Sunday, January 31, 2010


From the Washington Monthly courtesy of

In this hypothetical, despite two wars, Democrats rejected funding for the troops. Despite a terrorist plot, Democrats rejected the qualified nominee to head the TSA. Despite an economic crisis, Democrats rejected economic recovery efforts, a jobs bill, and nominees to fill key Treasury Department posts.

Now, in this hypothetical, what do you suppose the political climate would look like? Would the huge Republican majority simply wring its hands? Would GOP officials decide it's time to try "bipartisan" governing? Would Republicans shrink from pursuing their policy agenda?

Or would every single day be another opportunity for Republicans to be apoplectic about Democratic obstructionism? How many marches on Washington would Fox News organize, demanding that Democrats allow the governing majority to function?


So years ago I found myself, as I have many times since then, defending my vote for Ralph Nader in what was then the upcoming notorious presidential election of 2000. Actually, this was one of the more substantial arguments I've had on the subject--most of these discussions are along the lines of my being "stupid" or how I'm effectively working for the Republicans. But this one was a bit different. My position, as usual, is that the Democrats don't really represent my views; they say they're liberal, but I just don't see them going after much policy that I would describe as liberal. Consequently, I've decided to vote only for candidates who espouse views with which I agree. My opposition's position was that the Green Party, which had nominated Nader as their candidate for that election, doesn't have any seats in Congress, which means they couldn't really do much even if their guy won the election.

Get it? Voting Green, or for Nader, or for any third party or independent candidate is a waste of time because none of these people are ultimately in a position to actually do anything should they win the Oval Office, which they probably won't, anyway. Okay, point well taken. But then classic third party or independent insurgencies have never really been about actually winning offices as much as they are about changing the debate, but that's another story.

My point today is that the Democrats, who have majorities in both houses of Congress, and occupy the White House, are currently in a position to actually do something about the way this nation functions. But they don't. In the end, I can't really see much of a difference between my voting for a candidate who would be politically impotent if he won, but represents my views, and voting for a candidate who would be politically powerful if he won, but doesn't represent my views. Either way nothing happens. The Democrats are worthless.

I think I'm going to keep voting for left-wing independents. At least there's a chance they'll change the political dynamic such that Democrats swing to the left. But I just can't keep voting for pathetic career politicians who value their own personal status at the expense of the nation's fate.

I guess I'm just old fashioned that way.