Thursday, June 2, 2011

Party politics

Whatever happened to party affiliation?  It seems rather odd today that we must be "registered" with a certain party to vote in a primary election.  We hear about people a half century ago who were "card-carrying members" of one party or another, and don't know quite what to make of it.

And when we read about the McCarthy witch hunt for Communists, we are a bit intrigued about the general population attending political gatherings at all.

But there was a time when political meetings were very common and involved ordinary citizens who weren't committeemen, precinct captains or delegates.

In our day people shy away from making any public party declaration.  Most of us would say, "I'm an independent," or "I vote for the person."  Others would prefer to talk in ideological terms and call themselves conservative, progressive, libertarian, moderate...

So I found the recent poll from Rasmussen to be interesting.  It declares:
"35.6% Are Republicans, 34.0% Democrats, 30.4% Unaffiliated"

May I suggest there is a shame factor here?  The behavior of our elected leaders is all over the news and constantly before our eyes.  We are ashamed of our leaders, and with good reason.  So we look foolish telling people we are Republicans...and they reply, "So, what do you think about what John Boehner proposed last week?"

Obama has enjoyed more favorable ratings in the last month, now standing at about 53% of Americans approving of him.  Congress is jealous at only about 22%.

The party platforms are seldom read and even more seldom followed by the elected officials.  Politicians get all mush-mouthed and would rather talk about their ability to "work across the aisle."

The strategy is to appeal to your own party for the primary election, then say whatever you must to appeal to that 30% who are undecided.  Generally, that means to act as moderate as possible.

But those who enjoy our undying gratitude are those who tell it like it is.  We long for people who don't rush to the middle.  The trouble comes when they are labeled too extreme, and therefor, unelectable.

Someday, we'll learn to come together through social media and stay together behind a solid candidate.