SYNDICATED COLUMN: Our Contempt is Bipartisan

Both Zombie Parties Too Stubborn To Admit They’re Dead

Neither party gets it.

They both think they won. And they sort of did.

But we still hate them.

Democrats are patting themselves on the back, congratulating themselves for a mandate that neither exists–50.4% to 48.1% does not a mandate make–nor, if were real, would be actionable (Republicans still control the House). “Republicans need to have a serious talk with themselves, and they need to change,” Democratic columnist E.J. Dionne sniped in the Washington Post.

Not likely. If Republicans could change anything, it would be the weather. “If you hadn’t had the storm, there would have been more of a chance for the Romney campaign to talk about the deficit, the debt, the economy,” Karl Rove told the Post. (Which leaves out the fact that the places hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy, New York and New Jersey, are not GOP states.)

“We [Congressional Republicans] will have as much of a mandate as he [Obama] will,” claimed Speaker John Boehner.

The donkeys and the elephants think they’re awesome. Their plan to govern America for the next four years? Keep on keeping on. Why change?

Both parties are insane and self-delusional.

Voters are narrowly divided between the Ds and the Rs–because we can’t decide which one we hate most.

One out of three people think the two-party system is broken, and complain that neither party represents their political views.

A staggering number of people are boycotting quadrennial exercises in pseudodemocracy. Despite the advent of convenient early voting by mail, Election Day 2012 saw a “major plunge in turnout nationally” compared to 2008. About 42.5% of registered voters stayed home this year.

There were a substantial number of protest votes.

In one of the most ignored and interesting stories coming out of Election Day, one and a half million people voted for Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Since Johnson and Stein were even more thoroughly censored than previous third-party candidates–Johnson and Stein were denied interviews on the major networks and locked out of the presidential debates–many of these votes must have been for “none of the above.”

Democrats didn’t win this election.

Neither did the Republicans.

Give the parties credit: They’ve united us in our contempt. Liberals and progressives hate the Democrats, which takes their votes for granted and ignores them. Conservatives hate the GOP for the same reasons. And moderates hate both parties because they don’t get along.

Who won? Not us.

Since the economy collapsed in 2008, Americans have made consistently clear what their number-one priority was: jobs. Yet the two major parties have focused on anything but.

The Tea Party convinced Republicans to campaign on paying down the national debt. Deficits, the debt and entitlements are important–but those problems are not nearly as urgent as unemployment and underemployment. When you’ve lost your job–as millions of Americans have since 2008–you need a new job now. Not next week. Not next year. NOW. You sure don’t need a job next decade–and that’s if you believe that austerity stimulates the economy. “Romney is not offering a plausible solution to the [unemployment] crisis,” Jonathan Chait wrote in New York magazine back in June. Romney never did.

And that’s why he lost.

Jobs were the #1 issue with voters, Obama never reduced unemployment and Romney had a credible narrative as a corporate turnaround expert. By all rights, Romney should have won. But he never delivered what voters wanted: a credible turnaround plan for the terrible jobs market–one with quick results.

Not that Obama and the Democrats have much to celebrate.

The president nearly lost to one of the worst challengers of all time, a bumbling, inarticulate Monopoly Man caricature of an evil capitalist. Democrats only picked up a few seats in Congress–this to a Republican Party whose platform on social issues was lifted from the Taliban, and whose major political figures included two rape apologists.

Like the GOP, Democrats paid lip service to the economy but never put forward a credible proposal that would have created millions of new jobs next week, not next decade. In 2009, while millions were losing their homes to foreclosure, Obama dwelled instead on healthcare reform. Like the deficits, the healthcare crisis is real and important–but it wasn’t nearly as urgent as the jobs catastrophe. Which, planted stories about fictional recoveries to the contrary, continues unabated.

Four years into an existential crisis that likely marks the final crisis of late-stage capitalism, an economic seizure of epic proportions that has impoverished tens of millions of Americans and driven many to suicide, the United States is governed by two parties that don’t have a clue about what we want or what we need.

Change? Not these guys. Not unless we force them to–or, better yet, get rid of them.

(Ted Rall‘s is the author of “The Book of Obama: How We Went From Hope and Change to the Age of Revolt.” His website is tedrall.com.)

COPYRIGHT 2012 TED RALL

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditDigg thisShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

4 thoughts on “SYNDICATED COLUMN: Our Contempt is Bipartisan

  1. Sadly, I’ve tried voting for third parties ever since both major parties promised to keep us in Vietnam. No luck. The last time a party rose to replace one of the the ‘two parties’ was in ’60 (not THAT ’60, the one before). As of current date, we seem to be stuck with the two parties we have, and the question is, ‘What can a progressive do?’ Whimsical has an answer. I don’t like it, but as of now, it seems the best of the unpalatable alternatives.

  2. @Ted-

    Wow, even for you this is staggeringly incorrect.

    Let’s start with the sub title. It requires something to die first before you can call it a zombie, and given that the two parties will be alive and kicking long after everyone currently reading this isn’t, well you’re already off to a poor start.

    “Democrats are patting themselves on the back, congratulating themselves for a mandate that neither exists–50.4% to 48.1% does not a mandate make.”

    Two weeks ago, you were complaining to me that the problem was that Democrats would not act like they had a mandate. Now you’re saying they don’t have a mandate on which to act. Which one is it?

    “One out of three people think the two-party system is broken, and complain that neither party represents their political views.”

    Cherry pick and misquote your own stats, much? The poll actually says that one out of three people belives that NO party (including third parties) represents their political views. And you conviently ignore a further question in the same poll where over haif the respondents don’t believe third parties are even necessary.

    ” Election Day 2012 saw a “major plunge in turnout nationally” compared to 2008.”

    And since 2010, Republicans have made unprecedented efforts to intimidate/disqualify voters in core Democratic constituencies. That’s a far more likely cause for the decline in turnout than anything else.

    “In one of the most ignored and interesting stories coming out of Election Day, one and a half million people voted for Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. ”

    ‘Fringe party candidates unable to attract even 1% of electorate’ is neither ignored NOR interesting. It’s not a surprise, its not news, and that’s why it wasn’t reported on. Had they broken even 1% it would’ve been news and it would’ve been reported on, but enough people knew better.

    “Obama never reduced unemployment ”

    Fact-free, ODS fueled BS.

    “Romney had a credible narrative as a corporate turnaround expert.”

    Romney was never credible about anything. That’s a big reason why he lost.

    “Like the GOP, Democrats paid lip service to the economy but never put forward a credible proposal that would have created millions of new jobs next week, not next decade.”

    Such a thing does NOT EXIST in a form currently implementable in ANY WAY. You’ve once again highlighted the biggest issue with the left today- they want to punish the Democrats for not delivering the impossible immediately, despite history showing that all that does is drive the Democratic party right.

    “Which, planted stories about fictional recoveries to the contrary, continues unabated.”

    Proof of planted stories? And what makes you more credible than actual economists who will tell you we are in recovery?

    “Change? Not these guys. Not unless we force them to–or, better yet, get rid of them.”

    Changing them is easy- I’ve been telling you how to do it since I first stumbled on your site. Getting rid of them without something much worse arising in their place is an absolute impossiblity.

    The thing is, YOU’RE going to have to change first. As long as you keep beliving that the revolution fairy will bring better results than hard work and patience, all you’re going to get is more and more irrelevant.

  3. “The president nearly lost”

    This why you lost your bet. This was not really even close. You should pay more attention to the odds-makers before making any more bets. Will you be Kickstarting that debt?

    “Democrats lost seats in both houses of Congress”

    On what planet?

Leave a Reply