Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"There is no center to American Politics"

From Robert Reich, here is the clearest explanation I've seen yet about the nature of American politics and the profound cultural differences between the two major parties.

I'm particularly intrigued by the notion that Republicans tend to be cynical about politics while Democrats are idealists.

Unlike being gay or straight (a topic much discussed these days by people who haven't the faintest notion what they're talking about), having an attitude is a choice. As citizens, we choose to be cynical, idealistic, or apathetic.

More than just intellectual positions, these are fundamental moral choices with—in this day and age—global consequences.

1 comment:

Six said...

Interesting point, but it strikes me as long on emotion and short on facts - perhaps I am wrong though.

He makes some very broad general statements without backing them up. For instance, he says something to the effect, "Presidents’ parties ALWAYS lose the first midterm elections..." and so on. Just off of the top of my head the first election I ever really paid attention to was the Bush I 1990 mid terms. They were basically a wash on seat changes. Clinton saw a huge loss in 1994 which is consistent with his claim, but Bush II saw a huge gain in his favor in 2002. So out of the last three first term mid-term election two contracdicted his argument.

One other thing that jumped out at me was that I remember not too long ago reading some studies talking about the differences between Republicans and Democrats, and was surprised to see that Republicans tended to report that they were happier, more optimistic and generally more positive people in nearly every way (Ignorance is bliss perhaps? Heh.). The author you linked up describes them as generally more cynical and generally very negative and the Democrats as idealistic and more optimistic, when actual . Not that any of that is bad or good... just that at least the way I read what he is writing and I am drawn in to thinking that he does not really know what he is talking about in the least. The one way where I might concede that he is correct would be that Republicans are cynical about GOVERNMENT (not politics) in the areas they disagree with - such as they are cynical that for example government has the ability to provide and facilitate as good of healthcare as say Swedish Medical Center. But Republicans are (mistakenly) opptimistic about government in other ways such as believing that bigger, more violent government can build peace and Democracy loving nations through wars being waged against them through the various methods of the war on terror - or that bigger, meaner, more expensive government can get people to conform to their religious beliefs through things like War on Drugs, etc.