposed to set a date for the apocalypse. (“Time is running out,” said [John Birch Society founder Robert] Welch in 1951. “Evidence is piling up on many sides and from many sources that October 1952 is the fatal month when Stalin will attack”). . . .

He does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician. Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish.

Remind you of anyone? Greenwald was talking about Giuliani, but the mindset Hofstadter is describing here fits the new MCGOP just as well. Kyle has written very convincingly of the GOP’s reliance on fear as a selling point. Maybe he thinks it’s just that: a message tool – propaganda – rather than a genuine belief, and that the Pubs will begin compromising when it’s clear to them that “my way or the highway” is no longer of any practical value. If so, then I think he’s mistaken.

I’ve been watching this grow since the mid-60’s when it appeared in its most toxic form as a response to the chaos of social change. It took 30 years of concentrated effort and $$hundreds of millions$$ to build movement conservatism into a dominant political culture. They aren’t simply going to abandon it after all that, and the notion that they will be willing to compromise even when they have no choice strikes me – and a growing number of other progressives – as wishful thinking. When TB’s are challenged, when their backs are against the wall, they don’t compromise. They dig in even deeper, become even more immovable.

Those of us who expect that response sometimes despair when we realize how much of the left, from our POV, is still in denial and acting like the MCGOP is just another political party that will react with practicality to changed circumstances. It isn’t and it won’t.

I’ll give the last word on this to a commenter at a blog called Across the Great Divide. It’s Charlie Quimby’s place, and its tagline is “How can people disagree and still build a decent world?” Quimby is devoted to building bridges and bi-partisanship. In Friday’s entry about education, he wrote:

Liberals and conservatives both want better results from our school system, but we get stuck on the issue of funding. Liberals think conservatives are tightwads who only care about their own kids. And conservatives think liberals are mushy thinkers who’ll throw money at anything labeled education.

If we can identify what really works to improve educational outcomes, we may be closer to agreement on investing more money in our schools.

Commenter Rodney replied:

Sorry. The total thrust of the conservative is to privatize every government function.
They are ruthless. Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluded.

He’s right. The simple truth is that we’ve known perfectly well for decades “what really works to improve educational outcomes”: smaller classrooms and optimum resources. I addressed this issue here just this past September in “The Myth of Standardized Testing”.

Look, the real challenge facing American education is the way we pay for it and our traditional frugality toward tax-paid public schools. In a nutshell, studies in this country done over the last 50 years and real-life experience in Europe for a century have proven conclusively that there are two fundamental elements common to a successful learning environment: small class size and adequate resources (up-to-date, well-written and researched books, enough modern equipment to ensure each student equal access, and so on). Take either of those away, and the education experience suffers severely. It doesn’t matter then how well-trained the teachers are, how committed the parents are, or how well organized the administration is.

In all but the richest school districts, at least one of those 2 key elements is NOT present. In many middle class and virtually all poor communities, they’re both missing, and we consistently refuse to recognize the actual problem.

Liberals would, indeed, like to throw money at the educational system because money works. Money is required. Robert Coles pointed out 40 years ago that the same rich folk who fight public education budgets tooth-and-nail know this perfectly well, willing as they are to pay tuitions at private schools in excess of 20 times the per-pupil ratio in public schools.

This is only one example of the hypocrisy in the MCGOP’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge reality. We know what needs to happen but we can’t do it because, as Rodney said, the MCGOP is focused on privatizing education to promote corporate profit and religious proselytizing. The same holds true of virtually every other govt function except the military and police. Even fire departments are short-changed, as we saw Giuliani do in NYC after 9/11 – the reason firefighters are so angry with him. And I saw one poll a few years ago in which more than a quarter of Republicans (27% if my memory is right) believed that all three – military, police and fire depts – should be taken totally private.

But even if we take the best-case scenario and assume that a) moderate Pubs replace the MC defections and resignations or that Democrats win all those seats, b) the pendulum is moving back toward the center and the privatization mania slowly dying off, and c) the MCGOP will, in fact, compromise when circumstances and loss of power force it to. Even then, we still have to deal with a Democratic party controlled and operated by the right-wing, corporate-friendly, imperialism-supporting, and civil-liberty-renouncing DLC/BD Alliance.

(to be cont’d)

12 Responses to “Will the Real GOP Please Stand Up?”

  1. John Xavier says:

    If you want some insight into the Republican race, check out my recent piece, January Madness. It looks at the Rudy vs. Mitt and Huck vs. Fred dichotomy of the Republican race.

    JX

  2. I love the bracketology John!

  3. Thanks for the link. I hope your readers will dig deeper into my post and related links than just the comment you quoted. I am conflicted about how to enact progressive reforms. I agree with the commenter about the ruthless right, but beating them back doesn’t guarantee we actually improve schools.

    You cite smaller class sizes and “optimum resources.” Smaller class sizes do indeed help, but they are among the least effectie places where we can invest to get better educational results. People on trust funds have optimum resources, but how many of them still make a mess of their lives? It’s not simply about resources, but how and where the money is directed. I am in favor of more funding for schools, but politically, you need to be able to demonstrate the money will be well-spent.

  4. Mark says:

    Mick:
    I know I sound like a broken record, but what Bush has stood for has been anything BUT free markets. Moreover, Bush and the modern Republican party do not want to privatize all government functions- in fact, they want to expand it, which is precisely what they’ve done with NCLB (where the primary feature was to add a level of bureacracy for purposes of evaluating schools based on idiotic standardized testing). By comparison, look at the current debate in my home state of NJ, where it is the Democrats who (correctly, in my view) want to sell off the NJ Turnpike to the private sector, while the Republicans are fighting them tooth and nail.

    No, Bush has led this country on an unprecedented EXPANSION of government- this is why freedoms are fewer in this country than they were 7 years ago. If he had shrunk government, then by definition, freedom would have expanded.

    Libertarians and true believers in free markets have been complaining about Bush’s complete and utter disrespect for free markets from day one or at least close to it. Just one recent example of anger about Bush’s tendency to say one thing about free markets and do the other is here:
    http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2007/11/13/bushs-budget-messaging/

    Notice that Cato at least gives the Dems credit for wanting to actually pay for their expansion of government, even if they hate the idea of expanding government. If you want to understand the free-market arguments for things, look to Cato, Reason, Tyler Cowen, etc. The last place you should look to complain about free markets is anyone affiliated with the Bush Administration (unless you want to include Greg Mankiw, maybe). For the last time: crony capitalism is no closer to a free market than socialism! This is why you sometimes have the unions and the corporations working together on legislation to increase tariffs and things like that, the steel tariffs being one of the more recent examples, and one of the first signs that Bush had no intent of being pro-free market.

    You also don’t understand the arguments in favor of increasing competition in public schools, which have exactly zero to do with corporations or standardized testing.

    One more thing: I question your statistic about privatization of fire, police, and military: those are the sorts of things that only actual libertarians believe, and even at that, we’re talking strictly about anarcho-capitalists. It may be that 25% of libertarians want to see those things eventually removed from the government’s monopoly power, but that is a much different thing from 25% of Republicans.

  5. mick says:

    I actually like your site, Charlie, and if we lived in a different time I’d agree with much of what you have to say. But we don’t. There’s a reason the political discourse has been polarized and it didn’t come from the left.

    As for education, this isn’t really the place to get into that but I vehemently disagree that smaller classrooms are “the least effective places” to invest. They are fundamental – so critical that nothing else will work if they don’t exist. I don’t know where you got that idea. I spent 25 years in education and I don’t know a single educator who’d take your position. Study after study for 50 years has shown that smaller pupil-teacher ratios are basic to a quality education. The argument that “people with trust funds are screwed up, too” is specious at best. I don’t know if you’ve ever known any such people but I have – quite a few of them – and in my experience I can state categorically that it is NEVER the fault of their education.

    As far as I’m concerned, the fact that there are still people insisting that small classes and solid resources aren’t “effective” is one of the great problems. If we can’t at least agree on the two elements that are bedrock, then how are we ever going to agree on the definition of “well-spent”? Much of the innovation in education of the last few decades has proceeded directly from a lack of adequate funding. Upscale private schools don’t “innovate” because they don’t have to. There’s no arcane secret to a good education. The fundamentals have been understood for 500 years, and most expensive private schools do outstanding jobs precisely because they don’t stray far from those fundamentals very often. The “innovation” in public schools has arisen from a need to stretch minimum resources for a maximum result. The…mixed results were predictable.

    Look, Charlie, you’re not on solid ground here. Conservatives whose only concern is to keep their taxes low have joined with movement conservative privatization advocates to cook up this whole notion that good education can be done on the cheap if we just “spend the money the right way“. It is to education what intelligent design is to science – poppycock.

  6. mick says:

    Mark:
    I know I sound like a broken record, but what Bush has stood for has been anything BUT free markets.

    I used the term to mean what they mean: a market unfettered, unregulated, unrestricted, and unrestrained by govt interference, where when govt acts at all, it does so only to protect and enlarge corporate interests. I certainly wasn’t talking about the “pure” free market. Perhaps I should have clarified that.

    One more thing: I question your statistic about privatization of fire, police, and military: those are the sorts of things that only actual libertarians believe, and even at that, we’re talking strictly about anarcho-capitalists. It may be that 25% of libertarians want to see those things eventually removed from the government’s monopoly power, but that is a much different thing from 25% of Republicans.

    Well, like I said, it’s a memory and it may be playing me false. It was a few years ago. But I remember being quite startled by the numbers – I hadn’t thought they were anything like that high, not even in the MCGOP.

  7. mick says:

    Oops. I forgot:

    You also don’t understand the arguments in favor of increasing competition in public schools, which have exactly zero to do with corporations or standardized testing.

    Um, that post was about standardized testing, not “competition”. Not sure how you could decide I don’t understand something I never discussed. But I will say I know why people think competition is good – or at least why they say they think it – and their arguments have, in my view, very little merit.

  8. Considering that it was my name primarily taken in vain here, I figured I should weigh in, especially now that the discussion has devolved into one on education which is topical, but not the thrust of the original post which sought to undermine the possibility that bi-partisanship is still a possibility in this country.

    I find it interesting and important, Mick, that you brought into the debate the era of the 60’s because I’ve recently read among several different political theorists that much of what we are witnessing in politics today is a continuation of the philosophical and ideological wars fought in that era; the foot soldiers of those bygone days having grown up to be the influential policy makers and opinion peddlers of today.

    As you say, the rancor that exists in politics today was started by the conservatives, and I will neither confirm nor deny that, but this argument, and several others from you support the fact that whether leftists started it or not matters little; many are still fanning the flames.

    The cycle is an endless one, one in which all sides involved become so rigid that fractions and divides only deepen and widen. On a fundamental level, regardless of party or ideology, the more level headed members from all parts of the spectrum provide the only hope of pulling America out of the rut.

    Example; Mark and I are about dead opposite on a lot of things. We agree largely on personal liberties, but outside of that, I think that there would be no aspect of governance that we would largely agree upon. However, I also know Mark to be a thoughtful and intelligent person who understands his personal political beliefs, and I like to think that I am something similar. To this regard, if he and I were to take on any problem, yes we would disagree and debate about it a great deal, but eventually we would be able to cede ground in some places, make up ground in others, and come up with a SOLUTION that would ultimately work.

    And that’s the point, and I think what is nagging at me here. Where are your solutions? Okay, no bipartisanship, fine, so now what? We dig our trenches, they dig their trenches, and we duke it out ad nauseum until we go to our graves bitter and resentful? Or worse, obnoxious and arrogant?

    I don’t want to go to my grave as a Liberal Bob Novak.

    I support Barack Obama (and this is significant to the primary argument here and in the comments debate you site) because yes I think he can at least start to repair the damage. Does that mean Republicans will fold immediately? Nope, but it changes the dynamic in such a way that those unwilling to work on both sides of the aisle can be marginalized.

    The rules are simple, you either come to the table willing to work things out, or you don’t get to play at all.

    There will always be pushback, primarily from the purest idealogues on all sides, but what is the alternative? What is the choice? What is the solution?

    I bitch an awful lot about an awful lot of things, but for most of them, if asked, I’m ready to produce a solution. In this, in the state of political discourse today, politicians like Barack Obama and Tim Kaine; bipartisan politicians who value debate and compromise over party ideals are my solution.

    Education, I know what I would like to see. Increased funding for schools, merit pay, stricter standards for teachers looking to teach, but at the same time incentives to help them meet those standards, and a slew of other proposals that would take a while to list and explain. But also, before I say that is my final answer, I’m going to talk to guys like Mark, and I’m going to discuss with him his concerns with what I see as a perfect public education system, and we’re going to see where we can meet to put together a plan. Then you put it in the field, see how it goes, and if it doesn’t work, you go back to the drawing board.

    Solutions Mick. It’s not enough to say what can’t be done, we need to hear what can be done.

  9. Dynamic says:

    “There’s a reason the political discourse has been polarized and it didn’t come from the left.” – Mick

    “An eye for an eye leaves the world blind.” – Ghandi

    It may not have started with us, but it absolutely must end with us.

    To deny the plausibility of bipartisanship in the admittedly uncertain future of American Democracy is to deny both the lessons of the past and the needs of the present.

    The Constitution is an equal opportunity employer. To believe that any one side in the so-called “culture war” can achieve a permanent, comprehensive victory over the other – to effectively convert or remove every major opponent – is so clearly preposterous that it doesn’t even require any serious debunking (and for those who disagree, well, I’ve got a permanent, comprehensively winnable War on Terror to sell you).

    This is not the United States of the Democratic Party. Like it or not, this is both our America and their America.

    Or, more accurately, it is OUR America. Together.

    Although it’s unlikely you’ll hear this from the likes of Bill O’Reilly or Anne Coulter (or Michael Moore for that matter), neither liberals nor conservatives have a monopoly on truth. I am a liberal, and like all liberals (and conservatives) I am a human being. That means that sometimes, in some ways, I am going to be wrong – just like every other human being. A vigorous, motivated opposition is the surest way to catch those errors before they become entrenched – as the founders surely realized.

    Don’t fall prey to the easy illusion that this is the most polarized and divided this nation has ever been. Culture War it may be – Civil War it is not. Unity is never perfect – but neither is it ever impossible.

    From 9/13 onward, the World Trade Center tragedy has been politicized, analyzed, and jockeyed over to the point that we’ve all traded some of the memories for cynicism. But stand aside a moment and reflect – on 9/12, this country DID stand truly united, for neither the first time, nor the last. 9/11 may have been cheapened, horse traded and Guiliani’d into apathy and distrust, but 9/12 can’t ever be taken away from us.

    Of all the changes and challenges that we’ve faced in the past, we, the people, have overcome [i]every single one.[/i] And of all the changes and challenges facing us today, we, the people – liberals and conservatives alike – stand every chance of doing the same. Let the shills stand for divisiveness, and divide they shall – just as you are seeing the Christian Coalition’s balkanization into ever fiercer, ever smaller partisan subsets.

    United we stand. Divided they fall.

    PS: As a nod to the education debate that sheared off of a tangent earlier, I’ll freely admit I have few answers, and so I’ll leave you with a question: as we require ever more certification and education of our teachers, who spend 8 to 10 hours a day, 5 days a week with our children, why is it that we continue to require absolutely zero certification of the teachers who spend the first 18 years of life with America’s youth – the parents?

    You need a license to drive a car, you need certification to program a computer, you need a degree to run a bank, but all you need to enter into the most important occupation in the nation is a working set of genitals. Priorities are skewed, I think. But that’s the big government socialist in me showing through. ::lol::

  10. mick says:

    Kyle:

    Yes, I know we got off track a bit there. Thanks for bringing us back to the main point.

    And that’s the point, and I think what is nagging at me here. Where are your solutions? Okay, no bipartisanship, fine, so now what?

    Precisely. Do I have the answers? No, though I have some suggestions. “Bipartisanship” won’t work. In my PubSpeak Dictionary, written to help people translate Republican into English, I defined it this way:

    bi*-par*ti*san (bye-par’-tih-zuhn) n. 1. Democratic surrender to Republican will 2. Democratic obedience to Republican dictates 3. anything Republicans do that Joe Lieberman will support

    Compromise, negotiation, and all the usual routes to workable solutions are closed because TB’s see them as betrayals and signs of weakness. So let’s not a) elect somebody who clearly doesn’t understand that, or b) waste time talking about which negotiation strategy to use when the other side is refusing to negotiate. The discussion we need to be having is, “How the hell do we deal with these people? They demand everything their own way, and they throw a tantrum if they don’t get it. How do we get them under some sort of control?”

    Solutions Mick. It’s not enough to say what can’t be done, we need to hear what can be done.

    Look at it this way. The movement conservative GOP is full of spoiled-brat 5-yr-olds used to getting their own way no matter how unreasonable, wrong-headed, ignorant, and just plain stoopid their demands are. The Democrats have been giving in to them like the parents who spoiled that kid to begin with, hoping that when the kid gets what he wants, he’ll stop throwing tantrums and be reasonable. All they’ve done is prove to the kid that throwing tantrums gets him what he wants. Smart parents know that doesn’t work.

    The rules are simple, you either come to the table willing to work things out, or you don’t get to play at all.

    Fine. Good solution – as long as you’re prepared to stand firm and calm in the firestorm that will follow. You can’t do “unity” when the kid’s idea of unity is getting you to give him his entire wish list – not 98% or 99%, 100%, every last item. We need to recognize that this kid is arrogant, insecure, immature, unreasonable, and greedy because he’s had it his own way for so long. You won’t get anywhere arguing with him or negotiating with him. You need to say “No” calmly, firmly, and persistently until he calms down and says something reasonable, and even then you’ll have to be on the lookout for tricks, misdirection, manipulation, and potential backstabbing.

    It won’t be easy, quick, or pretty. Dealing with a spoiled brat never is. Limits and boundaries need to be established and maintained, and he’s going to use every device in his arsenal to prevent that. Whatever strategies the Democrats develop have to acknowledge and confront that reality or they aren’t going to work. Period.

    This post wasn’t about “YOUR STOOPID SOLUTION WON’T WORK!” It was about “The usual solution won’t work and here’s why.” You want to take the next step? Fine. If this one won’t, which one will? Let’s talk about that, not the wishful thinking of “bi-partisanship”. Let’s just junk that and move on.

    You and Mark are reasonable, intelligent people who disagree but can talk reasonably and intelligently about your disagreements and find areas of commonality. The MCGOP isn’t you, either of you. Don’t make the mistake of thinking they are.

  11. Mark says:

    Mick:
    No disagreement that the modern GOP isn’t me, but I also don’t think the modern Democrats are you. As I’ve said before, the problem with our two party system (made worse by campaign finance “reform”) is that it changes the debate from “what is right? What do I actually believe?” to “what does the party want me to believe?” Parties exist to help elect politicians- they don’t exist to represent ideologies or governing philosophies (properly defined). There are solutions to this, though, that would at least mitigate this problem:
    1. Elect politicians who, while members of a particular party, do not automatically subscribe to the political party’s “Pu-pu platter” (Megan McCardle’s terminology), but instead have an ideology that just happens to usually coincide with said “pu-pu platter.” Examples of this are Obama, McCain (in 2000, less so now, but still more than most), Kucinich (I think he’s a nut, but he’s an intellectually honest nut), Paul (again, a nut, but an intellectually honest nut), the Chafee family (Bush’s biggest political casualty, IMHO), Feingold (one of the truly admirable politicians left in the world), and perhaps a handful of others. In other words, party members whose first question is still “what do I think is best for the country?” rather than “what does the party think is best for the country?”
    2. Launch viable third parties. This reduces the number of interest groups in any one political party, resulting in a significantly more coherent governing philosophy in each. Campaign finance “reform” has made this option increasingly difficult, but the level of dissatisfaction with the major parties has made this a more realistic possibility than in the past. As a result, we now have talk of at least 4, maybe 5, viable third party bids next year: Paul for the small “l” libertarians, an unknown individual for the Christianists, Dobbs for the absolute statists (might be the same as the Christianists), Bloomberg/Hagel for the anti-war centrists, and now I heard a rumor of a possible left-wing third party bid.
    3. Switch to an electoral system based on proportional representation. So, whenever you vote for Congress, you would be voting on a state or national level for a particular political party. In essence this would be a parliamentary system, but still retaining the separation of powers. This is probably unrealistic, and it has its own set of problems that would negate a lot of the benefits, but it would at least make third parties extremely viable.

  12. mick says:

    Mark:

    1 & 2: Right on. Especially this:

    In other words, party members whose first question is still “what do I think is best for the country?” rather than “what does the party think is best for the country?”

    3. There’s a better system that sounds odd at first, and confusing, but is actually simpler and more direct with none of the downside that proportional voting has. It’s called Yes/No/Maybe So.

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