Recommend
7 
 Thumb up
 Hide
36 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Everything Else » Religion, Sex, and Politics

Subject: Is partisan politics ruining the USA? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Ken
United States
Crystal Lake
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I was on the road most of the day yesterday and listened to "Radio Times," a show carried by NPR Talk on satellite radio. The discussion started on the health care debate, but eventually drifted to other topics. One that caught my interest was a discussion about how people are (generally) no longer going beyond partisan politics (and particularly elected representatives). Here's a link to the program. For those that want to save it locally rather than launch it directly here's a link to the podcast web site.

The podcast is quite long (1 hour), and this discussion starts around 30 minutes in. I thought the perspectives of the participants very interesting, particularly since they largely agree on this particular topic.

Has political discussion in this country simply gotten to the point that it's no longer about what's best for us as a country or even what's best for a given official's constituents? Have we allowed politics to get to the point where partisan affiliation is now more important than real governing?

I thought the show, and this particular topic, was very interesting and thought provoking, particularly since the participants don't end up taking any sides on the discussion of how politics is working today.

Are they right?
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
If only there was a prominent political figure, early in US history, who had warned us about the dangers of partisan politics. Then we'd have no excuse for letting it get to this point.
25 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Vincent
United States
Ridgefield
Washington
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
perfalbion wrote:
Has political discussion in this country simply gotten to the point that it's no longer about what's best for us as a country or even what's best for a given official's constituents?


Only because the other party started it.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
George Kinney
United States
Bellefontaine
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
perfalbion wrote:
Have we allowed politics to get to the point where partisan affiliation is now more important than real governing?


They haven't always been that way? I must've been in some sort of amnesiac state for the past several decades since I don't remember it being any different.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Wray Cason
United States
Everett
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
I may take the time to listen to the podcast at some point. I comment generally, not in response to the podcast. I think the partisan state of affairs in the country is lamentable. I also think that it has always been so. There are no good old days. Factions started forming before President Washington took office. I think it is a natural consequence of human nature. I think it is best to acknowledge it and temper it than to try to suppress and deny it.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Beyond the particular case, let me ask a more general question:

Does partitocracy ruin liberal democracies?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
A L D A R O N
United States
Cambridge
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
A L D A R O N
badge
----[---->+<]>++.+++++++++++.--------.---.>-[--->+<]>---.---.-.
Avatar
mb
It's so much worse than that.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
MSV Burns
United States
Olympia
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Short but meaningful answer to thread title's question: the "Southern Strategy"
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ken
United States
Crystal Lake
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I guess I'll share my thoughts.

There's no doubt that the US political system has always catered to partisan politics. Even a cursory inspection of our history demonstrates this. And our electoral system encourages two parties rather than a larger number. When third parties have come into being with national prominence, they have either faded from view rather rapidly (generally what occurs) or they've killed another party (the notable instance of the Republican party replacing the Whigs). And, as a result, our political discourse has always been reasonably full of partisan hackery.

But something seems different to me at this time. There's always been a pendulum that swung in the US with one party or another gaining power, then slowly losing it between elections. That fairly natural (and logical) progression has pushed us to find a form of a middle road as one party or the other advanced their agenda a bit, only to have the other push back when they returned to power. Progress along a moderate path generally occurred as a result, but with fits and spurts in one direction or another. Gradually, we found the middle ground by either keeping what worked or modifying that which was politically suicide to eliminate but needed changing.

This doesn't seem to be the case to me now. Perhaps it's the speed with which we can disseminate information (or misinformation, something both parties are guilty of). We can no "fake" grassroots movements through mailing lists, tweets on Twitter, Facebook pages, and web forums. We can rapidly mobilize large numbers of people "for a cause," but they needn't necessarily look far for information about that cause because it's so easy to game Google and get the information you want to get out to the top of the search engine (Google "death panel" and see if you don't find what I mean). Perhaps its that our news media seems to have forgotten how to investigate and seems to merely parrot statements made by individuals as fact all too frequently (just look at the threads on either MSNBC or Fox if you don't believe this). Perhaps it's that our media has become so fragmented that in pursuit of ratings or readers, it's become better to align yourself to one side or the other without coming right out and saying so.

There's something different in the air, even from when I was a kid and the Reagan election was going on. Our discourse, our reporting, our desire to know the truth of the matter seem to have changed such that perception really is becoming reality rather than reality being colored by perception. There are fewer and fewer real moderates in office, and those that are risk a primary challenge by a more ideologically acceptable alternative if they break with their party on key issues. Bipartisanship seems to mean coopting enough ideas from the other side that you don't care how many votes you get from them when the bill passes.

There's something different about the here and now. Just read through the threads here and you'll see it. And I think it worth pausing and wondering whether that's a good thing. The facts no longer seem to matter, just the party line.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ken
United States
Crystal Lake
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Marqos wrote:
Short but meaningful answer to thread title's question: the "Southern Strategy"


I wonder how true that is, though. The Southern Strategy was a Democratic strength until the Civil Rights movement and only changed after that. It may be more accurate to describe the Southern states as one of the larger blocks of similar voters than anything else - if you review election results over time it's pretty rare that they don't go for the same candidate. So I'd call that more regional politics than party politics. They've voted for third parties based on their issues (George Wallace and Strom Thurmond, for example) and largely only split when there's a candidate from the South in the race.

So I'm not sure the Southern strategy reflects partisan politics. I think it reflects demographics and voter alignment more than anything else.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ken
United States
Crystal Lake
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
LeeDambis wrote:
On the OP:

American politics has been heavily partisan ever since the Federalists and the anti-Federalists. We all like to dream about unity and bi-partisanship, but the fact is that most people's political opinions are pretty firmly set.


I don't disagree that partisan politics have always played a role. That's not so much the issue. The question is whether the party line has grown so much in importance that it now trumps other thoughts, service to the national good, or interest in actually addressing problems? There's no question that the parties that have existed throughout our history have always sought to leverage the events of the day to their advantage. But have we gotten to a point where "party compliance" has become so important that it's driving real discussion of issues or consideration of alternatives out of politics.

Take Social Security as an example (since it's not currently on the political landscape). There's no question that we need to do something about the system and that whatever changes we make will need to be relatively radical to avoid a crushing collapse. But whenever the topic comes up "the other guy's" proposals are automatically DOA because they don't conform with the ideology of the other side. Thus, we've done nothing but put the problem off.

Our system is such that either we need to look for compromises that are palatable to both sides or one side needs such political dominance that the other is not relevant to the debate. And the latter is, I think, far worse than the former since it makes it likely we'll lurch from ideological solution to ideological solution without finding appropriate common ground.

So why is it that now instead of finding compromise we seem more interested in simply "winning the debate" in the political arena? When will we realize that this is ultimately polarizing and counter-productive? Or is it that it's not counter-productive?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Antigonus Monophthalmus
United States
Maryland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
Aldaron wrote:
It's so much worse than that.


Quote:
Now, the guessing game is over. We know beyond doubt that the Teabag movement was created out of whole cloth by astroturf groups like Dick Armey's FreedomWorks and Tim Phillips' Americans for Prosperity, with massive media help from FOX News. We see the Birther fracas -- the kind of urban myth-making that should have never made it out of the pages of the National Enquirer -- being openly ratified by Congressional Republicans. We've seen Armey's own professionally-produced field manual that carefully instructs conservative goon squads in the fine art of disrupting the democratic governing process -- and the film of public officials being terrorized and threatened to the point where some of them required armed escorts to leave the building. We've seen Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner applauding and promoting a video of the disruptions and looking forward to "a long, hot August for Democrats in Congress."


Wouldn't this only make sense if there weren't also well-known, active group of liberal disruptors/protestors/astroturfers who were and have done the exact same thing? Code Pink was at the tea parties, are they aligned with the fascist movement? Were the anti-war protests aligned with anarchists because anarchists attended them in number? Obama wants "fishy" rumors sent to the White House. If anything I'm more worried about a relative winding up on permanent white house records for passing a stupid chain email about healthcare scares than people organizing to protest something they don't like.

This kind of alarmism is not only silly, it's actually embarrassing considering it's going after a bunch of unpopular losers whose only successes in the past year and a half have been due to the monumental screw ups of the winners.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
William Boykin
United States
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
For BJ.....
Avatar
mb
This country has ALWAYS had extreme party identification. Anyone who thinks that in the 'Good ol Days', party politicians didn't use power to just squeeze the other guys out, or that people who identified with parties didn't do so very strongly.

If anything, newspapers were even more 'ideologically' biased between party politics- and big syndicated chains (Hearst being the most infamous) would freely use the power of THEIR press to blare for their own policies to be taken as 'morally right'- 'Remember the MAINE!'

If you look at this sort of thing over the long haul, it just comes and goes. To me, the most disappointing thing is that the President had the very REAL power to get what he wanted passed- and didn't use it.

I'm going to say something here that some of you might think is controversial, but if you think about it, you should see the point of what I say.

The protests did not start because of party partisanship. They started because of doubt.

The President, simply, did not make his health care policy clear enough to the American people- because there is STILL no health care policy to be put forward to the American people.

LBJ's 'Great Society' was not ONE bill- it was a packet of hundreds of small bills- each one a good idea in and of itself. IF a few got voted down, it didn't doom the entire program.

Trying to do Health Care as ONE big bill means that any one little piece of the bill holds the entire bill hostage.

Furthermore, this is not 'Obama's' bill. It's Congress' bill. This I find tremendously disappointing- because in the crucial period of time before the voter angry over what the heck was in the bill, opponents were able to take individual 'scary bits' out of ALL the proposals in an attempt to tarbaby the ENTIRE package. And this was avoidable.

Doubt killed Health Care. Voters, confronted with nebulous changes to their health care system, in the middle of a bad economy, reacted poorly- because they weren't able to determine what this would mean to THEM- directly. Given that 68% of Americans have health care (through their employers) and over 80% of them are HAPPY with their health care, to say that you are changing ANYTHING is an uphill battle. ANY DEGREE of doubt had the ability to poison the debate.

Pres. Obama illustrated the worst of this in his speech in Bozeman, Montana over the weekend.

Quote:
Friday's crowd, estimated by the White House at about 1,300 people, was mostly supportive, cheering Obama frequently, though he did get a few pointed questions. One came from Randy Rathie, who called himself "a proud NRA member," referring to the National Rifle Association, and said he got most of his news from cable TV.

"You can't tell us how you're going to pay for this," Rathie said of Obama's health care overhaul. "The only way you're going to get that money is raise our taxes."

"You are absolutely right," Obama said. "I can't cover another 46 million people for free. I can't do that. We're going to have to find money from somewhere."

"Obama Denounces Emphasis on Health Care Protests" AP Wire, 8.13.09
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090815/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_obama_...

This last bit just staggered me. Here is the President saying that he didn't know how he was going to pay for this. I mean, he SHOULD have used this as a challenge to say "I demand that Congress find a means of paying for this that doesn't hurt the American Poor but also doesn't break the American Economy" and then start off with a couple of specific proposals like removing the tax exempt status of Corporate health care plans. He needed a line that he knew what he was talking about- but yet, in essence, he said that he didn't how he was going to pay for this.

And now we see that he has backed off of a Government backed insurance program anyway- instead, moving to a series of cooperatives, which long ago he said he wasn't supporting.

*GAH*

The real danger for the President now is this- by making the GOP out to be responsible for the failure of his health care plan, he will make them 'responsible' for the failure of his Presidency- which only EGGS ON THE OPPOSITION!!!

If, by crippling Health Care, you give the GOP a chance to cripple his administration, the GOP is going to use that power. You don't give the other guy a sword like this and expect them not to use it.

But the power to destroy Health Care was not in the hands of the GOP. It was Obama's- and his tactical decisions to not clearly make the case for what he wanted, and to lay his immense popularity of the first hundred days behind a series of specific and focused bills will doom this program- a program which, I want to be clear, I DO support.

I'm just terribly dismayed that this 'slam dunk' has been mishandled so atrociously.....

Darilian
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David desJardins
United States
Burlingame
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Darilian wrote:
To me, the most disappointing thing is that the President had the very REAL power to get what he wanted passed- and didn't use it.


Want to bet?

Actually, there's nothing that reassures me so much as your dismay.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
William Boykin
United States
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
For BJ.....
Avatar
mb
DaviddesJ wrote:
Darilian wrote:
To me, the most disappointing thing is that the President had the very REAL power to get what he wanted passed- and didn't use it.


Want to bet?

Actually, there's nothing that reassures me so much as your dismay.


What is the bet and what are the stakes?

I now think that the President is so desperate to pass 'anything' that the odds of any real, substantive reform is slipping past- and that the odds of a pork laden band aid that will do nothing but cost Americans a packet is increasing.

Thats if he actually gets anything passed. Right now, I think he's got about a 1 in three chance of NOTHING on Health Care getting passed- and the more he dithers, the worse those odds are going to get for getting anything passed.

Darilian
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David desJardins
United States
Burlingame
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I bet he'll pass a bill that I'm satisfied with.

I'll also bet that you're dissatisfied with it and complain how crappy it is.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
William Boykin
United States
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
For BJ.....
Avatar
mb
DaviddesJ wrote:
I bet he'll pass a bill that I'm satisfied with.

I'll also bet that you're dissatisfied with it and complain how crappy it is.


Thats a bit.....vague.

What would you like to see in a Health Care bill?

Darilian
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David desJardins
United States
Burlingame
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Darilian wrote:
What would you like to see in a Health Care bill?


I posted my standard for success the last time we had this little exchange.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/3715042#3715042
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
William Boykin
United States
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
For BJ.....
Avatar
mb
DaviddesJ wrote:
Darilian wrote:
What would you like to see in a Health Care bill?


I posted my standard for success the last time we had this little exchange.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/3715042#3715042


So you're ok with the Co-op's being in charge, rather than a government provider?

Otherwise, I don't have any problems with what you want, actually.

Seriously, my big issues with the President are tacitcal ones when it comes to Health Care.

Darilian
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David desJardins
United States
Burlingame
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Darilian wrote:
So you're ok with the Co-op's being in charge, rather than a government provider?


How do you define "ok"?

If I had ultimate power, it's not what I would do.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David desJardins
United States
Burlingame
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
LeeDambis wrote:
The President and the Congressional committee chairs can't afford to be vague about what they'll accept. If they can't clearly enunciate their objectives and stick to them then they will have handed the initiative to their political opponents.


"What they'll accept" is very different from "their objectives". Obama has said all along (not just as President, but for the two years that he was running for President) that his style is to compromise in order to take the best deal he can get, but not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Given that has always been his position, I don't expect him to change it now and lay down an absolute marker about what he'll accept. Nor do I want him to.

He's made certain promises. For example, that he won't sign a bill that increases the deficit over the next 10 years. And that he won't sign a bill that raises taxes on people making under $250,000. But he's left a lot of room for compromise, and that's ok with me.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David desJardins
United States
Burlingame
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
LeeDambis wrote:
The American people elected a guy who promised change, not a guy who was "hoping for a good compromise."


Obama was certainly very clear during the last 2+ years that this is how he would govern. So the people voted for him knowing that this is what he said he would do.

Now, it's possible they didn't believe him. Or it's possible they thought that was what they wanted, but they will change their minds when they see it. Or it's possible that they voted for him despite this, for other reasons.

But certainly no one should be surprised that he's governing the way he said he would govern.

Darilian didn't vote for him. I don't think you've said who you voted for but I'd be surprised if you voted for him. I'm not sure the opinions of those who didn't vote for him about why other people did vote for him and what he owes to those people carry all that much weight.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David desJardins
United States
Burlingame
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
LeeDambis wrote:
he needs to start standing for something


I don't think he's failed to do that. That's a different question than the question of drawing a line in the sand. I've personally heard him say, many, many times, that he stands for two key premises of health care reform---controlling the continuing expansion of costs that is inevitable in the present system, and universal access to health care rather than denying insurance to sick people.

I see the current situation pretty differently from you and Darilian. There's a huge brouhaha but it's all being fought over issues on which Obama has not drawn a line in the sand. That means he can win without having to confront any of these criticisms head on. If Sarah Palin doesn't want "death panels", despite taking steps to encourage living wills when she was governor, well, we don't have to have that in this bill. If there aren't the votes for a public option, well, that's too bad, but it's not a precondition for success. As a lefty myself (on alternate Sundays), I think it's too bad if some of the best provisions of the bill get stripped away in the pressure to compromise. But it means we're likely to pass something, and it's going to achieve the most important points, on which conservatives don't even seem to be resisting.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jage
United States
Greensboro
North Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
DaviddesJ wrote:
And that he won't sign a bill that raises taxes on people making under $250,000.


We'll see about that if/when Cap and Trade is passed through Congress.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Brown
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Answer to the OP,

YES!

politics are about holding or gaining power and not actually about doing anything.

You only have to read a few posts in each political thread in RSP to see this at work. Nobody can even talk about an issue without it becoming a fight as to which party is better. Nobody can stay on topic for more than 1 post. It's all about which party deserves to hold power.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.