Righty: The Republican Party is far from perfect, but who else will defend our nation against Islamic terrorists, atheists, Communists, abortionists, antiwar traitors, militant minorities, gays and Barack Hussein Obama?
Lefty: The Democratic Party is far from perfect, but who else will defend our nation against greedy capitalists, warmongers, gun nuts, pro-lifers, despoilers of the environment, fundamentalist Christian fanatics and Sarah Palin?
The New Moderate:
You might be surprised to learn (or maybe not) that our Constitution made no provision for political parties. George Washington was elected president twice without opposition — not necessarily a good thing, though in his case The New Moderate will make an exception. The two-party system arose only when Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist faction (favoring strong central government and urban middle-class interests) decided to duke it out with Jefferson’s anti-Federalist faction (favoring the rights of the individual states and agrarian interests). The music went ’round and ’round, and it came out here: with two deeply entrenched, staunchly opposed factions that have pretty much forgotten what they disagree about. They just know that disagreement is essential to their existence, comparable to the eternal dispute over whether toilet paper should be installed so you pull it over or under the roll. Sometimes it seems that our two parties exist primarily to create legislative logjams in the halls of Congress.
Their roles, like just about everything in the past, used to be more clear-cut. Republicans were the party of the elite, representing private enterprise and minimal government; Democrats used to protect the rights of labor and the common man. Today your typical Democrat is a well-heeled, well-educated atheist snob from San Francisco, while the representative Republican is a corn-fed lower-middle class Christian who hails from the Bible Belt. Yet Democrats still embrace impoverished people of color, while bank presidents still vote Republican. Go figure.
Does anyone have a clear notion of what our two parties stand for these days? Righty and Lefty have given you some idea. But both parties are timid, mealy-mouthed, and beholden to the lobbyists who grab their ears and ply them with the promise of favors. Both parties still covet the vast, voiceless moderate vote that would propel them to power. Yet neither party represents the middle.
The New Moderate used to wonder if we’d be better off without political parties at all, since they’ve devolved into petty, disputatious factions without any underpinnings of real principle. Why not just vote for the best candidate and shun party politics altogether? But I’ve concluded that parties are a necessary evil: they offer rising political stars the financial and organizational support they need to conduct their campaigns, and they contribute to the ideological tug of war that keeps our political debates lively. Unity is nice when you can get it, but universal assent would be deadening. Even The New Moderate confesses that we need to hear extremist dogma from both sides, if only so we can sift through it, reject the rubbish and formulate our own beautifully reasoned centrist opinions. I just wish the debate were more intelligent and less informed by the expediencies of electoral politics. Oh, and one more thing…
This country is overdue for a new and powerful centrist alternative to dueling Democrats and Republicans. The United States desperately needs a moderate party to represent the vast and sensible middle, whose vote everyone covets but whose interests few have been willing to represent. The new party would operate without favoritism toward the rich or poor, without special-interest agendas, without connections to lobbying groups.
This moderate party (do we call ourselves the Purples?) would erode the Republican base by luring middle-class voters with traditional middle-of-the-road social and economic views… establishment voters who have grown disgusted with obscenely overpaid CEOs and their cronies secretly collaborating with the ruling class on our next national misadventure. It would eat into the Democratic base by grabbing moderate-liberal voters who can’t identify with the sniffish sensibilities and shrill rhetoric of the typical Left Coast liberal. It would be a populist party without rabid demagogues… a middle-of-the-road party without complacency… and above all a party that strives to tell the truth, without euphemisms or political spin, because it has nothing to hide from its potential voter base. It would actually improve the Republican and Democratic parties by forcing them to be true to their roots rather than compromise their principles to win moderate votes. The new party would be winning those votes, of course. I think its success would be as desirable as a happy marriage, as essential as breathing and almost as inevitable as a white Christmas in Lapland. The red and the blue have dominated our politics long enough. It’s time to march for Purple Power! Any volunteers?
Summary: Political parties are a necessary evil. We desperately need a new moderate party in the U.S. to combat the corruption and polarizing influence of the Republicans and Democrats.