Friday, August 4, 2006

Political Realignment

I'm fascinated by how in the last couple of weeks, the liberal blogosphere has suddenly recognized the political realignment starting to take shape in Connecticut.

After a long period in coma, the American political constitution (sic: small c) may be creaking into life, trying to right the balance after the long, dark night of the soul, which has been the catastrophic Presidency of George W. Bush.

The signs are faint, but a political realignment seems about to happen. Assumptions about political dynamics, which have been "true" since 1932, since 1968, since 1994, appear ready to wash away, as a small, but important part of the Republican Party migrates to the Democratic Party.

Bipartisanship was the center of power in U.S. politics for a long time. It was part of a pattern established by FDR in the New Deal and, especially, WWII. It was how the liberal consensus of the 1950's expressed itself -- a way for liberal Republicans and liberal Democrats to combine to wield policymaking power, which the dominating conservative wings of both their respective Parties would prefer to have denied them. And, it was how Reagan ran his revolution, creating a Congressional majority his Party did not actually possess.

Bipartisanship was struck a mortal blow by Whitewater, died in Florida, and was pronounced dead by the five coroners of the Supreme Court.

The critical thing for the country is to get policymaking power again into rational hands. There was a time, when that meant the cool, moderating environment of bipartisanship, where the radicals of both parties could be excluded. But, now the majority party, the party in power, has gone totally insane. You cannot compromise with insanity and come out of it with anything but insanity. You get monstrosities like the minimum wage increase married to an estate tax cut. Or, the current Republican proposals to repaint Bush's Kangaroo Court military tribunals AND extend their jurisdiction to everyone!

The sane, the decent, the secular and the rational remnant of the Republican Party is asking for refugee status in the Democratic Party. They bring the promise of an electoral majority and political power. For the sake of the Country, not the Party, for the sake of the Country, we must disenthrall ourselves of the political past, and embrace the new political alignment and make it work.

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