"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Politics Is Broken

67% oppose the war in Iraq and 70% disapprove of Bush's handling, but nobody is talking about taking a hard stance against the Bush/McCain/Lieberman tactic of escalation.

Likewise, everyone knows the health care system doesn't work and understands that the only entity which has a shot at fixing it is the federal government, but we've yet to hear anyone step up and catch that 70% of public opinion in their sails.

Finally, clear majorities want to invest in efficiency and alternative energy sources, and yet our leaders are stuck dicking around with ANWAR and a few underfunded pilot/mostly-for-show projects.

My point is, the Public is actually not that fucking stupid. Our leadership is just timid and out of touch -- if not outrightly corrupt -- and our organs for articulating Public Opinion have fallen so far from the Jefferson/Franklin ideals that they're closer to the state propaganda machines in the USSR than a legitimate Free Press.

People in this country are a little out of shape and kind of materialistic, but "big dumb America" actually has much a better grasp of what the fuck is going on than the elite leadership.

We're going to see some serious realignment over the next decade, with either a major shift in "national prorities" from the power-elite, or the rise of localism as cities, counties, states and regions begin to abandon the ossified and ineffective federal system in favor of their own problem-solving.

Hopefully we get both. ;)


They still smoke a lot of cigarettes, they are sort of smug & thier society stll trails the USA in social mobility but they have one thing right: failed governments can be brought down in the parliamentary systems of Europe. Instead, we have to suffer 2 more years through the lamest of lame ducks, and dangerous wounded politicians. In a parliamentary system I think the Bush government would have fallen by now. It's based on real time circumstances, not the arbitary calander. Anyway, they have it right on this one. We will pay the price. Impeachment is extreme. Our system is just not flexible enough.

thier society stll trails the USA in social mobility

That's not even remotely true. The Horatio Alger/Scarface myth is deeply embedded in our national psyche, but it's no borne out in reality. Social mobility in the US is much lower than Europe.

Now, the degree of difference between the very successful and unsuccessful here is greater -- western europe has a larger middle class; we have many more ultra-wealthy -- and so the few individuals who do "make it" in America make it big and loud, but if you're born poor in America you're more likely to die poor having had poor children.

Check it out. Here's wikipedia on social mobility and interesting lecture.

fwiw, I think you're correct that parliamentary systems have distinct advantages over single-member plurality districts. The ability to engage multipolar politics and the necessity of building a governing coalition (and the real-time aspect of a "vote of no confidence") have significant benefits.

However, it's very unlikely that we will see a major shift in our constitutional rules to a formal parliament, and anyway it seems to me that all the network-centric organizing that's coming up should allow some kind of leapfrogging. In real terms, political parties are increasingly anachronistic, especially as the national monoliths which they have come to be over the past 40 or 50 years.

I think what we're looking at politically is a return to more regional party blocs within a less consolidated two-party framework. Eventually we're bound to see some kind of evolution which addresses things like gerrymandering districts and the unworkable scale of representation, but it'll be a long slow process most likely.