Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Reason to Exist

I saw this over at FireDogLake today (boldface mine):
Those "centrists," the people who can be convinced to swing Democratic in one election and Republican in the next, who don't make up their minds until the night before an election or just run in the voting booth and pull all the top levers are probably not engaged in the political dialog to the point that they will want to "interact" with those who bring them their news. They might be stupid, apathetic or working three McJobs just to make ends meet but they're probably not going want to spend their leisure time shootin' the shit with VandeHei. People who are engaged political junkies tend to have strong opinions and they want to interact online with others who are like minded.

If anyone out there is wondering why this site exists, this is why. I simply don't accept that the statement I've placed in bold is true.

Let's put aside the breathtaking ignorance and arrogance of the rest of that comment for a moment. We shouldn't be interacting only with "others who are like-minded," and I don't believe that most political junkies really want that and that alone. That's why this place exists--it's a neutral ground where everyone is welcome, and anyone can discuss, debate and interact with people who may have radically different political ideas. Let's face it--our country has been too polarized politically for quite some time, and Hamsher is contributing to the problem. If we can't talk to one another, if we can't understand or at least see where the other side is coming from, then we can't ever find common ground. How then are we going to move forward?

And, for the record, I am a moderate who thinks deeply and at length about politics and issues. I don't know the voter she describes. I do know that she is hurting her cause more than she is helping it, again.

56 comments:

Genghis Conn said...

Also, I am aware that Hamsher was saying this about centrists to make a silly point about a political enemy. My criticism stands.

Anonymous said...

The Centrist movement is on the rise. Ds & Rs are making a shift to the center. There is a new Centrist Party uscentrist.org. We need more choices!

Anonymous said...

Hamsher did more to influence CT politics in three weeks than you've done in your entire existence.

Running a gossip site and protecting yourself from criticism by saying nothing and standing for nothing may get you kudos from Colin and the rest of the MSM but it's really rather useless.

Chris MC said...

Well said GC. If the Lamont experience for which Miss Hamsher is most notorious didn't make a dent in this mindset, you'd reasonably expect that the Lamont experience in toto would have left this leading light of the ludicrous left at least chastened if not enlightened. No such luck.

cgg said...

Except how many other sites like this exist? How many could realistically exist?

Anonymous said...

By the way,

Jane Hamshers Blog raised over half a million dollars for Democratic candidtes across the country and has full time paid staff and is totaly self sustaining.

Looks like Janes a better capitalist than Genghis too.

Anonymous said...

Realistically, we are all preaching to our respective choirs. It helps to better understand the other side, but there is little hope of finding common ground between the two extremes. Moderates or centrists would be turned off by the anger and hate displayed by both sides. The issue really isn't how or why someone decides to vote, it is why so many decide NOT to vote.

Genghis Conn said...

Insult me all you like, she's still alienating the very people who put her party in office. Which isn't smart.

Yes, I know I'm small. And I know she's big. But so what?

Anonymous said...

GC,

Whenever you have a chance to say something you Choke.

You did it again with your "editorial" in the Courant over the weekend.

Jane pushes the envolope,HARD.You,on the other hand sound like a cross between Joe Lieberman (Partisanship is the problem) and Rodney King (can't we all just get along).

The people who made it possible for the Democrats to win are the Activist who read FDL,Kos,Atrios and the other Blogs and gave there time,money and soul to the cause,

If we waited for people like you Foxnews and Bush would have had us in Iran already.

Genghis Conn said...

Good for her for pushing the envelope. But that's not where most people in this country are.

If Dem activists could win elections, they would have done so in 2004. The center won this one for the Democrats.

Matt said...

let me rephrase:

People who are engaged political junkies tend to have strong opinions and they want to interact online with others who are [engaged political junkies].

GC, you are the only person who wears "nonpartisan" around here, and it was that attitude -- the guise of sage, thoughtful, centrism which so often acts as a thin cover for deeply-felt biases, often for extremely out-of-the-mainstream thinking -- that Hamsher was criticizing.

(I use Halperin because he takes it to an extreme, claiming he never votes, which is somehow meant to serve the interest of being a truly disinterested observer.)

I would agree wholeheartedly that the ploy of using neutrality, or so-called centrism, as a mask to further a strongly-held ideology is dishonest, and should be beaten out of our political debate like the mangy dog that it is. A step down from that is the willingness to be persuaded by one way of thinking while remaining closed to others.

For someone who "thinks thoughtfully and deeply about politics and issues", GC, you sure seem to enjoy the political cheap shot while you pass on the footnotes. The image that accompanied Hamsher's pre-primary article was done by an online artist named "darkblack," not Hamsher herself, and for some reason winds up as a repeated part of your commentary, while the actual racial smear-campaign perpetrated by the actual Lieberman campaign managed to escape your notice. (It managed not to leave a mark on Holy Joe overall, funny how that works.)

Independent? I'd rather know what you bring to the table. And I'd rather get the cheap political point-scoring from people like TurfGirl, who is at least honest with herself and everyone else about where she's coming from.

Mirror said...

Imagine we are all living by the side of an immense river flowing to no one knows. There are three types of people living by the river. Politicians, activists, etc who wave their flags and jump into the river to be washed downstream in an endless stream. Then , the majority, who sit and watch. and then me and a few others. We sit and watch BUT occasionally we pick up a rock and toss it into the river. It will not be done in our lifetime or mega lifetimes, but eventually, we will change the course of the river.

cgg said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
cgg said...

I didn't see many Centrists other than at the voting booth.

Genghis, what you're saying is an insult to people on both sides who invest their time, money, and hearts into their political convictions.

The center simply showed up. They may have participated in the process (and good for them) but they didn't win anything.

Matt said...

Genghis:If Dem activists could win elections, they would have done so in 2004. The center won this one for the Democrats.

Right, all those hardliners, supporting rabid Bush-hating liberal elitist John Kerry. John Kerry is what you get when Dems are convinced that their ideas are fundamentally flawed, and decide to choose someone who does not represent those ideas. i.e., a shitty candidate. The center is lured towards the people that make the best case (be that most logical, most forceful, most consistent, or whatever, depending on the priorities of the day). If you don't make an argument for your beliefs, you get your lunch eaten.

Anon 154: Moderates or centrists would be turned off by the anger and hate displayed by both sides

See above. 2004 saw the highest turnout in nearly 40 years, and the clearly more radical candidate won. Your claim is false on its face.

Listen to yourself, guys. That's crazy-talk you're spouting.

CGG - "Swords Crossed" is a really good example. http://www.swordscrossed.org/ -- they just rearranged the furniture, but it's cross-partisan debate, which works pretty well.

Genghis Conn said...

Maybe the center always wins. It's kind of a slippery concept.

And maybe a better point to make, CGG, is that neither left nor right can win without the center. Let me rephrase what I said: Democrats either somehow won the center to their side, or the center gave up in disgust on the Republicans. The crucial movement was made by the center either way.

disgruntled_republican said...

cgg-

But wasn't it the centrist who did come to vote that won it for one side over the other? I think people are misinterpriting what GC is saying. The Democrat "tidal wave" was started by the dem party but the crest of it was the centrists. They are the single most important part of any given election. And the fact is nobody knows what they are thinking or they will vote for until they vote thus creating the largest quadmire in all of politics. Theses atre the people that both parties work so hard to get into their column each and every election. Do they win an election? No but they certainly do determine the winner now don't they?

Anonymous said...

The center didn't win a thing,

The center was moved to the left.2 yrs ago the center was "stay the course" and that got Bush reelected.

2 yrs ago the Right used Gay Marriage to wedge the "low information voter" and make him think he was a Republican.

"The Center" was always and is today at home in the Democratic Party not in the Party of the Southern Strategy even if that center can get fooled once in a while.

cgg said...

And maybe a better point to make, CGG, is that neither left nor right can win without the center. Let me rephrase what I said: Democrats either somehow won the center to their side, or the center gave up in disgust on the Republicans. The crucial movement was made by the center either way.

I'm slightly more OK with that, but I still wouldn't call it a victory for the center. Like you said it's about getting them to move in one direction or the other, but they're not participating as actively as they could.

I'd love to see a Centrist party form. They'd be a force to be reckoned with, and I can see them making reasonable alliances with both parties. What I don't see is initiative on the part of moderates who might want it to be a reality.

Jane's commentary was an insult, and a silly one at that. But I can understand the resentment behind it. When Republicans win it's a mandate or a revolution, but for Democrats it's a victory for the center. Even when we win the spin is that we haven't.

But we did win, and we won big. Moderates helped but it was a Democratic victory.

Anonymous said...

The Democrats had no tidal wave in CT. Rell won. Simmons lost in a squeaker. Shays won by a bigger margin than two years ago against the same cnadidate and it was time for Nancy to go so Murph got put on base. In the Hartford statehouse the Democrats took a few more seats as they continued to inch away at the obsolete and insular CT House GOP machine.

Genghis Conn said...

disgruntled_republican said it better than I did. Bottom line--she's pissing off people she needs to win in 2008 and thereafter. Not good.

CGG - Good point--I hadn't thought of it that way before. I wonder why...? And I'd like to see a real Centrist Party, too--except that Lieberman would probably try to lead it. Bah!

Matt, I have no agenda except for better government, common sense and common ground. Really. I'm not Joe Lieberman. I don't even like Joe Lieberman.

Jane said something stupid. I was kind of insulted by it. I think we can do better, and I think we do do better on this site every day.

cgg said...

Moderate motivate thyself!

brickbat said...

It seems to me that 'moderate' or 'centrist' is different from people who make up their minds at the last minute.

Frankly, I have to agree that the latter group doesn't (almost by definition) want to engage in dialogue on political issues.

Go around and talk to people, regular people, about elections and politics. The level of ignorance is staggering. These people often decide elections and its usually for stupid reasons (Bush is nicer than Gore, Kerry hates the troops even though he was one, the Republicans hate the poor, Iraq had WMDs, blah, blah,blah ).

As for mods or centrists...it's in the eye of the beholder, and it's a moving target. If Joe Lieberman is a "centrist" because he crosses party lines to vote for war and against constitutional protections then the line has shifted WAY to the right.

Genghis Conn said...

I consider Lieberman to be more of an opportunist than a centrist. Centrists build bridges. Lieberman runs across and torches 'em.

Anonymous said...

Jane spoke to her audience.What she said wasn't stupid at all.She didn't insult the people you say she did because the'll never read her blog or any other blog on the internets.

Get it?

Anonymous said...

Lieberman is a speech contortionist if you ever try to listen to him completley.

Aldon Hynes said...

While I greatly respect Genghis for running this site and for his efforts to get people to interact across ideological borders, I end up here from a different perspective.

First, I think the quote, “People who are engaged political junkies tend to have strong opinions and they want to interact online with others who are like minded” is pretty accurate. I think it goes beyond left and right. It includes the center and people who might be better described as existing off a simple left-center-right continuum.

It also exists beyond the realm of politics. Sociologists talk about homophily, or the tendency of people to group with other people that are similar. For an interesting take on this, I would encourage you to read An Epidemic of Homophily

In its most virulent form, we see people from close-knit social networks personally attack anyone who criticizes a member of their network. It often feels to me as if that dynamic occurs here too often.

Many people are suggesting the political homophily leads to extremism. It seems to me that this is really just a particular form of the problem with monocultures. For those not acquainted with the problem of monocultures, I would encourage you to think about the Irish potato famine. The Irish potato crop lacked diversity, or hybrid vigor, making it susceptible to being wiped out by a virus. Personally, I think that political discourse that doesn’t promote a diversity of opinions runs into similar dangers.

This was, to me, an important part of I believe both Lamont and Schlesinger’s messages. We need a more vigorous political discourse. We need politicians that will engage in that discourse. I think if people are going to honor the contributions of Ned Lamont (or Alan Schlesinger), it should include being willing and eager to have an open discourse with people of differing opinions.

I also wanted to talk a little bit about bridging social capital and bonding social capital, which Robert Putnam does a great job of describing in his book Bowling Alone. However, this has turned into a much longer comment that it should be, so let me simply sum things up. People do tend to gather with others who are like-minded. It isn’t an issue of left-center-right; it is human nature. However, if we wish to make our country a better place, we need to rise about these simple tendencies and embrace a site like this where left, center and right, ideally, can interact respectfully and learn from one another.

G-BuryMan said...

You are confusing a centrist with an unaffiliated voter. Both parties have centrists, example Sen. Collins and Snowe and both Sen. Nelsons. U's win or lose elections depending on the candidate you support.

My wife is a U, hates politics but votes every year. Lamont turned her off with his early negative campaign and Lieberman got her sympathy. Non-political U's hate negative campaign more than most. That is the main reason Johnson lost by 12%. The D's GOTV didn't have to be very strong.

Anonymous said...

Aldon talks about homophily. While there are some honosexuals in Phily, the City of Brotherly Love, it's certainly not all of them and who cares anyway?

Anonymous said...

Why don't 90+ percent of eligible voters vote? The disengaged get turned off by the negativism. Lamont had $15 million and an anti-war, anti-Bush message. It wasn't enough to get elected.

Anonymous said...

Genghis & cgg the Centrist Party is already here go to uscentrist.org

Anonymous said...

I guess after all is said and done you'll have to find another "reason to exist".

TrueBlueCT said...

Anon4:00pm--

You neglect the $20 million that Lieberman spent, primarily to confuse people about where he, and Lamont, really stood.

And Genghis,--

I'd like for you to define your "centrism". Does it include those who vote for DOMA, and then civil unions? Who compromise on being pro-choice by pretending on partial-birth abortions? Who go along to get along on elective wars?

Outside of taxation issues, "centrists" strike me as the worst of all political thinkers. Those who hold no real views on anything, and go further to adopt middle-of-the-road stances out of fear of having to actually stand for something.

Gabe said...

How is everyone's view of their navel?

Avant-garde said...

TrueBlueCT –
A centrist is who:
• Is for freedom & equal opportunity
• Do not appease rather aim for true peace
• Vision universally, think globally & act locally (all politics are local…)
• Strive for Peace (liberals), Health (centrists), & compassion (conservatives)…comprehensive approach
• Low taxes, small government with oversight (regulations) over most important aspects of human existence, such as Healthcare (FDA, Health insurance industry…), social security etc.
• Primarily pro-choice & secondarily pro-life (because of the abuse associated with pro-choice approach, mostly but not exclusively in countries such as India & China; think globally – act locally…)
• Is for stem cell research and progress
• Truly represents the people of United States

Good enough? Need more?

Matt said...

Outside of taxation issues, "centrists" strike me as the worst of all political thinkers. Those who hold no real views on anything, and go further to adopt middle-of-the-road stances out of fear of having to actually stand for something.

I'm far more invested in politics than I am in religion. But I have to say that I have some understanding as to why most Americans say they would never vote for a self-described athiest.

Matt said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Matt said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Avant-garde said...

TrueBlueCT –

A centrist is who:
• Is for freedom & equal opportunity
• Do not appease rather aim for true peace
• Vision universally, think globally & act locally (all politics are local…)
• Strive for Peace (liberals), Health (centrists), Compassion (conservatives)…comprehensive approach
• Low taxes, tiny government with oversight (regulations) over most important aspects of human existence, such as Healthcare (FDA, Health insurance industry…), social security etc.
• Primarily pro-choice & secondarily pro-life (because of the abuse associated with pro-choice approach, mostly but not exclusively in countries such as India & China; think globally – act locally…)
• Is for stem cell research and progress
• Truly represents the majority of… We the People of United States…

Good enough? Need more?

The Centrist Party said...

Another two cents... The author of the comment at the top of the page is not considerate of reality. As a centrist I don't swing. I vote for what makes sense. Although knowing that the politicians are swinging constantly makes it hard to find a candidate with integrity to vote for. Politicians swing from left to center every election. The voters are the ones that are left with the tough choices of which swinging politician to vote for.

To say that centrists "might be stupid, apathetic of working three jobs is a sad statement that illustrates the sad nature of polarized politics that are more about agendas and special interests than about solutions.

As for myself, I have strong opinions and rarely would compromise my position. I am a centrist. I don't see things the way the Democrat or the Republican parties see things. I read their published platforms and found that they are both tryi8ng to claim essentially the same ground. I am tired of politics that are designed to castigate any and all comers. Why is it that in business competition is praised and in politics competition is horribly repressed? Third party candidates are now attacked by both sides and it is usually done by character assassination.

In fact why is campaigning so much about character assassination rather than candidates that not only want to make a change but have the ground and integrity to actually accomplish effective change?

Because there is no centrist ground. While the majority of the country is actually centrist they are still voting Republican and Democrat. It is time. 150 years ago a party came up that is now known as the Republican Party. It happened to come up because the country was ready for change. Before that another party rose to power called and is now known as the Democratic Party.

It is now time for the Centrist Party. You are already centrist, so you might as well join.

John P. Reisman

http://www.uscentrist.org

The Centrist Party said...

TrueBlueCT - Centrism like Independent thinking allows for more than a dictated point of view. It is considerate of needs and realities. I myself am pro-life. In my own opinion, the best solution for the pro-life/pro-abortion argument, or at least a solution that seems to make sense, is that both sides should join in efforts to prevent unwanted pregnancies. It's not about beating them or joining them, it's about what can work to help reduce abortions. That is a position that both sides can agree on.

I actually have real views on a wide array of topics. I was raised conservative but I can’t say I lean left or right. My friends who are Republican think I lean left and my friends who are democrat think I lean right. I think that being centrist is not about espousing left, right or centrist views, its more about making sense and have a view that works for the country and the people. It’s not about sitting on a fence and trying to appease two sides, its more about innovative solutions that have at their heart pragmatism and integrity.

I would invite all to argue with reasoned arguments in order that we can come closer to a system of governance that makes more sense. America knows something is out of balance right now. The simple fact that we are still voting for what may be perceived as the lesser of two evils clearly demonstrates that we have a distance still to travel.

John P. Reisman
http://www.uscentrist.org

Avant-garde said...

John P. Reisman –

You said it yourself – for the last 150 years, no third party has been significantly influential or succeeded to force a political alignment. Why do you think that your Centrist party is capable to become a major player or force a political alignment in present United States?

Anonymous said...

So what happens when I find myself 4 months pregnant and don't want to have a baby Mr Centrist?

Your site proves one thing only.Any idiot can buy a URL and create a website.

Matt said...

I am going to start up the Free Ponies party -- free ponies have a 90% favorability rate. At least. I'll start campaigning now, and by the time I'm 35, presto! I'll be president! Total realignment!

I love how the U.S. Centrist site doesn't even say the word "tax" or "taxes" once, even on all the issues pages. And how the energy page does not say whether we should move towards alternative energy or stick it out with oil. Or, even though you acknowledge the existence of global warming, you can't bring yourself to say it should be halted!

(This phrase is brilliant: Regarding peak oil, "if it [occurs] later rather than sooner, at what cost to the economic structure as global warming increases? If it happens sooner rather than later, at what cost to the economic structure as fuel prices soar in an economic system that is energy dependent?Prudence dictates consideration and foresight in either case.)

John, you're to be applauded for doing the work of starting a political party, but I have a feeling you'll wind up an ideologue once you actually decide what we should do about anything or how we might pay for it.

On the plus side, you're much better already than the "Unity08" vanity project, and I like the typeface on your header.

turfgrrl said...

It boggles the mind that leftist leaning lemmings can't see the forest for the trees. Centrism, is a legit political philosophy. It means in toto, that one has either neutral positions or that one's political positions on most issues cancel each other out. As an example, pro-choice and pro-gun on a simple binary poll will result in a centrist position.

What Hamsher's site advocates, whether its her or not, is activism. And so, like all pseudo revolutionaries, the enemy is both the "other" side and apathy which to the radical, moderatism or centrism is aligned.

Of course whatever your "ism", if you're a political junkie you are engaged.

Knocking GC for his valiant effort to provide a virtual water cooler for all the political junkies is just dumb. If you really want to effect change in the world start talking to people who don't see the world how you see it. You may only agree to disagree, but the world will be better off for it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you GC...your missive is exactly why I continue to visit and occasionally take part. There is a certain arrogance about the politically polarized that is unpleasant. If everyone can just bring it down one notch, we have a chance.

Gabe said...

It boggles the mind that leftist leaning lemmings can't see the forest for the trees.

If you really want to effect change in the world start talking to people who don't see the world how you see it.

When you talk to the people who disagree with you, should you open by calling them lemmings? Because, to me, that seems counterproductive. Just me though.

The Centrist Party said...

Avant-garde - Because the country is ready. 53% of the country is looking for a third party that makes sense and 70% is ready for anything other than what we have. Most people are already centrist so it stands to reason. Nobody said it would be easy though. It’s going to take a lot of people and groups getting aligned and working together. Right now centrist groups are forming across America.

Anonymous(8:27 PM, November 22, 2006) – Well, there’s not much that can be said for an anonymous inference to idiocy as it pertains to creating a web site. You have already defeated your own argument by performing an anonymous insult. Sort of like those that don’t vote, should not complain. As to your concern as to what to do with your circumstance regarding your 4th month of pregnancy, as King Solomon would say, that fate lies in your hands. I hope you make the right decision for yourself and your child.

Matt – Free ponies are a good idea but as my economics professor would say there’s no such thing as free. No kidding, we don’t have to be serious all the time . . . (did I just commit an oxymoron of connotative values?). Your lightheartedness is appreciated.

As to taxes I think they are important to pay, but I don’t like government waste. That’s only my opinion not a party statement. The party is very new so it will present more data as time and research allows. It’s only a few months old. I don’t think sticking with oil is wise.

As to global warming; You can’t halt it at this point, you can only reduce or mitigate its future effects. The effects of global warming will be egregious. Since we can’t halt it, we should work towards an alternative energy economy as soon as humanly possible. This will take a lot of intelligence and policy regard and a large number of systems people to work at systems constructs. This has already begun and new businesses are developing rapidly on that model.

As to how to actually pay for things, well, we can start by gleaning the system for efficiency and then reexamine the tax basis against current needs as things develop. With our current technology and if we can get some people that know how to use it well in our governance, we could probably cut our expenses 20% in rapid fashion.

Of course this will be difficult to do without actually electing a centrist that stands on centrist ground. Having the left and the right steal from the center and still be tied to their respective special interests, in my view, is an unworkable situation that is tied to its own anchors, that are stuck in the rocks.

PS thanks for the compliments!

Turfgrrl – Thank you for your considerations. I am only speaking for myself not the party. I think the beauty of centrism is that it is based on individual opinion and regional state need as well as considerate of national needs. In other words, each person can vote for whom they like and centrist candidates will not be dictated to by the party. Each state has different needs. To have a platform that says you can only think one way in distinctly un-American. We speak and even celebrate our republican democracy but to we live it. We have become entrenched and polarized in our political system and this system does not celebrate individuality it celebrates agenda oriented campaigns and special interest influence on both sides of the aisle. We can do better.

Centrism to me is not about neutrality in my opinion, it’s about not being tied to the special interests and dealing with the larger problems that affect us all. The National debt, securities and economic issues, healthcare, energy, environment. These are the big national topics and we all need to get into the issues more as needs become pressed against capacity. It’s about thinking for yourself and not just buying into an argument just because your party says this is the way it is. The Centrist Party will not dictate to its membership what to think, but I’m confident we will have suggestions. The constitution is in process as well as the platform system. They are both innovative as designed to address needs not special interests.

It is important to get away from the negative politics and start concentrating on real issues. We need to start planning beyond the next election cycle.

Chris MC said...

Gabe said...

How is everyone's view of their navel?



LMAO.

The Centrist Party said...

Naval in clear sight, or are you refering to an orange or a ship?

Gabe said...

Everyone should feel free to gaze at the naval/navel of their choice. No judgments in this thread.

Avant-garde said...

The Centrist Party (12:02 AM, November 23, 2006) – 53% looking for a third party…70% ready for anything else; please provide with the source/reference from which the data was extracted. Thank you.

The Centrist Party said...

As long as personal and group freedoms regarding the naval are respected, I am in agreement with Gabe.

The Centrist Party said...

Avante-Garde I must apologize. I was wrong about the 53% number (must have been thinking about something else). In November of 2005 a CNN poll revealed that 89% of people would welcome joining a viable third party. Also in November MSNBC found that 71% felt it was time for a major third party.

The other data came from a Princeton Survey Research Group poll done in the spring of 2006.

* 73% agree that "it would be a good idea for this country to have more choices in the 2008 election than just Republican and Democratic candidates."
* 74% of Americans are "dissatisfied" with the way things are going in this country. (That's the highest in 13 years).
* 54% think "America's best days are behind us."
* Asked about their level of satisfaction with politics in America, 15% say they are satisfied, and 70% say they are dissatisfied. (Only 3% say they are "very satisfied" and 44% say they are "very dissatisfied.")
* 82% agree that "America has become so polarized between Democrats and Republicans that Washington can't seem to make progress solving the nation's problems."

* They were asked whether each of the following issues were "crucial to the nation's future safety and welfare" or merely "important but not crucial." The percentage seeing each issue as crucial indicates that some issues the parties use to excite their base are not seen as crucial as issues that Washington gives little attention.

*
Quality of education of our children 72% see as crucial
Threat of global terrorism 71% see as crucial
Availability of quality health care 68% see as crucial
America's dependence on foreign energy 67% see as crucial
Situation in Iraq 66% see as crucial
The increasing national debt 62% see as crucial
Corruption in Washington 62% see as crucial
The issue of immigration 50% see as crucial
Global warming and climate change 44% see as crucial
Guns in our society 39% see as crucial
Challenge of India and China 34% see as crucial
Abortion 30% see as crucial
Gay marriage 22% see as crucial

* 61% of Americans say the 2008 presidential election is "the most critical election in years."

Gabe said...

Neither here nor there but, when I was doing research for a paper for a political science class a few years ago, I came across an interesting book that talked about the structural impediments to a third party becoming viable. I don't remember the name of the book, but I will do a little research to find out if anyone is interested...

The Centrist Party said...

Gabe - If there is anything new and interesting in your research I'm always interested. You might want to check out:

Duverger’s Law in Wikipedia

There are some interesting ideas in Durvergers Law about why we have a two party system. I tend to look at it simplistically though. We actually have a lot of political parties in America but we only have two main parties at this time. That is in part due to a belief that people don't want to waste their vote and most parties don't cover the gamut of issues in a reasoned manner.

While there are many other components that influence the system, we must recognize that the reality is that other parties already exist and sometimes those other parties rise to power when the address the nations needs.

This has happened before with the Democratic Party (which used to be conservative; and the Republican party (which used to be considered liberal). It is the nature of things to change and evolve.

Best,
John P. Reisman

The Centrist Party