quasi in rem

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Clean Slate Politics?

Is a Bush victory the only thing that can truly unite this country again? I think that maybe one of the reasons for the entrenchment along party and idealogical lines is the lack of a true "new blood" two party race that lets the parties redefine themselves around new personalities.

In once sense we haven't had an open election since 1952, when 2 non-incumbents ran against each other, but in a truer sense, since 1980 the Republican Party has been the party of Reagan and his heirs and since 1992 the Democrats have been the party of Clinton. Because of this, the sense of team has over-ridden any battle of ideas.

The most unfortunate thing about the presidential race this year is that the Democrats have defined themselves not as for anything, but simply as "not Bush." Simultaneously, this administration has chosen not to run on their own record but instead run against their opponents record.

It is unclear what anyone is "for" in this race.

On the other hand, if Bush wins, there will be no incumbant on the Presidential level. There will be no point to attacking Bush, just for the sake of attacking him, so as to weaken his chances at re-election, after all, he is not going to be re-elected any more. As long as he keeps his hands off the help, it should be fairly workmanlike four years in D.C..

And then in 2008, The Democrats will be able to cull their ranks for the best overall candidate, and NOT just the candidate who they think will have the best chance at matching up against an incumbant. Maybe it will come down to who has the best ideas...but then again it is the primaries.

Same with the Republicans. They will get to choose whether or not they want to be the Party of Bush or the Party of Pataki. I have a feeling I know who it will be, it is after all the primaries. The primaries will absolutely be a battle of ideas, followed quickly by allegations of minority babies.

But on both sides the voter will have a clean slate. No entrenched team interest at the presidential level. And I think this may be all that it will take to bring the country together somewhat. The crazy thing is that I have faith in the voters. If you look at the state polls there is difference in party alignment and support between the Presidential and Senatorial ballots. Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Alaska, etc., etc., all show significant differences in their support for the President as compared to their Senate candidates. There are a large number of voters who choose not to vote by party in this country. A strong leader, with strong ideas could presumably get most of those votes (cough Giuliani cough).

This race is far from over, but if Kerry wins, look for 4 more years of pure party politics at the Presidential level.


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