Government by and for the minority.

Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air interviewed the authors of Off Center: The Republican Revolution and the Erosion of American Democracy.  The segment originally aired on Dec. 1, 2005.  The general premise was that the current Republican controlled leadership in the United States pushes an agenda that is off center from the majority beliefs of both the nation and their own party members.  The authors provide and analyze statistics to see how the GOP has recently escaped the traditional backlash and implemented policies out of the mainstream.  To be fair, the show admitted that the Democrats have and will use similar tactics.  However, the Republicans have redefined the rules and brilliantly controlled the national political agenda.  I encourage you to listen to the segment ‘Off Center’.  Some key points were:

1) George W. Bush is the second U.S. president to go a full term without using a veto.  He still hasn’t used one.

2) The GOP has made an art form of brokering dissenting internal party votes, thus allowing ‘moderate’ republicans to appease their constituencies at home while still ensuring the more polarized party vision prevails.  This is demonstrated by the uncanny number of bills that now pass with a 1 or 2 vote margin.

3) Seating in Washington is more stable, allowing party activists to use primaries to enforce the party line and replace moderates who don’t play the game.  By nature, primaries attract far fewer of the casual party members than general elections do.

4) Party funds and control mechanisms have taken the traditional center of power from committees and placed it directly into the top control of the ruling party.  Committee leaders must enact direct party dictates or face punishment.  Thus, committees are no longer the isolated subcultures allowing bi-partisan negotiations.

4 thoughts on “Government by and for the minority.

  1. 1) George W. Bush is the second U.S. president to go a full term without using a veto.  He still hasn’t used one.

    G.W. is actually the eighth president to complete a term without using his veto authority.  If he he makes it through this term he will be one of five to go two or more terms without a veto and the first in over 150 years.  That fact alone speaks volumes.

  2. Thanks for the clarification.  I may have misunderstood the broadcast, or maybe they had their facts wrong.  I have already seen numerous mentions on SEB about how many laws don’t reflect the majority view, so I found the piece to be informative on what may be part of the cause.  It begs the question:  What can citizens do to get our government to represent us accurately instead of forcing us to take one or the other of two extreme views?

  3. Might I suggest that citizens begin by vigourously advocating for the following:

    The influence of a third party in Senate and Congress.

    Disperse the power a little…watch the cockroaches scatter when the lights come on.

  4. It’s too bad we lost the posts of the SEB forums of old. There was an informative threads on voting.

    Les, did you keep a backup of the old forums?

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