February 15, 2011

Polarized Politics

Justin Katz

One hears frequently about the Tea Party extremists who are binding the hands of Republican moderates (I know, I know), but a pull away from center is hardly a GOP phenomenon:

Bell's defection is one of dozens by state and local Democratic officials in the Deep South in recent months that underscore Republicans' continued consolidation of power in the region — a process that started with presidential politics but increasingly affects government down to the level of dogcatcher.

"I think the midterms showed you really can't be a conservative and be a member of the Democratic Party," Bell said.

The much-lamented polarization goes both ways, and one interpretation is that the American people are just not satisfied with the slow drift toward a bureaucratic superstate facilitated by parties of only mildly different flavor.

Another interpretation is that people are trying to pull a leftward-drifting political class back toward the center-right. Either way, the disruption of the old order is not necessarily an unhealthy development. Perhaps we'll wind up with real political competitions rather than elections that merely adjust the speed at which insiders tug the polity in their preferred direction.

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Instant run-offs? Public financing? Or are you Teapublicans just blowing smoke?

Posted by: Russ at February 15, 2011 4:24 PM

"officials in the Deep South"

I noticed in the post above on disability pensions that those with a rate of 20%, or more were above the Mason-Dixon line. Those with 10% were below it. Is it possible that a different philosophy prevails in the South.

I recall a friend from Aliceville, AL whose father was a High School Principal. He became disabled (illness, not job related) and the best they could do for him was carry him as a janitor. He didn't have to show up too much. I never thought to ask if Alabama teachers pay Social Security, and whether SSI was available.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at February 15, 2011 8:15 PM

"...people are trying to pull a leftward-drifting political class back toward the center-right."

What tripe! In this case, a picture really is worth a thousand words. Ladies and gentlemen, the US Senate:


They "drift" any more to the right and you better start practicing your goosestep!

Posted by: Russ at February 17, 2011 2:25 PM
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