Contemporary American Political Parties 101 (October 20, 2008)

A “brand” is a story.  Promoters of products seek to “brand” them and concoct a story to attract the target customers/clients/viewers/fans/constituents/voters.  Some political commentators suggest that the two political parties tend to gravitate to the center to attract the widest swath of voters.  In America, however, the two political parties offer fundamentally different visions of the present and future that have remained consistent over the last few decades.  The two “brands” cannot be distinguished by analyzing their political platforms on jay walking or school uniforms or the like; the analysis must be more elemental.

At core, the “Republican Franchise” proclaims that “Government is big and does not work” and then sets out both to expand government and to make government not work while rewarding their friends with federal largesse.  The Republican Franchise has fooled enough of the populace for decades into believing that the Party is against spending and taxes and that deficits do not matter.  Deficits are taxes; on the unborn.

Democrats are war veterans (McGovern; Gore; Kerry; Cleland; Webb); Republicans are draft dodgers (Bush; Cheney; Giuliani; Ashcroft).  Democrats don’t like going to war unless necessary; Republicans don’t like going to war themselves but like to send others to war.

At core, the Republicans market fear; the Democrats offer hope.

True Tenets/Characteristics of contemporary Franchise Republicanism:

  1. Threaten fear over hope and market anxiety to anesthetize and dispirit the public while hinting that those who vote with the “Republican Franchise” can delude themselves into believing that they are part of the Beautiful People for a few moments on election day;
  2. Support free trade for their friends most of the time;
  3. Oppose almost everything else;
  4. Promote big government and massive federal expenditures–large armies and weapons systems and massive prison complexes (to kill others and to enslave the population);
  5. Engage in reckless spending and spending and spending and spending and spending;
  6. Spend Other People’s Money (OPM) to benefit themselves;
  7. Pursue unnecessary wars to maintain and expand the American Empire;
  8. Sport shallow “White Bling-Bling” such as jewelry with the American flag on their lapels but refuse to allow others to display their own flags and symbols in their own way;
  9. Circle the wagons to protect the Republican Franchise even if that means allowing an ideological infidel into the inner circle;
  10. Win.

True Tenets/Characteristics of contemporary Democrats:

  1. Offer hope over fear and inspire the public even if the public instinctively responds to fear and encourage a “big tent” but often pitch it awkwardly;
  2. Support some protectionist trade policies;
  3. Favor a wide variety of policies and proposals that are frequently inconsistent, anomalous, antinomic and occasionally fuzzy headed;
  4. Promote efficient government even though every institution—public and private—involves much inevitable waste, fraud, and mismanagement;
  5. Engage in pay-as-you-go legislation and yet privately desire to spend even more money;
  6. Spend Other People’s Money (OPM) to benefit others;
  7. Debate the use of force and use it when necessary to promote the nation’s security and well being;
  8. Prefer substance over fluff and allow others to display their own flags and symbols in their own way;
  9. Burn the wagons or drive them into the ditch if someone disagrees with them on any proposition thereby snatching defeat from the jaws of victory at every opportunity;
  10. Lose.

In the end, however, fear almost always trumps and triumphs over hope.  Thus, the outcome in elections in the last 30 years is not surprising.  The Republicans have circled the wagons; the Democrats have also circled their wagons after some missteps.  Could 2008 be different?

Bumper sticker of the week:

Wag more

Bark less

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