The Ostroy Report

The Ostroy Report is a fresh, aggressive voice for Democrats and a watchdog of the GOP/Tea Party. We support President Obama and the Democratic agenda and seek to preserve the Senate majority while taking back the House. But we're also not afraid to criticize the left when necessary.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

It's Time to Do Away With Political Parties in America


The single biggest problem facing America today gravely undermines the viability of our once-great Democracy. This threat is posed by Republican voters who have lost their way. Their sense of purpose. The responsibility they have to themselves and to their fellow citizens. Their understanding of what it means to be a true American patriot. They've been brainwashed into putting party before country. Partisanship has become the new patriotism. Sadly, Republicans no longer vote for the most qualified candidates, or for those who best represent their self-interests. They vote purely along party lines, and the actual performance and overall record of an elected official has become secondary to his or her party affiliation. Worse, mob mentality has set in. Those who do not agree with the mob have had their reputations, characters, credibility and patriotism attacked and slandered. And when facing defeat, the mob has even resorted to blatant acts of election fraud. These are not signs of a healthy Democracy. If America is going to thrive and prosper, this type of thinking and behavior has to cease. That is why we should do away with our current party system and simply have candidates who run for office, seeking election on the merits of their positions and track-record, not on the basis of whether they are Republican or Democrat.

A great example of this alarming state of affairs is the presidency of George W. Bush, whose 5 1/2 years in office, by any reasonable historical comparisons and benchmarking, is a miserable failure. Whether the analysis is on domestic affairs; foreign policy; the economy; corruption and scandal; or the war in Iraq, Republican voters have been given a plethora of reasons to be more than angry at this president. By all accounts, they should have kicked him to the curb in '04. Instead, they awarded him 62-million votes, the most for any presidential candidate in U.S. history, and sent him back to the White House for another four years.

Judging from the current recent spate of polls, Republicans are indeed fed up. But if constitutionally Bush were able to run again in '08, these lemmings would again race to the polls and reward him with another victory. Just as they may likely do this November with House and Senate incumbents. And the odds are they'll do it again in '08 with whomever the GOP nominates for president. Bush and the GOP leadership have been given one too many free passes by party loyalists. When do these lemmings finally stand up scream, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore?" When do they race to the polls to send their angry message? The problem is, their party won't let them.

But just imagine an election system absent of parties. Where unethical, amoral operatives like Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman wielded no power. Where candidates start on a level playing field with no party advantages to hide behind or benefit from. Where questionable fundraising techniques are replaced with government-funded campaign financing for candidates who've met strict election requirements. A system where candidates would be forced to focus on positions and policy. Where their victories would occur only if these overall messages and platforms resonated with voters, who for the first time would actually vote on what's in their best interests, free from party distractions and pressures. No Democrats. No Republicans. Just individuals. Maybe then, and only then, would the red-state Kool-aid drinkers wake up from their party haze and start voting for the candidates best suited for the job, not those who spew the meaningless, diversionary and divisive rhetoric we have today.

I can dream, can't I?

26 Comments:

  • At 2:26 PM, Anonymous Tom said…

    Stop dreaming, it ain't gonna happen. A third party is the way to go (if they count the votes). Let the fools in the D & R parties go. Oh yea BTW, don't be so sure Bush/Cheney won't still be in power long after 2008. They won't give it up without a fight. It could get bloody.

     
  • At 2:52 PM, Blogger Cranky Daze said…

    I understand the logic and sentiment here, but it simply isn't going to happen. Campaign finanace reform might help, as would holding our elected representatives, starting with the congress, to the high standards we have always believed America represents. Right now, Congress should be holding impeachment hearings related to the lies that were told that took this country to war.

    This is not the first time that a whole section of the country refused to do any rational thinking. In 1860-1861, Southerners, led by people who are commonly called "Fire Eaters" let themselves be led into seceding from the United States, and thereby opening the door for the worst and most bloody war America has ever fought. It was a war the South had very little hope of winning. They were out numbered, short of funds and not enough supplies to keep their armies alive. Without question, Southern soldiers fought like tigers in a war that came to be known among the rebels as a "Rich man's war, and a poor man's fight." Virtually nothing about secession benefitted the average Southerner, yet they responded to hyped-up speeches and claims made by wealthy planters who appealed to their fears and sense of patriotism. And they, along with hundreds of thousands of Northern soldiers died horrible deaths on American battlefields.

    And isn't this what is happening in the Republican party today? Whatever is behind the war in Iraq, it is of no benefit to the average American. Few people actually believe it has anything to do with terrorism, especially since it was our attack on Iraq that drew terrorists into that country. Republicans ignore the corruption that is so prevalent in the GOP, and faced with frequent news reports of that corruption, they shrug it off and in their frustration resort to name-calling and insults.

    Texas Governor Sam Houston, one of the few who refused to sign on to secesssion (which cost him his job) spoke eloquently on the issue, saying:

    "Let me tell you what is coming -- your father's and husbands, your sons and brothers, will be herded at the point of the bayonets -- You may after the sacfice of countless millions of treasure and hundreds of thousands of lives, as a bare possibility, win Southern indedpendence...but I doubt it. I will tell you that while I believe in the doctrine of States Rights, the North is determined to preserve the Union. They are not a fiery, impulsive people as you are, for they live in a colder climate. But when they begin to move in a given direction, they move with the steady momentum and perservance of a mighty avalanche."

    Now, in the 21st century, Republicans are making the same dreadful mistake that was made by the Southerners in the 1860s. They are allowing themselves to be led by men who have no interest in the well-being of the common man/woman/child. Men whose greed and obsession for power, along with their stated belief (which I believe is utter nonsense) that they are doing what God wants, are leading those who apparently have no wish or ability to face reality to certain destruction. Iraq is, as was the American Civil War, a rich man's war and a poor man's fight.

    Democrats, liberals, progressives, whatever we choose to call ourselves, have the ability to change the direction in which the Bush administration is leading us, but the problem seems to be apathy on the part of our representatives. America can be protected from terrorism if we develop a workable homeland security program instead of the farce Bush and his friends have created. War in a foreign country makes no sense, especially when that war is based on lies. We had no right to take our problems to Iraq and destroy a country that was doing us no harm when the reason for doing so was false in the first place. Republican's have, in this century, managed to do the same thing that Southern fire eaters did in the 1860s, which is to arouse the passions of what I think are mostly good people, with their noisy rhetoric and scare tactics which are little more than utter nonsense. They are playing on the fears created by 9-11, and dividing this country with their lies and insults, while at the same time offering a false sense of security and superiority to people who are being used for purposes they refuse to look at critically.

    The question is, can those of us who see through the Republican/Bush/Cheney rhetoric, those of us who understand that we have a president who cares nothing for the people or the Constitution he is sworn to protect and defend....can we put a stop to this? I think we can, but only if we can fully understand that if we do not demand true representation by our elected representatives we will struggle through more years of horror with the end likely being the destruction of much of the world by nuclear weapons.

    Like millions of other Americans who are concerned about what is happening to our country, I wish I had the ability to lead the people who think and listen into a kind of organized movement that would restore our American ideals. I don't have that ability. I have only these poor words and a growing sense of despair, relieved only somewhat by the hope that all Americans will come to their senses and use the brains God gave them before it is too late.

    'Nuff said.

     
  • At 2:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Any time you even have a "concept" of a "political party"...you are, most ultimately, dealing with a "gang" who "seeks power".

    Is it appopriate to elect "gangs" to serve "gang interests"?

    The fact that "gangs exist" in an elected democracy simply illustrates the whole idea that "democracy never did exist".

    It's also unconstitutional, but who really cares about stuff like that these days?

     
  • At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    No one seems to understand the power of the Christian movement of fundamentalists that is driving the South to "refuse to do any rational thinking". I guess you have to live among them to see it. It is frightening. Stopping abortion and gay marriage truly means more to them than anything else; and, they believe if they please God in this area God will take care of all their other needs. They believe 9/11 was God's punishment for homosexuality, abortions and women's lib movements. They vote as their preachers tell them to vote. They don't listen to any news but Fox and their papers have little factual or even controversial national news. Their columnists are Dobson and other hard core conservatists. The very extreme fundamentalists believe evil spirits are walking the earth and to protect themselves, they have to "do the will of God" and abolish the evils "God hates." They are told and believe Bush and the Repulbican Party can fulfill their God's demands. There numbers are growing.

     
  • At 5:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Governor Wallace was correct when he stated that 'there's not a dime's worth of difference between a Democrat and a Republican". They both sit by as peaceful protestors are caged blocks from an event. They both find no trouble that the gov't pressures book outlets to stop stocking "America Deceived" by E.A. Blayre III. Neither party minds that Ernst Zundel is losing his freedom for free speech. Third Party voting is the only answer.
    Support indy media.
    Last link (before Google Books caves):
    http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?&isbn=0-595-38523-0

     
  • At 9:25 PM, Blogger amydemiceli said…

    finally some commen ground.
    this is the path to freedom.

    A third party may not be able to win, but if enough people could ignore the current dem/repub candidates, that would be a start, because we are consistantly losing by picking the "lesser of two evils". we have lost even more personal freedom since that geniuse idea.

    you should listen at www.noonehastodietomorrow.us
    to The LAw by frederic bastiat, its long, but worthwhile. If you have heard it before, listen again, its time well spent.

    published in 1850 but sounds more like america today.

     
  • At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Cathy said…

    Anyone who thinks this is the time to bring out the third party mantra, is either not paying attention or plain stupid.

    Our country is going down the tubes and people think dividing up votes between 2 parties (Dems and a 3rd party) is the way to go? Do you have a clue as to what will happen if we don't win control or gain enough votes to slow down the radical Southern right wingers running our country?

    AT THIS PLACE AND TIME WE MUST CONCENTRATE ON WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE TO WIN SOME CONTROL!!!! IT IS NOT THE TIME TO START A THIRD PARTY!!!!!!!

    PLEASE WAKE UP OUT THERE! THERE IS NO TIME TO LOSE REGARDING DEFEATING THE RADIAL SOUTHERN RIGHT!

    Cathy
    From the once great State of Michigan

     
  • At 12:32 PM, Anonymous Tom said…

    I'm paying attention, so I must be stupid. But, it's obviously not bad enough or you would be for a third party too. One definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. At least I’m not insane.

     
  • At 12:48 PM, Blogger amydemiceli said…

    me too tom.

    i thought thats what t=you supporters of kerry tried and failed in 2004.

    TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT.

    cathy its you who needs to wake up from this slumber. third party mantra? what does that mean? the mantra has been "vote for anyone, but bush" or "the lesser of two evils" , third party candidates have been shunned and used as the scapegoats for the losing democratic party.
    take some responsibility!
    demand candidates who meet the needs of the people not candidates who are fulfilling their desire to win. voting only for the person whos name is followed by the word DEMOCRAT, doesnt seem well thought out, and kind of...stupid.

     
  • At 1:01 PM, Anonymous Larry said…

    Anyone who thinks third party voters only come from the left is crazy. I'm a conservative independent who votes for mostly third party candidates. I've also voted for Democrats, but only at the lowest levels of government.

     
  • At 9:33 PM, Blogger Rocking Chair said…

    thnak you for finally saying it somebody. why should we fund an election that supports this system....it is not Democratic at all.

     
  • At 9:39 PM, Blogger Rocking Chair said…

    thnak you for finally saying it somebody. why should we fund an election that supports this system....it is not Democratic at all.

     
  • At 1:14 AM, Blogger All_I_Can_Stands said…

    Andy,

    It is that rare time that you and I can agree on something. If I had a choice I would also wish political parties to go away and only vote on individuals. Alas, it is only a dream though.

     
  • At 1:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Do you think, in your right mind, that the Repugs and Dems will just go away? Amy says try something new. I'm all for that but it is naive to think that voting for third party candidates will change the complexion of politics in America today. Nader has proven that several times over. Not voting for the same old, perhaps corrupt candidate is one way to make change. Even if you stay partial to a particular party, voting the incumbent out is one way to change the focus.

    Of course, this is based on the assumption that the voting machines are clean. It is also based on a premise that the election officials are clean and untouchable by dirty politics and business.

    Ohio and Florida could use a clean election or two.

    With the sentiment that is out there for Bush and the Republican party, if some Dems win it could be a measure that at least some states are clean from corruption. How is it we are having to address this under Republican party rule? Hmmmmm?

     
  • At 11:01 AM, Blogger All_I_Can_Stands said…

    Ohio and Florida could use a clean election or two.

    I agree. If only they could clean up those states, the GOP victories would be more decisive.

     
  • At 12:03 PM, Anonymous almostboiledfrog said…

    As an historical footnote, it is worth remembering that the first several national elections under the Constitution were in fact free from the influence of political parties. It was only in the Adams/Jefferson election that parties emerged as a real political force.

    After reading biographies of Adams and Washington, it becomes pretty plain that both of them, at any rate, viewed the emergence of political parties with alarm, seeing them as threats, not to their own power, such as it was, but rather to the attemptedly rational basis of the Republic.

    That was then, and this is now, tho. Political parties mutate every few years, slightly and slowly, in most cases. Only the names of the parties themselves remain the same. Different faces and different concerns dictate different platforms and ideologies.

    To imagine abolishing parties and being able to choose between principled individuals is a wonderful dream. The possibility of a third party coming to power seems so remote.

    After all, none of the leading lights of the current parties seems dedicated to any principle other than ragining control of the The People. When the two parties stand for nothing that cannot be compromised, where is the room for a third party? What's the point? To distinguish themselves from the other two, a third party is necessarily a limited focus party, for example, the Prohibition Party. They may win an election or two here and there, but then what? Into what would they evolve? Just more of the same, I fear.

    The solution seems to me to be finding the individuals of principle that the author refers to and working with them to 'evolve' the major parties, from the inside out. It's time consuming, yes. But also, I believe, the realistic path.

    Is there enough time left to do this before the current crop of unprincipled incompetents in both parties blunders into irretrievably destroying what precious little is left of the Republic? I can only think that if we don't get started now, then there damn sure won't be.

     
  • At 3:04 PM, Blogger amydemiceli said…

    anonymouse said
    "...it is naive to think that voting for third party candidates will change the complexion of politics in America today. Nader has proven that several times over. "

    not enough people voted for nader, my point is that in 04 if all those voters who voted for kerry because he wasnt bush had actually stood up for someone, instead of against Bush, perhaps change would have been noticed.

    nader has not had enough support to prove much of anything.

    the two party system is killing America, its naive to think otherwise.

     
  • At 11:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Principled individuals running for office may be a long way off. They may be out there now but too many voters are still willing to be spoonfed by Fox news, TV and fundie religions, alarmist political tactics, and the belief that their vote for someone who has no possible chance of winning somehow makes an important statement.

    While the two party system may be killing America, as per Amy's opinion, it is not going to go away any time soon. Sorry, third or more political party Utopia is still far, far off in the distance.
    It's too engrained in what Americans think of themselves.

    How about demanding that the two parties present principled individuals as candidates in the short term?

    Keeping working on your dream, Amy.
    In the meantime, make your vote actually count for something. Educate those marginal voter/thinkers about the reality of their choices and how their vote is actually a precious right.

    Now I know you will want to respond with something along the lines of how you are so right and this is just more smoke.
    So What. Think about what's been written.

     
  • At 1:13 AM, Blogger mw said…

    Andy,
    Sure you can dream. I understand and share the frustration that is evident in your post and in the comments.

    But the virulent polarized partisanship is not going to go away. Third parties are not the answer, because to the degree that they are effective, they are effective only in electing the "greater of two evils" for the 3rd party partisans (Nader elects Bush, Perot elects Clinton).

    In the meantime, we have an election in 2006.

    There is a way to tap that widespread frustration with both parties. Frame the "Republican vs. Democrat" choice as the false choice that it is. It is a simple fact that our federal government works better when the executive and legislative branch are split betweeen the parties.

    The real choice for voters is Single Party Control vs Divided Government.

    With "Divided Government" as an organizing principle, in evenly split paritsan races, a few like-minded voters can make the difference.

    I outline the case for Divided government as a voting strategy in this post in my blog: Divided We Stand United We Fall.

     
  • At 2:04 PM, Blogger amydemiceli said…

    more smoke?

    diebold...

    why dont you think about how no ones vote will really count.

     
  • At 4:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yeah, Amy! At least you've expanded your repertoire! E-voting is a huge problem that is happening now!

    So, it wouldn't make any difference if there was a third party, right?

    Buzzflash.com has a reprint of a USA Today article on e-voting machines. They're very vulnerable, as you probably know.

    No one said it isn't important, Amy. But, it is one that we can all work on to make a difference.

     
  • At 4:52 PM, Blogger amydemiceli said…

    you sure like using my name, yet you have no face.

    voting machines vulnerable! ha, thats an understatement. how can we work together to make a difference, im all for change, thats what its all about.

    did i say it wasnt important?

    whatever, you need a name, there is too much anonymity around here.

     
  • At 5:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Is Amy really Larry?

    M. Disgusted

     
  • At 5:28 PM, Blogger amydemiceli said…

    how droll.

     
  • At 6:05 PM, Anonymous Cathy said…

    maybe M. Disgusted is larry

    Cathy
    From the once great State of Michigan

     
  • At 6:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sure we can use your name, Amy. You published it.

     

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