Eternal optimist that I am, I do not believe that there is some lost golden age in American politics that we should be trying to recover. Our best days are ahead of us, not behind us. I really believe that, for all the horrible things happening in the world right now. The world as a whole has never been more at peace, closer to worldwide affluence, or a better place to live.
Having said that, there are a few things in American politics that have changed for the worse over the last few decades, and most are more recent developments. I blame a Democratic party in systematic decline for most, not all, of the sour developments in our political system. The Democrats' heyday came when they brought down Nixon. Bloated with arrogance, the Democratic party forgot its identity, grew soft, lost power, and then lost its mind. Our political culture has become coarse, ruder, more childish, and largely bereft of substance due to the implosion of this once-great party. They are going down, and they are taking a lot of the good things from our political culture with them.
Remember what politics in the U.S. used to be like? Here are some examples:
There was a time when the opposition party would refrain from criticising the president when he is away on foreign soil.
There was a time when ex-presidents refrained from criticising or critiquing the president in power. Clinton has been fairly good at this, even supporting the administration on a few things and hanging out with Bush 41 (which I think is kinda cute actually). Bush 41 himself was exemplary in this department when Clinton was president. Now we have a certain miserable ex-president who is uncouth and rude (and even refused to extend condolences on Reagan's death. Talk about bitter).
There was a time when Supreme Court nominee hearings were not a political circus.
There was a time when opposition obstructionism was the exception rather than standard operating procedure. There was also a time when the president's appointments would never face even the threat of a filibuster.
There was a time when the Democratic party was embarassed by its fringe elements, instead of being controlled by them.
There was a time when the terms 'hawk' and 'liberal' were not like oil and water.
There was a time when liberals actually proposed tax cuts.
There was a time when liberals would rise to the defense of all minorities - now this excludes appointments made by Republican presidents.
Are the Republicans at least partly responsible for the coarsening of the political culture? Sure. I think the impeachment of Clinton was a big mistake, was unwarranted, and only made that cad even more popular.
Linked to Mudville Gazette and Outside the Beltway yet again!
4:41 AM |