The Moose ponders the red, white and blue party.
The Moose left the Republicans a few years ago because it had become a corrupted and plutocratic party. The events that have transpired since he left the GOP has only reinforced the Moose's decision. And now, many in the party have gone off the deep end on the immigration issue.
No longer is the war on terror issue #1 for the GOP - it's the war on Mexico! After accusing the left of weakening the Commander in Chief during wartime, the Republican right is doing just that over their abject fear of immigrants who are seeking the American dream.
Republican governance is giving incompetence a bad name. The latest example is the short changing of New York and D.C. on anti-terrorism money. What could they have been thinking over at Homeland Security? You would have thought that after the Katrina fiasco, Mr. Chertoff would have been a bit more sensitive to the optics. It almost makes you nostalgic for Michael Brown!
However, the Democrats have hardly offered an attractive alternative for the Moose. They are increasingly defined only by their loathing for all things Bush. Many would rather see Bush fail rather than America succeed in Iraq. The party's left is dedicated to purging centrists and liberal hawks who deviate from the party line. And the the Congressional leadership is off to Vegas this weekend to pander to the left wing blogosphere who are intent on imposing a liberal fundamentalist conformity on the party.
Jonathan Gurwitz writes in the San Antonio Express-News,
"For tax cuts, for free trade or against an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq? Then you are tagged for political extinction by ideologues who are driving the Democratic Party away from the American mainstream.
"Could Bentsen win a Democratic Senate primary today? Would he be considered as a running mate for a Democratic presidential candidate? Could Lieberman, who was Al Gore's running mate only six years ago, make it onto a Democratic ticket? Not a chance.
"And if the netroots ideological enforcers ever do succeed in liquidating the Bentsens, Liebermans and Cuellars, the Democratic Party will take a headlong plunge into political irrelevancy."
While the Democrats will likely benefit in '06 from the Republican collapse, the leadership of the party has done little to appeal to centrists. At this point neither party has demonstrated that they have the capacity to unite the country.
Our country is strong, but citizens are losing confidence in the leadership class. Americans are largely moderates who don't live, eat and breathe partisanship. They just want their leaders to get things done for the country. Yet, the two parties are more concerned with partisan advantage than national progress.
That is why the Moose welcomes the effort of Hamilton Jordan and Doug Bailey to offer an alternative to the mind numbing politics of the two parties. They have formed an organization called Unity '08 with the objective of drafting a national unity Presidential ticket as an alternative to the two parties. They describe the problem,
"Unity08 believes that neither of today’s major parties reflects the aspirations, fears or will of the majority of Americans. Both have polarized and alienated the people. Both are unduly influenced by single-issue groups. Both are excessively dominated by money.
"For most of the 20th Century, the contest for the U.S. presidency was waged over those “in the middle.” Recent Presidential elections, however, have not been focused on the middle but on the turnout of each party’s special interest groups – with each party’s “base” representing barely ten percent of the American people."
While the Moose is deeply sympathetic to the efforts of Unity '08, he is pessimistic about their success. Don't misunderstand the Moose, he sees a genuine need for a red, white and blue national unity ticket that defies the partisan polarization. But, there are too many obstacles for a third party to be successful at the national level - the most significant one being the electoral college. Without 270 votes, the election is thrown into the House where the majority party decides the outcome.
However, if the two parties produce nominees that are the product of base pandering, there will be a genuine opening for a third force. And who knows, maybe the Moose is wrong about the prospects for an alternative to the donkey and the elephant.
Bull Moose! --