Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Real Third Party

Decisions, Decisions 2008

Atrios of Eschaton writes of an encounter with the real opposition party in American politics: "While chatting a man came up and . . . seemed . . . interested in proudly trumpeting his Hamletesque indecision as a mark of principled independence or something. Apparently had Obama chosen Clinton, but, well, now he likes Palin..."

"Anyway, he was clearly a member of that segment of the population for whom politics is just another reality TV show, and his vote is simply about which of the candidates is his 'favorite' and who will spend the next 4 years entertaining him as the star of The Presidency. Many Villagers are like this too, and they look forward to being extras in the show.

"It's probably completely rational for many people to approach politics this way. They're in a class and at a point in life such that actual policies are unlikely to impact them directly very much. Add in a touch of narcissism and a lack of empathy, and the choice really does come down to who you want to see on the teevee.

"It's David Broder's world. We just live in it."

It is worth remembering that there is a perpetual third Party in American politics, and it, frequently, holds the balance of power, but never assumes responsibility for governing. It is the ignoramus, complacent "independent" voter, and the superficiality of much political news reporting and commentary is written by, and written for, voters loyal to this third Party.

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