After backing GOP candidates for many years, the New York Times is not endorsing a single Republican for this election. They claim in their editorial that they are loyal to a “viable two-party system” and the Republicans are “undermining the checks and balances” that have made American democracy possible.
The Times isn’t the only evidence that the GOP is in extremely excavated excrement. All across the nation, voters aren’t playing the Republican game of running scared to the polling place to push the “R” points on the Diebold touch screens every time Dick Cheney emerges from his Sekrit Kummand Hidey-hole to shout “Osama’s coming!” It’s so bad that Republican pollster Glen Bolger says that, for the GOP, “It’s the worst political environment for Republican candidates since Watergate.”
It has to be “the worst of times” for the GOP when a life-long Montana Republican is voting Democratic in the second straight election. He voted for John Kerry in 2004 because “the Republicans tried to trash the man’s war record,” and is going to vote for Jon Tester for Senate because he sees Tester as someone “who wants to fix some things in Washington” in ways he doesn’t see in the incumbent, Conrad Burns.
Desperation over losing control of the Senate is leading the Republicans to use the lowest of campaign ads in an effort to sway the voters, but with the exception of the nasty Tennessee ads targeting Democratic Representative Harold Ford, voters across the nation are left “hoping for something better than Divorce Court.”
But, to the Republicans’ dismay (as the Democrats have learned from their past attempts to attract voter support prior to this election) the people generally aren’t buying the message.
In a completely unrelated, non-political Times editorial, which chides the publishing industry practice of changing the covers of books to match current fashions in order to sell more books to readers “because they look different,” concludes that such a practice is meaningless because “you could read almost anything safely camouflaged behind this year’s color-coordinated cover.”
So it is with the same-old attack ads, which have little to offer voters concerned with real issues except real-or-invented personal slander. The candidate whom such ads support could be “almost anyone safely camouflaged behind this year’s party-coordinated cover.”
The voters aren’t as willing to fall for the litany of foul clichés substitution for informed and rational debate as they used to be. As New York Times contributor Charles Baxter puts it, “[Y]our intelligence is insulted. You are not really being informed; you are, like a child witnessing a divorce, being asked to take sides.”
They feel, as the Times does, that “the White House has made it clear that it claims sweeping powers that go well beyond any acceptable limits,” and that “An administration convinced of its own perpetual rightness and a partisan Congress determined to deflect all criticism of the chief executive has been the recipe for what we live with today.”
Voters across the nation, as represented by voters in Illinois and Indiana, are dissatisfied with the way the two party system has failed the nation, but as there is no other viable choice but to let the party out of power enter it, they are very inclined to allow the Democrats to take over rather than continue to “stay the course” with the one party rule of George W. Bush.
The one good sign that this political bipolar syndrome is ending is the endorsement of Illinois Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney by the Rockford (Ill.) Register Star. Editorial Page Editor Wally Haas, speaking in tones that must resonate with many voters across the nation, said “The status quo, especially in Illinois, has not worked… Both parties haven’t done anything about it, so it’s about time to give someone else a chance.”
The Chicago Tribune of Oct. 15 rates Whitney as being supported by 13% of Illinois voters.
Incumbent Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich is facing corruption charges, and the Republican candidate is dismissed for the use of attack ads lacking in substance. “The red party’s pick, Republican state Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, has conducted a negative and unfocused campaign that doesn’t inspire confidence she could lead the state. Her main qualification is having a lower indictment potential than the incumbent.”
That is no way to inspire confidence in a nation’s electorate that seems to see the coming problems far better than those they have granted the power to govern for the last six years. They want a world of change, and they want it now.
Unfortunately, for now, we have to go around the two-party Maypole one more time. About all that can be said for Democratic rule is that George Bush wouldn’t be able to do more damage to the nation without destroying what remains of the Constitution. We can’t be entire sure that he won’t, for he wouldn’t want to face the same fate his puppet Iraqi government has decided Saddam deserves.
But the winds of great change are blowing, and astute skippers would prefer to catch the new prevailing winds and maybe get somewhere worth being, rather than stay the course and risk capsizing. By the time the next election arrives, we voters may well have additional choices for elected officers that we currently don’t have.
It will only be a good thing if this comes about. We can never again trust the fate of the nation to one party rule. Lord Acton’s Dictum has never been more true.