Tuesday, September 9, 2008

It's the Party, stupid!

Have you heard the one about the Independent Voter?

An undecided Independent Voter was faced with the dilemma of whether to vote for Obama or McCain. As a test, he asked each of them several questions:

  1. How will you fix an economy ravaged by eight years of plutocratic Republican policies?
  2. How will you engage a complex and increasingly multilateral world?
  3. What kind of Supreme Court nominees (up to 3 of them!) will you choose to replace the aging (liberal) Justices that may leave office in your term?

First, Obama gave an articulate, reasoned, and policy-rich reply, based on his inspiring life story and the values of the Democratic Party.

Then, McCain delivered his blunt assessment that government corruption and national security are his top priorities, where partisanship will have no place.

The Independent Voter was very impressed by both their responses. He then gave long and careful consideration...

And then voted for the one whose Vice-President has the biggest tits.

If you are offended because the previous line is sexist, then shame on you. You have let the politicians, media, and bloggers misdirect your attention. For this is much more than sexist, it is personalist. With due apologies to Gov. Palin's breasts, the real outrage here is the tacit (and widespread) belief that we should elect our President based on individual traits: charisma, speaking ability, gravitas, quick wit, and (in Obama's case) strikingly handsome looks.

Grow up. The truth is much simpler: the best predictor of Presidential policy-making is Party, not personality. Speeches come from people, actions come from party caucuses. This is not a horse race, it is a referendum on political philosophy.

We are a divided country in the scariest of ways: age. The older half of the Supreme Court is liberal: Stevens (88), Ginsburg (75), Breyer (70), Souter (68). The younger half is conservative: Roberts (53), Alito (58), Thomas (60), Scalia (72), Kennedy (72). You do the math.

Enter the dreaded Independent Voter. Our election will be decided by people who are not merely ambivalent about their own views on public policy questions, but are hostile to the very idea of partisanship itself. They base their vote not on a rational analysis of probable future Presidential decisions, but on individual (and largely irrelevant) personality quirks. Obama sounds like the voice of a new generation. McCain looks like the wisdom of age.

Get real. Turn off the hype and read the 2008 Democratic and Republican Party Platforms. For those who don't like to read, here is my one-line summary of each:

Democrats:
  • political    rights  of the individual
  • economic power of the group
Republicans:
  • economic rights  of the individual
  • political    power of the group

If this choice is not clear enough for you, then maybe you should just vote for the one with the hottest bod. I can think of worse ways to pick a Presidential candidate.

1 comment:

Dan Weston said...

I should footnote some sources.

The starting joke was my rewrite of a joke (as I recall it) told by Stephen Baldwin's character in Andrew Fleming's movie Threesome.

The ages of the SCOTUS Justices is taken from here.