Interesting story on Truthdig this evening about a fellow who’s evidently gotten himself elected to the Senate from Maine. Angus King is a former Democrat who ran as an Independent and who refuses to say which party he’d caucus with. Of course, he’ll have to make up his mind now.
The article’s slant was that Angus was interested in power and notoriety, nothing new in a Senator, and that this was the motivation for his alleged independence, figuring that if the Republicans and Democrats were in a near-tie, his allegiance would be worth something.
That would be pretty raw, but as you know nothing is too raw for politics unless you piss off the powers that be. In that event, you end up in the Illinois pen doing time for offending Bank of America, c.f. Rod Blagojevich. http://lookingglass.blog.co.uk/2011/12/21/how-it-works-12333759/
Apparently, thinking a Senate seat is ‘worth something’ if you made a deal for it is one thing, thinking it if you’re selling your own ass at the same time is another.
In any event, there were plenty of comments appended to the story, and that’s often the most interesting part. The writers seem evenly divided between those who are ready to consider King as of the same vintage as another recent ‘Independent’ in the East, Joltin’ Joe Lieberman, and those from Maine who kinda like him and say he’s much better than that.
A popular sub-thread is that the Senate’s already so dysfunctional due to the squabbling of the two major parties that it’s time to throw all those partisan guys out and start electing these ‘Independents.’ A lot of anger and a kind of ‘pox on both houses’ sense of things.
As usual, I have a differing view. While I think the emergence of two or three more genuine parties would have a very positive effect on American politics, I don’t think that the nation’s governance is messed up due to partisanship. If anything, it is due to a lack of partisanship. Hell, I’d settle for the emergence of a real second party.
I suppose it looks as though it’s a partisan matter, since there’s a perpetual fight over many things between the two major parties, but look at it a little more closely. What is it that they are disputing? Political philosophy? Structural programs? How the country is to be governed? Are they debating policies? Are you kidding me?
When’s the last time the two parties divided over ideology? When it comes to right-wing legislation, they are rolling around in the same bed, bickering about who has to sleep on the wet spot.
The most critical legislation of the past four years has passed almost unanimously, the imposition of police state measures, the funding of urban military forces, the wiping out of the constitution. Foreign policy, same thing. Undeclared wars, no problem. Torture, hey, just call it something else and we’re good.
If America actually had a two-party system, Obama would have been in trouble with his own gang inside of about ten minutes of the swearing-in. A real Democratic Party, noting the appointments of Geithner, Gates, and the rest, would’ve gone right through the Capitol dome.
If America had a two-party system, George Bush’s panic button Patriot Act, designed not to protect Americans but to steal our freedom, would never have gotten through the Congress, never mind passed near-unanimously and without these pathetic pols even reading it. And when he tried to go to war based on obvious lies, he would’ve been looking down the barrel of a House committee with subpoena powers.
But, no. Both parties have mailed it in. They are enjoying their lifetime salaries and perks, their club memberships, their enormous incomes in the event they are ever defeated or opt for a nice retirement. Look at Billy Clinton and his bloated bank accounts. Not exactly the ghost of Harry Truman, know what I mean?
And so they fight over nonsense, sort of like the presidential debates. No questions about the NDAA tonight, folks, nor about the morality of death lists. No questions about the apparently permanent position Monsanto has purchased in the government.
If there were a real Democratic Party, the minute Obama started jabbering about making some ‘compromises’ with Social Security and Medicare, there would have been an angry delegation at the gates of the White House interested in explaining why he’d better shut the fuck up. The Democratic Party would not consider, nor permit, any screwing around with the retirement money people have been paying for all their lives.
But we don’t have two real political parties in America. We haven’t in many years. We have one party, the party of privilege, of wealth, of felonious behavior, of war. The bankers’ party. That party won again tonight, regardless of the figurehead who will sit in the White House. America has lost.