June 30, 2005

Poll: Republicans Weaken, But Democrats Weaken Still More
— Ace

Too cool:

A poll on the political mood in the United States conducted by the Democratic Party has alarmed the party at its own loss of popularity. Conducted by the party-affiliated Democracy Corps, the poll indicated 43 percent of voters favored the Republican Party, while 38 percent had positive feelings about Democrats.

"Republicans weakened in this poll ... but it shows Democrats weakening more," said Stanley Greenberg, who served as President Clinton's pollster.

Greenberg told the Christian Science Monitor he attributes the slippage to voters' perceptions that Democrats have "no core set of convictions or point of view."

Where on earth would they get that idea from?

I have to say I'm not too worried by Bush's, or the Republicans', declining poll ratings. Part of these "approval" polls is just people's current feelings about the state of things-- and with gas prices high, a bloody uptick in terrorism in Iraq, and the continuing impression that jobs aren't being created, people obviously don't approve of the current situation.

But just because people don't approve of the current situation -- that they'd like things to be better -- doesn't necessarily mean they've decided that the out-party should be swept back into power.

To get to that point, the out-party would have to, I don't know, actually announce some sort of reasonable agenda capable of persuading voters they'd do a better job, rather than just f'ing things up still further.

Fortunately for the Republicans and Bush, we don't have such an out-party.

The American public is cagey enough to understand that some problems just can't be fixed by new "plans" and "approaches." And the Democratic "plans" always sound idiotic. And they're usually the same.

How do we fix Iraq? Why, we get the French and Germans and Russians to aid us there. How do we do that? How do we get them to act against their perceived self-interest and anti-American domestic politics?

Why, we talk to them! And not talk to them like Bush talks to them, but we speak to them "persuasively" and explain to them that it's in their own best interest to help out.

How do we lower oil prices? Why, we talk to the Saudis, and get them to increase oil production! Hell, maybe even get them to sell oil at cost! All it takes is a little bit of "jawboning" and "pressure" and "understanding" and "nuance"!

I think people are smart enough to realize those aren't actual plans. They're just bubbleheaded rhetoric. You can't just say pretty pretty please with whip cream on top and get other nations to solve your problems for you, especially when they have an interest in seeing your problems continue or even worsen.

If "jawboning" can solve our problems, why not "jawbone" other countries to pay off our deficit for us? Heck, they'd only have to kick in a hundred billion or so each and they'd reduce our deficit by more than half.

Or do the same thing with Social Security. The system will go bankrupt in 2042? No problem. We'll just talk Japan into giving us all the money we need to cover the shortfall. We'll just have to do a lot of bowing, get them drunk, and sing at a karoke bar.

Posted by: Ace at 09:37 AM | Comments (162)
Post contains 557 words, total size 3 kb.

1 How do we lower oil prices? Why, we talk to the Saudis, and get them to increase oil production! Hell, maybe even get them to sell oil at cost! All it takes is a little bit of "jawboning" and "pressure" and "understanding" and "nuance"!

Umm, isn't that exactly the Bush administration's policy?

Or do the same thing with Social Security. The system will go bankrupt in 2042? No problem. We'll just talk Japan into giving us all the money we need to cover the shortfall. We'll just have to do a lot of bowing, get them drunk, and sing at a karoke bar.

Do you cite Japan because you figure that the Bush administration will have completely tapped out China by 2008?

Posted by: vonKreedon at June 30, 2005 09:42 AM (hF0Vm)

2 Ace, you left out a liberal tactic that vonKreedon aptly demonstrates, to wit: answering questions with more questions. It's every so much easier than actually providing answers.

Posted by: Monty at June 30, 2005 09:51 AM (cB/4p)

3 Or do the same thing with Social Security. The system will go bankrupt in 2042? No problem. We'll just talk Japan into giving us all the money we need to cover the shortfall. We'll just have to do a lot of bowing, get them drunk, and sing at a karoke bar.


I like it, but man, that stung!

Posted by: Dianna at June 30, 2005 09:53 AM (ql6J6)

4 Yeah, it's a cheap trick. But since it's cheap why would I not use it?

I totally agree that the Dems have got to come up with some actual substantive policy proposals rather than just being the "No" party. Unfortunately I have demonstrated several times that I have no impact on the Democratic Party.

Posted by: vonKreedon at June 30, 2005 09:56 AM (hF0Vm)

5 no core set of convictions or point of view.

Sure they do, they value power over patriotism.

Posted by: at June 30, 2005 10:02 AM (Q7tmB)

6 vonKreedon:

I shouldn't have picked on you; for a liberal, you're jake with me. But the Democrats have a real, structural problem with their party -- it has fallen far to the left of even their own moderate base. A Democrat voter in the vast reaches of Jesusland tends to be pretty socially conservative, regardless of their foreign-policy outlook, and it is this constituency that the Democrats are failing.

For the longest time, Democrats could count on three voting blocs: Big Labor, minority voters, and women. In the last few elections, all three bulwarks have given way. Big Labor is a mere shadow of its former self. Minorities (especially hispanics) tend to be socially conservative and religious, and feel ostracised by a largely secular and coastal Party platform. And finally women, while still majority Democrat voters, are increasingly voting along the same red/blue lines as the menfolk.

2006 will be an interesting election year. I fully expect the Dems to lose more Congressional and Senate seats, and probably more Governorships as well; what will happen then? The Democratic party will, for all intents and purposes, be finished.

Posted by: Monty at June 30, 2005 10:07 AM (cB/4p)

7 Monty - The funny thing is that I'm actually far more of a leftist than a liberal. I'd really like to see some form of proportional voting so that parties such as the Greens and Libertarians would have a chance of actually having an impact on elections and so on policy. Right now the political spectrum in the US is so narrow it at times confounds me how much heat can be generated over such relatively small differences.

Posted by: vonKreedon at June 30, 2005 10:18 AM (hF0Vm)

8 vonKreedon:

I think a two-party system is the most stable form of government, to be honest -- otherwise you get into a situation like the one in Germany, where you have all these cliques and power-centers jockying for power. With the two party system, you have two big tents that can hold just about all persuasions, but still maintain solidarity on big issues.

I'd like to see a stronger Democratic party even though I no longer vote Democrat, mainly because I'm not particularly happy with the Republicans either. I'm a small-government fiscal conservative, a defense hawk, and social centrist. Given that reality, I find myself siding with the Libertarians far more than my Republican bretheren these days; I feel that the Republican party of George W. Bush has largely betrayed its small-government and fiscal-conservation roots.

But in an election, I don't get to vote for who I wish were running; I have to pick among who is actually running. And when it comes to a choice between W. and John fer-Chrissakes Kerry, there's no doubt or question.

I think that many centrist Democrats feel the same way: they feel that the Democratic party has lurched too far to the left to speak for them any more.

Posted by: Monty at June 30, 2005 10:28 AM (8K26L)

9 Well, but it's "talk-talk-talk" kind of heat.

Plus small differences are enough: Sunnis versus Shi'as, Protestants versus Catholics, Big-Endians versus Little-Endians, etc.

Posted by: Nicholas Kronos at June 30, 2005 10:32 AM (qVW/J)

10 Hey, let's offer the Germans and the Russians and the French pie!

I mean, everybody loves pie.

Posted by: Dave in Texas at June 30, 2005 10:56 AM (pzen5)

11 Monty - Germany seems quite a stably governed society to me. Also, as you say, you don't get to vote for who you wish were running under our current two party system. Wouldn't you rather be able to vote for who you MOST want to win AND also vote for the conservative who you think has best chance of winning? I would love to be able to vote for a party that speaks to the environmental and globalization issues with a creativity and passion that the Dems lack, but also vote for the Dem as my second choice.

I don't think this would de-stabilize our government more than the recent couple of Presidential elections did, but I do think that it might greatly expand the range of issues and solutions that are contemplated.

Nick - I sincerely fear that we may move from your "talk-talk-talk" heat to a more virulent form, which is really odd since the Dems are certainly not the traitorous anti-American's that the conservatives so often want to see. Really the big difference between the Repubs and Dems is that the Repubs don't think that there is any need or utility in taking actions to legitimate the current social-economic condition and the Dems do. So the Repubs oppose much welfare/AA/multi-national actions and the Dems support such things. But both party's are really acting to further the status quo of the US as a free-market capitalist superpower.

Posted by: vonKreedon at June 30, 2005 11:00 AM (hF0Vm)

12 Republicans will continue to be the party that makes hard and unpopular decisions and the Democrats will continue to be the party of entitlements. Sort of like a parent / child relationship.

Posted by: Dman at June 30, 2005 11:04 AM (m2CN7)

13 They're all pernicious little ferrets, not that there's anything wrong with that.

Posted by: pernicious little ferrets at June 30, 2005 11:17 AM (dhRpo)

14 You're so right on, Ace.

John Kerry at one of the Presidential debates last yr:

"I know I can do a better job in Iraq. I have a plan to have a SUMMIT with all of the allies, something this president has not yet achieved, not yet been able to do to bring people to the table. "

His "plan" was to have a summit.

Posted by: Golden Boy at June 30, 2005 11:36 AM (8CfR3)

15 VonK:

Germany is stable in the sense that it is not Italy or Isreal (others with proportional voting) but right now you're seeing a centre-left party (the Social Dems) being dragged waaaaay to the left by their coalition partners, the Greens (whose leader used to attack cops with a stck for fun). Similarly in Canada the semi-left (for Canada that is) Libs are yanked to the far left by the NDP. This is NOT good - sure as a leftist you think it is, but remember the way that all the wackadoo little religious parties in Israel are able to jerk the 2 big parties around? Not good.

I know that having a party that more neatly fits one's political preferences sounds good (and, in theory I'd like to have one), but the costs are too high. Having 2 parties that reflect both sides of a "mainstream" position in a country is way safer. Those 2 parties won't remain the same forever - Whigs anyone? People are always saying how Hitler was elected - well, he only got just over 30% of the Reichstag (hmmm just like the Liberals), but that was enough to allow him to form a coalition. If Germany had had two strong parties, each capable of forming a gov't, the situation never wold have arisen.

That doesn't mean I would ban all third parties or anything - they occasionally provide good ideas, and often provide much needed comic relief, but I wouldn't want them to actually get elected.

Posted by: holdfast at June 30, 2005 11:46 AM (I2n7v)

16 If Germany had had two strong parties, each capable of forming a gov't, the situation never wold have arisen.

That's the problem with multi-party governments. Too many cliques, too many factions, too many compromises and deals to form majority blocs. In Germany's example, a very small (proportionally) faction like the Greens can wield disproportionate power for their size just by being a "blocking force" and forcing more moderate parties to cater to them. This is the very antithesis of "representative government".

The US system, for all its faults, generally reflects the will of the majority of the electorate (and is, incidentally, which is why I'm actually in favor of the electoral college). A two-party system provides a stable framework that moderates the extremists of both sides.

Or at least this is what is supposed to happen. The Dems have allowed the far-left wing of their party to drive the platform, and this is alienating many centrist Dems. The Republican party, oddly enough, has also gone rather far to the big-government/big-money side to the dismay of a lot of conservatives, but foriegn policy is the trump card here -- at least the Republicans are willing to fight a serious war against a serious enemy. The Dems are not, and until they are, they are not going to win major elections in this country.

Posted by: Monty at June 30, 2005 12:02 PM (cB/4p)

17 Holdfast - A big difference between Parliementary governments, such as Germany and Isreal, and the US is that the Executive is not tied to the Legislative. So we are not prone to the kind of coalition building blackmail that you cite for Germany and Isreal. Parliementary government and proportional voting are really two issues, though both have a tendency to result in a greater number of parties/ideologies having entrance to the political mainstream.

What I'm arguing for is simply to replace our current one vote per voter form of election with form in which the voter ranks each candidate, much like the way we elect Cy Young award winners. This means that I could vote for a Green candidate as my first choice and a Dem as my second. This is also known as "Instant Run-off" voting.

Posted by: vonKreedon at June 30, 2005 12:05 PM (hF0Vm)

18 The term "stability" sounds like a good thing, but in this context, what it really means is not that the government is stable, but that the two parties have an easier time of things because they are insulated against having to adapt their positions as much as they otherwise would.

Is there a real liklihood that the US government itself would cease to exist merely because it opened up its elections to more than the two behemoth parties? No.

So, it's not exactly accurate to talk of "stability" as though you mean stability of the government, when what you really mean is "stability" for the parties. The parties are not the government.

Posted by: Phinn at June 30, 2005 12:13 PM (DiZv6)

19 Having had only 42 different chief executives over a period of 218 years resulting in the greatest country in the world seems pretty stable to me and my philosophy has always been if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Posted by: Dman at June 30, 2005 12:31 PM (m2CN7)

20 Proportional voting will not allow third parties* in the U.S. to have significant support or power.

The simple reason is the fundamental structural difference between American government and the governments of Israel, Germany, Italy, etc. To wit: the immense power of our Presidency. The White House is the brass ring, and even total domination of Congress is a poor substitute. (Anybody think the Republicans in 1996 were happy to lose the Presidential race and expand their control of Congress?)

The impact of the powerful Presidency (which, of course, can't be shared by a coalition) is significant. Alternative parties occasionally arise, but it's difficult for them to gain any foothold in a system that puts such an emphasis on gaining a plurality of national votes (even if we abolished the Electoral College). So far as I'm aware, the most recent third party to last more than ten years as a going concern was... the Republican Party. And they only had a chance because the Democrats nominated four (!) different Presidential candidates in 1860.

vonKreedon's suggestion of a "second-choice" ballot is probably more likely to encourage third parties, but I still doubt that the effect would last very long. Third parties rely upon the ability to project the idea that a vote or donation for them really means something. If you know that the race is going to come down to John and Bob, you might be willing to indicate Mike is your first choice so long as it doesn't prevent you from also choosing John over Bob.

But are you going to donate to Mike's campaign? Only the true believers are likely to do that, and no one's got enough of those to survive on. Here, I refer you to Howard Dean's failure to raise even half of the GOP's take in the first quarter.

So, I doubt even proportional voting can break the stranglehold the two parties have. However, I am troubled by France. They have a presidential system, yet they too have multi-party politics (although I believe only two parties have had presidents in the Fifth Republic). Does someone who knows more about French politics want to explain why I'm right/wrong?

* Yes, I know that "third party" cannot be pluralized without making it an oxymoron.

Posted by: Pompous at June 30, 2005 12:41 PM (pwn6J)

21 And before any one responds about that little Civil War thingy, I believe that actually proves that limited number of political parties is beneficial because I believe if we had a coailiton type government at that time, we would have never preserved the Union.

Posted by: Dman at June 30, 2005 12:46 PM (m2CN7)

22 Great blog! I just started blogging myself, as a form of therapy (http://coasm.blogspot.com/). Question - how do you get those grey boxes around the text you are quoting?

Beth Crowley
Confessions of a Soccer Mom

Posted by: Beth Crowley at June 30, 2005 01:11 PM (wShBX)

23 Beth:

You use the "blockquote" tag, like this:

This would appear in a box

This would appear in a box


Posted by: Monty at June 30, 2005 01:21 PM (IqkON)

24 D'oh! That didn't work right!

Anyhow, read up on the "blockquote" HTML tag, or just "View Source" on this webpage -- you'll see how it works.

(Ace -- why doesn't the xmp tag actually allow you to type literals? Should I be using the pre tag instead?)

Posted by: Monty at June 30, 2005 01:23 PM (IqkON)

25 if we had a coailiton type government at that time, we would have never preserved the Union.

You are assuming that "preserving the Union" was a good thing.

As opposed to, say, allowing the several states to maintain their sovereignty, thus preserving our federal system of government.

Instead, we had (a) an illegal war, (b) 600,000 dead, (c) the destruction of the Jeffersonian Principles of '98, and (d) the beginning of a relentless, unchecked growth in the power of the central state.

But, hey, the feds sure collected those taxes, right?

Posted by: Phinn at June 30, 2005 01:30 PM (DiZv6)

26 Not to be a semantic **shole, except that I am, but what VonK is now describing is a variation on proportional representation, otherwise known as "Second Choice", which is kind of what the Aussies have, and which is not as bad as a true proportional system. In a true proportional system, the parties submit a list of their candidates for all seats, in their oder of imoportance, and then, after the vote, each party gets the top X number from their list, X corresposding to their proportion of total votes. In such a system there is no "riding" or "district" - rather it's just a list submitted by the party - and thus there is no home town connection - no local MP or Rep to call when you're pissed off.

I am pretty fond of the idea of a local rep whom you can complain to. What the American system did was to replace the then-still powerful monarchy (the executive) with a powerful executive chosen by the states. One could argue that the modern American system is actually better, or at least more balanced, than the modern Westminster system, since monarch no longer wields and day-to-day power, and thus the PM now has all the power of the executive AND the legislative (think the President and the Speakers of the 2 Houses combined). Many folks don't realize just how powerful a PM with a healthy majority really is - he controls the agenda, the whips and appointments to the House of Lords/Senate and the Supreme Court - and there is no veto. Barring a no-confidence vote, he can also only be removed by the members of his own party at a leadership convention, and he generally controls the party machinery and can ensure that there are no surprises in that regard (Yes, Yes, except for the UK Tory Party, where the PM can still be removed by his caucus).

Posted by: Holdfast at June 30, 2005 01:33 PM (I2n7v)

27 Monty,

Were you trying to do this:
<blockquote> this would appear in a box </blockquote>?

Posted by: BrewFan at June 30, 2005 02:06 PM (95UaF)

28 Brewfan -- yeah. How you do dat? There's some "preformatted text" tag in HTML, but I forgot what it was. I thought it was xmp, but I guess not. Surely you didn't have to escape the brackets themselves?

Posted by: Monty at June 30, 2005 02:10 PM (IqkON)

29 I just used escape codes & lt; and & gt; (no space after the ampersand though)

the <pre> tag is used to preserve spaces and line breaks but doesn't 'escape' html tags.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 30, 2005 03:04 PM (95UaF)

30 Getting back to the original contention: "...the out-party would have to, I don't know, actually announce some sort of reasonable agenda..."

Not if Hillary Rodham Rodham runs. She could announce for the presidency and never actually say anything of substance for the rest of the campaign (kinda like the last dem candidate did), and win in a landslide if no one called her bluff. There are so many women that would vote for her simply because she is a woman (I think, maybe), both red and blue, that she has to be defeated before she ever gets the chance to announce.

Then, there goes the neighborhood on Pennsylvania Ave again, with the po' Arkansas trash.

Posted by: Carlos at June 30, 2005 04:15 PM (/cT78)

31 A reform that I would like to see is to significantly increase the size of the House of Representatives - say doubling or tripling it. A Member of Congress represents more constituents than any other member of a Lower House in the world--except India.

If you cut the size of a Member's district, you make it easier for him to represent all his constituents.

One drawback would be that most of the new seats would be "safe" from a partisan aspect -- the fewer voters, the less likely a swing district.

Posted by: Simon Oliver Lockwood at June 30, 2005 04:39 PM (nlWFp)

32 S Lockwood is floating an alternate - but if we go to tripling, it would still keep Dems and Republicans, whoring for the same dollars, in the driver's seat. But if the seniority system also went, it would be better than the current charade..

The problem is that more and more Americans are coming to believe they have no voice with the "Big 2" - only special interests, corporations, the moneyed classes, and countries with money to throw around like Israel and Saudi Arabia call the shots in Congress. Even if they get a House Rep exactly what they want - the rotten seniority system and committe assignments handed out for "properly obsequious" junior members ensures voters lack the voice they seek.

Not that the Dems or Republicans would ever give up their place at their feeding trough - but a far fairer mechanism would be Statewide Party election where Greens, Libertarians, fiscal conservatives, Terri Schiavo theocrats, and Socialists and so on could run and get a spot at the table. If Greens got 10-15% of the vote in Washington State, they would get House seats. If fiscal conservatives & liberatrians got 8% in California, that would mean 6 House seats. Then the Parties vote in Reps, and we see coalitions in the House, vs. Big Pharma handing out same-sized money envelopes to Dem and Republican leaders to guarantee both Parties play ball.

American politics is approaching 3rd World levels of corruption. We do need a better system.

Posted by: Cedarford at June 30, 2005 05:18 PM (ywZa8)

33 Cedarford, your suggestion would mean that no individual would have a "Representative." The Members' constituents would become the party bosses that determine where on the party list they get placed for the election. Yeah, that would really encourage Members' independence from the Leadership.

You think American politics and politicians are corrupt? Take a look at Europe, Japan, or Canada.

Even in a solid Republican or Democratic district, an egregiously corrupt pol has the chance of being kicked out of office in a primary. There's no chance of that happening in a system like you suggest.

As far as the seniority system is concerned, that is actually much weaker now than it was 40 years ago. Democrats after Watergate changed their rules to require that Chairmen be approved by the party caucus. When the Republicans took over the House, they deferred even less to seniority -- and by imposing term limits on chairmen, ensured even more turnover on the committees.

What would you have Congress do, assign Members to Committees by lot? That is the only way to eliminate politicking for plum committee slots. Even then you have politicking for leadership posts, logrolling on legislation, etc. And as long as the government consumes a quarter of the GDP and has the power to regulate industries out of existence, corporations are going to put a lot of money into trying to influence the people making the decisions.

What you want to do is take the politics out of politics -- can't happen. Instead concentrate on what increases Members of Congress' accountability to the voters -- who are supposed to be the real sovereigns here.

Posted by: Simon Oliver Lockwood at June 30, 2005 07:02 PM (ZCnB7)

34 Lockwood -

The only way to end the monopoly where 2 parties decide between licking boots and kissing ass for a 250,000 contribution is....after all.... to break the monopoly of "Frick 'n Frack". That means minority Parties are given a slice of power commensurate with their vote. That would be very healthy. The Greens don't wish to join Dems and Reps on Free Trade or a host of other issues. If they get 10% of the California vote, they would get 5-6 House seats. Fiscal conservatives and moderates would also greatly benefit from opening American democracy up to more than the Big 2, and coalition politics would mean things resisted for years - like controlling our Borders, would happen.

There is nothing sacred about seniority. 48 States didn't vote Ted Stevens or Robert Kleagle Byrd into running Appropriations for the USA. Nor have a choice to vote the greedy two porkmeisters out. Seniority is anti-democratic. And a beacon to corruption. You live in Georgia and want an insurance clause on Fed spending for minority underwriting inserted to give you a cushy deal? You don't bother with your junior Senators...you give 10,000 minimum to Sen Dodd of CT and Sen Spector of PA.

Posted by: Cedarford at June 30, 2005 07:24 PM (ywZa8)

35 "you give 10,000 minimum to Sen Dodd of CT and Sen Spector of PA"

Do you mean "you", an individual or corporation, or "you" the collective. A single donor can't give Dodd 10k.

And if you mean "you" the collective, 10k doesn't pay the light bill.

I don't much care about the two party system, and I don't feel the need to defend it, but I'm not crazy about mucking around with the system to give far left and right nutballs a "seat at the table". Who needs that crap?

If it means producing nanny state, wussified legislation like Europe and Canada, screw that too.

Posted by: Dave in Texas at July 01, 2005 04:24 AM (MJ0EN)

36 You are assuming that "preserving the Union" was a good thing....

But, hey, the feds sure collected those taxes, right

Yeah, those sovereign states would never have collected taxes I assume because the slave sales tax would have covered the expenses.

Posted by: at July 01, 2005 05:22 AM (m2CN7)

37 I agree with Simon on increasing the size of the House. And as much as I otherwise respect TR, I also think the 17th Amendment is an abomination that needs to be repealed.

Posted by: Rocketeer at July 01, 2005 05:56 AM (F6QHz)

38 "I say we take off and Nuke the site from orbit. Its the only way to be sure."

Posted by: Iblis at July 01, 2005 06:14 AM (9221z)

39 Here's a reasonable proportion voting system:

One vote for every dollar paid in taxes.

Ha ha! Take that, Plutocrat GOP tax evaders!

Posted by: iowahawk at July 01, 2005 06:21 AM (R5ifn)

40 O'Conner retires! Let the war to replace her begin....

Posted by: brak at July 01, 2005 06:21 AM (KwfSI)

41 I was sure it would be Reinquist. Considering the silly decisions that the Reinquist court will be known for in the coming years (preserving old growth 10 commandments but not new ones??) I figured he'd want his name off the marquee fast.

I just wish it would have been Ginsburg though. Replacing a semi-conservative with a conservative (knock on wood) is useful. Replacing the ACLU's seat with a conservative would make a difference.

Posted by: HowardDevore at July 01, 2005 06:51 AM (aY19K)

42 http://tory.woolnet.net/images/2005/7/01/tubbyprotestor.jpg



Posted by: at July 01, 2005 07:38 AM (Gi7oA)

43 Cedarford:

What makes you think that having more than two parties in the House of Representatives would make it easier to get things done?

Of course Proportional Representation wouldn't work in at least 20 of the states anyway because they have too few representatives to divide in a meaningful proportional fashion. Obviously, PR would be impossible in the Senate as well.

Besides, what would prevent the shadowy financiers (and we know who they are) from simply buying off the party leadership of the smaller parties as well?

There was a time in our history that there were multple parties in the US House -- the 1850s. The Whigs disintegrated and two parties temporarily replaced them -- the American Party (aka the Know-Nothings) and the Republicans -- with a scattering of Free Soliers and other small parties. Congress really got things accomplished then, didn't it?

The point I was making about the seniority system is that it has been weakened. If you'll notice, Ted Stevens isn't the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee any more.

Our parties all already coalitions - a party that includes Lincoln Chaffee and Rick Santorum can't be anything but.

Posted by: Simon Oliver Lockwood at July 01, 2005 09:24 AM (7Vwh0)

44 Deanize (DEEN-ize) (verb) - To stab one's opponent in the foot while stabbing one's self in the eye.

see also: YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAARFG!!, foot-in-mouth disease

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