The curse of the opposition…

The GOP had eight years of opposition to come up with an alternative to the Affordable Care Act AKA Obamacare. They dominate Congress and the presidency but have completely failed to garner sufficient votes for a change! What’s the problem?  The roots of it can be found in those years of opposition. They were so concentrated on opposing everything Obama and the Dems proposed that they forgot how to govern…if the current GOP pols ever knew! (Three do remember: Senators Collins, McCain, and Murkowski.)

Dems might have the same problem in four years or eight. A new ABC/Washington Post poll shows that a majority of Americans don’t believe the Dems have any real agenda, though—they only oppose Trump and the GOP. If true, they’re traveling down the same cul de sac the GOP did.

The curse of the opposition isn’t a new phenomenon. Years ago communists came to power in Italy. They were inept and didn’t know what to do with the power because they’d been in the opposition since World War Two and before. Being in the opposition too long often leads to complacency and ineptitude. It might also happen to Labour in Britain eventually. All the “comrades” in America should take note—be careful what you wish for. Lenin might have had good intentions—Marxists often do. If they’re not deposed like the prime minister of Iran or the president of Chile (both victims of the CIA), they can fumble the football of power and crash. And, worse for the citizens, the “reactionary forces” might be worse (Stalin in Russia, the Shah in Iran, and Pinochet in Chile).

An organized opposition can be a good thing if alternate agendas are proposed. That’s the whole meaning of democracy. But opposition parties get carried away and become myopic, and the media often makes it seem worse than it is. Conservatives and moderates in the GOP both have their agendas; they just couldn’t (and can’t!) reconcile them. The GOP is really at least two parties, not one. The same goes for the Dems.

In parliamentary systems—almost all European countries have them—many parties vie for power, and what usually occurs is that no single one can form a government. This has both positive and negative consequences, but certainly one particular positive is that the parties forming the government must broker a compromise. The two American parties no longer do so. Even within their own ranks, they’re so broadly based that they can’t agree.

Dems do have an agenda—progressives have had one for years. More center-of-the-road Dems, the “traditional” establishment and corporate-loving Dems like Clinton et al who dominated the party by hook or crook for many years, don’t agree with the progressive wing, have no agenda, and became conceited with their power. The infighting between the extremes of the GOP is destroying the party; the same is happening to Dems. The infighting between the old conservative Dems (Hillary was their leader) and progressives (Sanders was their leader) almost tore the Dems apart in the primaries leading up to the 2016 election—a truce was obtained (you can’t call it compromise) and this led to the adoption of some of Sanders’s ideas in the platform and booting out a scapegoat, the conservative DNC chair, Ms. Wasserman Schultz.

The public’s perception of a do-nothing Congress is mostly justified by sectors within the two traditional parties not getting along. How can bipartisanship flourish when there’s no accord within the parties?

Maybe Europeans made the wise choice. A tradition of compromise would do America’s two parties a world of good. Compromise has been murdered over the last two decades; it’s a victim of many wounds. If the Founding Fathers could see us now, their eyes would be rolling, if not filled with tears.

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And so it goes….

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