Thursday, November 04, 2004

The US: Better off than Britain

At least the US has a proper two party system, and a strong opposition. We're stuck with Blair until either the Tories or the Lib Dems can shake off their respective images as second-rate parties filled with delusional idiots. There isn't a hope in hell of this country having an election as closely fought as the Bush/Kerry presidential race for many years to come.

And that's even more depressing than Bush getting a second term.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No offence but you are talking utter rubbish. A proper two party system? Are you kidding? The Democrats in no way resemble a strong opposition. If they did they would have actually had policies to sell in this election. Kerry and the democrats had none. They lived up to the party trend of being so petrified of being labelled liberal humanist in any sense at all, that they adopt the Republican position on every issue they can, and spin a little. That isnt an ideology, a strategy, or an argument for change. The bigwigs in the democrat power structure absolutely shit themselves whenever a democrat stands up and says anything remotely contentious. Hence Howard Dean gets huge support, but the party themselves work against him and Kerry doesnt even have the sense to see the groundswell and adopt some of Dean's more populist policies. They should have co-opted Nader back into the party years ago, because he actually argues for a different way of doing things.

There is a one party system in the states - that party simply has two sets of middle managers who alternate control, but they are all pulling in the same direction. Its just a case of who is more overt about pandering to corporate power.

Yes, Brit politics has its problems, but once Blair actually goes, its all wide open again and the labour party will simply have to move back to the left to some degree. This will enable to Tories to actually oppose something. The LibDems are as pathetic as the US Democrats. They dont actually have the balls to dissent, so obviously their target voters are going to run with the crowd.

11/04/2004 05:13:00 pm  
Blogger Nosemonkey said...

I agree with you entirely on the lack of coherent ideology within the Democrat party, but can't agree with you on your claim that there isn't a two party system in the US.

John Kerry got 49% of the vote - around 55.35 million votes. Compare this to previous presidential winners since 1960 to see whether or not the Democrats are still competitive:

George W Bush (2000) - 50.46 million
Bill Clinton (1996) - 47.4 million
Bill Clinton (1992) - 44.9 million
George H W Bush (1988) - 48.89 million
Ronald Reagan (1984) - 54.46 million
Ronald Reagan (1980) - 43.9 million
Jimmy Carter (1976) - 40.83 million
Richard Nixon (1972) - 47.17 million
Richard Nixon (1968) - 37.79 million
Lyndon Johnson (1964) - 43.13 million
John F Kennedy (1960) - 34.23 million

Well - would you look at that: Kerry got more votes than any president elected in the last 44 years - with the sole exception of George W Bush's second term. You can't possibly claim that there isn't a two party system if the difference between the two candidates is just two per cent and if the losing candidate still gets more votes than any previous president. This election was an abberation - in any other year, the votes Kerry got would have seen him sworn in as president come January. Small comfort for Democrats, but it does at least amply show the binary split in the US political system.

In Britain the Tories have failed to get above Labour in the polls throughout the last seven years, and even the most optimistic estimates made at Labour's lowest ebb in popularity still gave Blair and his warmongering goons several points' lead.

There's no comparison - the Democrats may be in disarray, and may be ineffective until at least the midterms thanks to failing to secure Congress, but they are an effective and significant second party, unlike anything in the UK. The closest Labour get to having an opposition comes from their own backbenches...

11/04/2004 10:51:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There's no comparison - the Democrats may be in disarray, and may be ineffective until at least the midterms thanks to failing to secure Congress, but they are an effective and significant second party, unlike anything in the UK. "

I have to take your point on the numbers, but I still dont see any significant difference between the parties other than on emotive moral issues like abortion, which I think is a little dangerous anyway. If a single moral issue affects your vote then you arent much of a citizen, and by definition you arent paying much attention to anything else either party is doing.

What would Kerry have done differently if he had won? He would have reduced but likely not completely removed the tax cuts. He would have continued US foreign policy in the same fashion all over the world but with slightly more UN involvement, and he would have left the patriot act where it was and continued a similar strategy in Iraq. Was he going to get health insurance for all? The democrats didnt make Bush justify any of his proposals, so they failed to provide constructive opposition. He was there to be made to look incompetent and naive and they pulled their punches. Because basically their values arent that different. The Republicans have succesfully dictated the terms of political engagement, and until the Democrats redefine their values and get a coherent criticism of the right in the US, they are screwed. Bush started a long-term war on terror, and in a debate framed in national security the republicans will always win. Its going to take more than mild criticism of methods to beat them.

"The closest Labour get to having an opposition comes from their own backbenches..."

Which is precisely why when Blair leaves, the party is going to move back towards the left. The number of ex-Labour ministers screaming from the backbenches is huge. When he goes, the party will rally round these guys, and it all changes.

11/05/2004 11:35:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Found your comments most interesting about the lack of differences between the democrats and the republicans. I believe there is a difference. It is as if the democrats are the mommy party and the republicans are the daddy party. When things are going well, then democrats are elected. When things are going bad and their is a need for tough love then republicans are elected. The democrats are more along the lines of the politcal parties in europe, in they have their own form of social justice and are into the redistribution of income, call it America's band of socalism-lite. The republicans on the other hand have historically been for smaller government and more individual responsiblity and with that comes also personal accountablity.

I am not sure how that compares with the parties in the UK. It seems new labor has taken some of the issues of the torries as their own and are running with them.

Regardless of parties, they must have ideas to present. If the other party has none, then they will find themselves lost in the wilderness. This requires the party in power to do little other than to govern.

11/09/2004 02:28:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure if anyone will come back to this but I think the following article is quite interesting in relation to my points earlier about there not really being any differences between Kerry and Bush. The first list of his voting record is amazing, and the second list detailing his attendance record in votes, and the resolutions passed/rejected in his absence, is pretty scary - If I were a democrat senator who considered himself liberal and an alternative to Bush, I think I would have showed up to have my say on these issues. Kerry doesnt. He is a republican in all but name, and yet he won the democrat nomination without difficulty. I think the US is actually in a far more one dimensional state politically than you imagine, and without wholesale change they will continue to lose ground for many years.

http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn11062004.html

11/11/2004 04:28:00 pm  

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