This will be my one and only commentary on the 2012 elections.
As recently as the 1970s, the Republican and Democrat parties actually meant something. I will attempt to sum up both parties in the most unbiased way possible:
Democrats were the party of social awareness. They believed in the importance of a government safety net for people, such as poor, medically incapable of work, etc. From a philosophical standpoint, they believed that Keyensian economics were the ticket – if consumer spending and business spending drop, government should compensate by increasing spending. Democrats didn’t like to increase government spending by increasing the deficit, so they instead did it through higher tax rates, in particular on the wealthy. They believed that the Constitution should be an evolving document that changed with the times, i.e. Roe v. Wade and a host of other socially liberal concepts. They believe the government is responsible for educating the people.
Republicans were the party of capitalism. They believed that if Americans were given opportunity and an equal playing field, the rising tide would lift all ships. They believe that the social safety net remains mostly in the private domain (churches and charities) and would help to incent this through tax breaks. They believed that lower tax rates on job creators (the wealthy, and small business owners) would lead to more jobs, more prosperity, and that it would trickle down. They believed that the Constitution was a once-and-for-all document that shouldn’t be open to wide interpretation. They are socially more conservative, originally out of religious influence, but also as a political chip.
Today, Democrats deficit spend and print money in the basement and raise taxes. Republicans deficit spend, print money in the basement, and pretend not to raise taxes by decreasing the RATE at which taxes go up, but not actually by cutting them (a semantic political ploy). Both parties use the social safety net as a political football, and both throw money at it to try and stop the bleeding. Both parties have put people into combat and left previous administration’s troops in combat. And they have both done it without declaring war, as is required by the Constitution. Republicans have long run campaigns on being anti-abortion, but in 40 years since Roe v. Wade, no Republican administration or congress have done dickety doo about changing anything. Democrats have been whining about guns for decades, but even Clinton could only get a short-term, very narrow ban done.
In short, both parties have become reckless spenders, ineffective ideologues incapable of delivering on anything that they promise their constituents, and equally out of touch with the typical American.
What is my point?
My point is that no matter who wins in November, no matter who controls congress, it will be very difficult (or impossible) to distinguish a difference in the actual outcomes. So stop worrying about the election. Stop worrying that the ___________ party is going to ruin the country.
This isn’t pessimism. It’s a simple fact. We’ve had two parties slowly moving towards the center over the last 60 years to the point where you can no longer tell them apart. That’s what we get for insisting on centrists…
Please Lord, raise up a Reagan or a Clinton. I can’t take anymore of these twits running our country. At least when the parties were truly left and right, you could tell what each party believed.