Wednesday, October 8
Arnold's Victory and Career Politicians
Andrew Sullivan has been ecstatic over the prospect that Arnolds victory will awaken the libertarian wing of the Republican party. I share his optimism and also think that there is something else going on here that shows how career politicians and party politics have created a vast disconnect between the views of the majority of Americans and those who lead both major political parties.
Take Arnold as an example. It is my understanding that he for the most part 1) pro-choice (but would probably vote in favor of bans on late term abortions) 2) pro gay rights; 3) pro reasonable gun control 4) pro business and 5) against oppresive taxation.
To a highly conservative leader of the Republican party this might look like a standard liberal position because they can't get over 1, 2, and 3 above. And to the liberal wing of the democratic party 3, 4 and 5 will make him an apostate. (Please note that putting "reasonable" in 3 causes both parties to hate you). But what is the reality of these views. The reality, I suspect is that this platform probably captures 60-70 percent of the electorate in this country. But if he ran in the democratic primary the unions would destroy him and if he ran in the Republican primary the conservative right wing would destroy him.
So what do does my hypothesis mean. It means the two political parties (and the fact that the media does not take seriously any candidate that is not endorsed by them) act as barriers to entry for candidates that actually represent the views of most Americans. The question is this: does it take a sui generis situation like California (ie, crazy recall, move star candidate) to overcome this problem?
Maybe. But think about it another way. Maybe people will wake up to the fact that Arnold isn't just a star, but actually was touting views that when people listened they found they agreed with. Maybe this will inspire other heavyweight citizens (business people, etc.) who have not been funneled through the party system to get out there and start talking about reasonable, practical policies in a way that most Americans will find they support.
One thing is for sure. The consumate career politician and party political hack went down hard last night, and the minions of the party and their special interest boosters could do nothing to stop it.
Here's looking to the future.