04 December 2009

The Somehow Always Marginal Constituency

I was reading this article at American Spectator, Beware of Overconfidence. At first it seemed fairly predictable:
Yes, Barack Obama's poll numbers are down. Yes, the Democratic Congress is vastly unpopular, and leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid more unpopular still. Yes, the "generic ballot" test for Congress has Republicans in the lead. Yes, the measures of voter "intensity" greatly favor the right, including the Daily Kos finding that 40 percent of Democrats may not vote in 2010. But national politics is like the weather in New Orleans: If you don't like it, wait five minutes (and vice versa).
And more along those lines. Then I read this:
Conservatives face an even greater challenge in 2010 than in other years that looked good for them, because the Republican Party organizationally has become so hostile to conservative sensibilities and because no obvious leader for the party or the conservative movement has shown any ability to get officials to sing off the same page -- or to hit any positive "high notes."
And I started laughing, as this -- ahh, so predictable -- reasoning falls in line with this observation, at Poli-Tea from a couple of weeks ago: The Fantasy of the Ideological Other's Agency in the Mentality of the Duopolist Dead-Ender

The conservative Republican complains that the Democratic Party has been hijacked by radical leftists and that the Republican Party has been taken over by RINOs. The progressive Democrat growls that the Republican Party is beholden to right wing radicals and that the Democratic Party has been captured by corporate interests.(And, of course, for the conservative Republican, progressive Democrats are the radical left, while for the progressive Democrat the conservative Republican is the radical right, and so we see, yet again, how two-party politics runs the gamut from A to B.)

In other words, the conservative Republican claims that the Democratic Party is the agent of the progressive movement, but the progressive Democrat maintains that the Democratic Party stands opposed to progressive interests and concerns, while the same time, the progressive Democrat claims that the Republican Party has become the agent of the conservative movement, but conservative Republicans assert that the Republican Party serves interests that are not in line with conservative values.

Thus, conservative and progressive duopolists each perceive the other as the central agency within their preferred party, but each side perceives itself as a marginalized constituency which is exploited or otherwise taken advantage of by that party's establishment. Arguably, this fantasy of the other's agency binds duopolist dead-enders to the Democratic-Republican Party and blinds them to the obvious truth of the proposition that the two-party system simply does not and cannot effectively represent the interests of the people of the United States whatever their ideology may be.

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