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Malaise, 21st century style

I've never been more disgusted with partisan politics than I am right now, and that's saying quite a bit. Unfortunately, it's probably too late to heed George Washington's famous advice about political parties, so I guess we're stuck with them.

This current bout of disgust was probably triggered by yesterday's Patriot Act vote, but it's not really about any one thing. It's about a political culture in which the important issues of the day are obscured by what might as well be a bitter collegiate rivalry.

The Democrats stand for nothing, absolutely nothing other than mindless, knee-jerk opposition to Bush -- if he says up, they say down; if he says left, they say right. I swear, for a party that holds the president in such disdain, they sure do give him a lot of power, essentially allowing him to dictate their entire agenda, such as it is.

Republicans, of course, do the same in reverse, blindly opposing anything viewed as helpful to or desirable by the Democrats. I don't mind some good, old-fashioned partisan mudslinging when there are actual principles at stake, but that's almost never the case these days. What we get instead are naked, partisan food fights.

You know what? I hope the Republicans lose at least one chamber of Congress next year, I swear I do. Yes, I realize that would leave the Democrats in charge. Yes, I realize the Democrats are gaping assholes, almost to a person. And yes, I realize their claims to be the party of fiscal conservatism are ludicrous.

But forget about them for a moment, because it isn't really about them. It's about Republican congressional leadership. It's about holding the party to account for becoming far too comfortable in power, and far too mired in the culture of Beltway corruption. They've exchanged the principles of limited government and fiscal restraint for the spoils of political patronage. I think there must be a cost for that, and threatening me with the specter of Harry Reid is insufficient to dissuade me. How bad could it be, really? It seems to me the Republicans were much more effective at holding down government spending when they were in the minority anyway.

So that's my wish... but it's not my prediction. No, I see the GOP losing ground in both houses during the mid-terms, but it's difficult to imagine the Democrats could actually gain control over either. Obviously, things could change over the course of next year, but that's how I see it now.

In short, I'm not looking for the mid-terms to change very much. That's a depressing thought, because barring the unforeseen, we're looking at at least another three years of this.

I sense this blog becoming decidedly less political in the months ahead....


Join me in becoming more philosophical, then?

Cheer up, Barry. We're winning the war, we're richer and better educated than we've ever been, and our political class appears to have bred within itself for perhaps a generation too many.

We've survived politically idiotic moments before--think Ulysses S. Grant's presidency--we'll be fine once this backwards batch of decrepit self-indulgent jackasses find their way out of office, however they manage to do that.

Meanwhile, democracy's spreading and everything in our day to day lives is as good, if not better, than ever.

Don't let your mood get stirred in with the shit. There'll always be shit; it's historically rare for it to be so far removed from our daily life.

Sorry to get all pep-talky, just sympathetic--I went through something similar just before the elections down here in VA. I mean, the guy I voted for lost and I was happy about it--if that doesn't tell you how screwed up the whole election was for me, I don't know what will.

So take a breather, indulge in some subjects you've been interested in, and feel free to come on over to my place for some subjects that are just too abstract to get emotional over.

Hope your mood improves

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