Thursday, October 23, 2014

Deeth Blog Endorsement: A Straight Ticket

Reading the Cedar Rapids Gazette's endorsements last weekend, I was struck by the same word over and over again: bipartisanship.

"______ has demonstrated the ability to work across party lines and make the compromises necessary to govern the country"...
"...we wanted to know which of the two men held a realistic view of what a first-year congressman could accomplish, and who could best play with others in a bipartisan way..."

"Given his continued history of working on behalf of constituents and bipartisanship..."
I'm here to take issue with all these endorsements, even though some of them were for the candidates I voted for, almost a month ago, and would have voted for sooner, if I could have, because my mind was made up months ago.
I'm here to endorse issue and ideological consistency, effective government that gets things done, a clear direction, and an end to obstruction.
My endorsement is for a straight ticket.

I don't even care so much which one, though I hope it's a Democratic straight ticket.

Mind you, it wasn't a perfect choice for me. I expect some Democrats to lose. I won't be heartbroken at some of those losses, or if some primary losers get another chance at another time.

(I won't name all the names. But I will note that Sherrie Taha is without question the single weakest statewide major party candidate of either party in my 13 general election cycles as an Iowan. She makes Tom Harkin's hapless 2008 rival Christopher Reed look Gipper-esque. At least he raised enough money for a new suit and a haircut.)

I took that stance months ago, right after a contentious primary. And I've stuck with it despite some disappointments, and even though some of my fellow Democrats have been less gracious.

But still, issue for issue, in every single race, every Democratic candidate is closer to my views than every Republican candidate. And if you're a conservative, the reverse is true.

You see, for the first time in American history, in the last half century the political parties have come to MEAN something.
For the full century between Appomattox and Brown v. Board, the two major parties were melting pots. The Tafts and LaFollettes coexisted in the Republican Party, FDR and Theodore Bilbo were fellow Democrats.

In that century, bipartisanship was a sensible norm. Getting things done required across the aisle coalitions and friendships. And the grandest across the aisle coalition of all passed the civil rights legislation of the 1960s. This is the era enshrined in our civics textbooks, tattooed on the brains of Objective Journalists and Editorial Boards.

And it's as quaint and archaic as a 48 star flag.

Not to mention 4 cent postage.

Because that civil rights coalition is what killed bipartisanship and reshaped the party system.

It's taken a transitional generation or two, but it's now been completed, down to the legislative and courthouse level. For the first time in our history, America has a party system based on ideology, with a strong overlay of region race and class.

And in the middle is only the punditocracy, pleading for "compromise" and "bipartisanship" where there is none to be had. The parties simply stand for different things.Things don't get settled in the back room any more. They get settled in the booth.

So vote for what you believe in. But be consistent. Mark that straight ticket and get out your like-minded peers. You may not like what gets done. But at least something will get done.

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