Friday, February 5, 2010


An article in the Washington Post was commenting on bipartisanship and how people in Washington did not know what it means anymore. Well, that is one way to look at our political system. But another way, more persuasive way, is to note the collusion that takes place between the two, apparently opposed parties. This is most often obfuscated by the apparent rivalry between the two parties. But this "rivalry" is most often over details which obscures the agreement over the underlying principles to which both parties adhere. For example, no one of any significance in our political discourse argues that we have to revamp in significant ways our economy. All argue, despite evidence that suggests this argument is a pipe dream, that we can reform our economy by focusing on productivity. Wealth is good and more wealth is better. And we can go on seeking great wealth without (a) creating great inequalities in society or (b) without ruining our environment. The last president to suggest that this is a pipe dream was Jimmy Carter and, of course, he is viewed with almost universal disgust. Again, in the foreign realm, it is universally agreed by Republicans and Democrats that an interventionist, aggressive and militaristic foreign policy is the only "realistic" foreign policy available. The last president to suggest this is a pipe dream, Eisenhower, is almost universally dismissed as a poor president. And both candidates, Nixon and Kennedy, ran against Ike in 1960 and argued that he did not understand the presidency or the need for as aggressive, even imperialistic foreign policy. Yes, there are arguments over "torture" but none over the basics of our foreign policy.

This aspect of our political system is evident once again in Scott Brown's decision to make a Washington insider, a man who once worked for Colin Powell, his chief of staff. Nothing really new here and the advice Brown will get will be nothing new either. Here is my definition of "normal": Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. This is of course also a definition of "dysfunctional"!

No comments:

Post a Comment