First of all, I think Michele Bachman has run out of things to say. “Barack Obama a one term president!” is not even getting the applause from her fellow Crazies any more. She really is vacant, not worth much time. And Mitt Romney is desperately trying to make up something meaningful to say. Ron Paul just says the same wild junk over and over, Tim Pawlenty is boring. And so it goes.
This “no tax pledge” reminds me – sadly – of the joke, “If I offered you a million dollars, would you sleep with me?” Maybe. “How about $100,000?” Maybe. ” How about $1.50″ Of course not! What do you think I am?!? “I know what you are, I’m simply trying to arrive at a price.” Though all of the candidates are trying to maintain purity, the republicans in office are hardly more open minded.
Nor have the republicans found a “core narrative,” anyone who speaks for them. They are picking and choosing from their various heroes – this from Reagan, this from W, that from Goldwater, a little from whomever.
No cohesive message is a new thing for the republicans. They are supposed to be the ones with a system: pure capitalism, trickle down, buyer beware, small government, big profits, family values, greatest country in the world, no taxation, good luck.
That systems served them well. It gave the talk radio and Fox news a curriculum to teach, and a corps of loyal soldiers who would maintain the system, and tell the world not to trust the liberals.
The dems have historically been different. They have less of a system than a goal of justice. As they find problems with the world, they find a way to solve them. Organizations – including government – are ways people can work together, rise up singing, we can overcome, make laws, Yes we can. The result is a potpourri of ideas, and sometimes these are not consistent or cohesive at all.
I am sure there is a psychological profile that fits these two: if you need things to be aligned and working like a clock, and you see picket fences in your dreams, you should register Republican. If you have a heart for rising the tide to lift all ships, and a tolerance for disorder, check Democrat. The republican response to that is to assign labels (they like the ideas of competing systems!): tax and spend, bleeding heart, throw money at problems.
But simple competing ideologies has never been absolutely true, and it is less true these days. Thnks in part to the internet, the spectrum of views is wider, and the various points of view each have some core believers, some of whom are sworn to their creeds. There are flaws in each ideology. The trouble with a pure system is that allows for someone to find itis flaw and then take advantage of it.
This major recession, economic chrisis – or whatever we call it – should ideally serve to force people to re-think about what works and what doesn’t. This would be so much better than retreating to your corner and insisting that Your Way is the perfect solution. It’s just not going to succeed without some synthesis. People and society are complex. Talk, sift out solution, compromise, synergy… Idealism? Well, yes.
And one more thing… Past performance is the best indicator of future behavior.