The UnParty’s big (hypothetical) opening

Did you see that Ted Pitts might run for lieutenant governor? Do you realize the implications?

Ted Pitts is MY representative. So theoretically, it's time to make my move and run for office on the UnParty ticket. This is my big chance.

Except, of course, I can't. Newspaper editors aren't allowed to run for office, not if they want to keep on being newspaper editors. And I can't sing or dance, so I'll have to put the campaign plans on hold.


15 thoughts on “The UnParty’s big (hypothetical) opening

  1. Doug Ross

    Is that a McClatchy policy?
    So have your wife run… it happens all the time. You can just be the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain. There’s a local member of one of the school boards who is only there because his/her spouse had such a terrible reputation in the community that he couldn’t run himself.
    I wish you would run. I think it would be an eye-opener for you. I saw and heard things when I ran for school board that I never would have believed. Might give you some new perspective.

  2. bud

    I found the Broder piece this morning fascinating. It seems as though Broder has adopted the position that it’s crucial to have members of both parties support the president’s agenda in order for him to succeed. It sounds compelling enough and at most any other time in our history Broder’s perspective would make some sense.
    But now is not the time for Obama to continue pushing for bipartisan support. The stakes are too high and the GOP is too stubborn and just plain wrong on most issues. And they are very unified. It’s unlikely than on most issues Obama will be able to work across party lines. If he is to be successful in this environment he’s going to have to play to the majority not to the rump party that remains of the GOP. The battle lines have been drawn and it simply does no good to try and appease what amounts to an extremist organization.
    The middle ground in this country is now occupied almost exclusively by Democrats. The other wing of the Democratic party is controlled by a handful of liberals. In the senate the breakdown by ideology is something like 20 liberals, 45 middle of the roaders and 35 far right-wing wackos, all Republicans. There are only about 4 or 5 truly moderate GOP Senators. They are not needed to gain a majority. But there may be a few blue dogs who are.
    Obama may need to reach out to moderates to get his agenda through congress. But that is very different from saying he needs to reach out to the GOP. It’s best to let the GOP whine and spin the Limbaugh line but simply ignore them and roll over their obstructionism any way possible. Obama is learning how foolish it is to work with the GOP obstructionists. If necessary let them filibuster. Otherwise the true middle of the political spectrum will be ignored. And that’s just not something we can afford.

  3. Brad Warthen

    Well, needless to say, I thought Broder made wonderfully good sense.

    One interesting thing about it is that Broder is a kindly sort who doesn’t call people names, but he was really — in his polite way — calling out some of his colleagues as the partisan hacks they are.

    If you missed the column, here’s the link.

  4. Rich

    The very concept of an “unparty” is a political absurdity. Parties need to stand for something. Whatever we may think of the Republicans and the Democrats, they have defined their differences rather starkly in the last few years, and that is all to the good. The People now have clear choices.
    Take, for instance, the case of our feckless governor. His ideological perspective is unmistakable, and I would encourage him to seek national office and join in the national debate. It will only result in the further clarification of what is becoming appropriately a national debate on the role of government in our lives.
    The Republicans, by stressing tax cuts, trickle-down economics, de-regulation, militarism, and minimalist government that does little or nothing to help individual citizens, have been drawing the lines in the sand and quite literally forcing us to face the ambiguous relationship that exists between our professed American philosophy of rugged individualism and liberty over order that informs the thinking of many Americans at the mythic level.
    The Democrats, by contrast, are busily turning us into France. Personally, I think that’s all to the good. I believe that government is the solution, not the problem; that regulation and control of the commanding heights of the economy in what is tantamount to market socialism is necessary to get us out of the current crisis; and, broadly speaking, that a liberal democracy should broadly protect people’s rights against those who would restrict them on the basis of the deeply cherished religious superstitions while providing for the general economic welfare and well-being of the people.
    ¡Viva la república democrática norteamericana!
    Vivent les partis politiques!

  5. bud

    Let’s look at this partisan/bipartisan discussion in terms of the 2008 senate elections. (The house races are comparable but not as dramatic). With the likely seating of Al Franken the Democrats won 20 seats compared to 15 for the Republicans. That’s a fairly close margin. Yet when you look closer what you find are 6 McCain states that elected a Democratic Senator (AK, LA, SD, MT, WV and AR). Also, there were 7 states that switched party affiliation (AK, NC, VA, OR, CO, MN and NM). The 15 GOP senators that held their seats are for the most part die-hard conservatives. And yes that includes Lindsey Graham. Most of the defeated GOP senators are fairly moderate.
    Not only did the center of the spectrum move dramatically to the left in this election but the two wings of the spectrum grew more pronounced at the expense of the center. The far right actually lost very little. Yet the center was essentially gutted. So it’s not really feasible to pass legislation in a bipartisan way as was done in the past. Only a very tiny handful of GOP senators are anywhere close to the middle. Spector, Snowe and Collins come to mind with perhaps 2 or 3 others. The rest of the GOP has simply gone insanely far to the right. They are not reachable to support anything close to the Obama agenda. It’s a futile mission to try and bring someone like Jim Demint into the fold for any legislation that might actually pass.
    So what is needed is very different from what David Broder proposes. A significant working majority can be reached with little GOP support. Obama can get legislation passed with a 20-28 vote margin but with only 4 or 5 GOP senators. I don’t see a problem with a strategy that simply ignores most of the GOP. It’s not what the people wanted. It’s not what’s in the best interest of the country. And it’s not even practical. Broder’s thinking is out of touch with the reality of the makeup of congress.

  6. Doug Ross

    The pendulum will swing back and forth as it always has. LBJ, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush, Obama.
    Power corrupts and the corrupted fall out of favor with the middle 10% of the voting public that make the difference.
    If Obama doesn’t turn around the economy, he’s done in 2012. A Romney or Sanford or other pro-business type will be ushered in to captain the Titanic.

  7. Brad Warthen

    What we need to do is blow up the party system entirely, not keep the pendulum swinging. The GOP is on the ropes; here’s hoping that it’s in its death throes and that the Democratic Party soon follows it.
    We need to get to the point that when someone walks into a room (in Congress, at the State House, wherever) to participate in a discussion about lawmaking or policy, people actually have to listen to what he says before making up their minds about his ideas, rather than opening or closing their minds based on whether he has a D or an R after his name. Only then can we realize the potential of the deliberative process. As long as it’s about “my side versus that other side,” the situation’s pretty hopeless.

  8. Rich

    The Founders inveighed against “factionalism,” i.e., political parties, which they saw as divisive. They are nowhere mentioned in the Constitution. But the reality of human political activity IS factionalism. It’s normal and healthy. The idea that we will somehow get rid of it and just come together and reason with one another is both unrealistic and undemocratic.
    The competitive element to our politics allows for a vigorous exchange of ideas in an organized, refereed manner. The party system assures the vitality of representative democracy by forcing politicians to compete for the people’s favor.
    Some people deplore the fact that the Republicans all voted against the Stimulus Bill, but their “no” vote and our governor’s stubborn rejection of it offers the public clear choices when the next election comes around.
    We are witnessing a vigorous debate concerning the role of government that threatens to overturn the Reagan Revolution and replace it with a renewed faith in the possibility that government is the people crafting their own solutions, however painfully.
    I for one am enjoying the show and I do believe that unless the Republicans heed the polls and come up with a modified platform as well as working with the Democrats, they will lose the next election as sure as they lost the last two.
    Perhaps we will see an end to Republican hegemony in the state house (which only exists because so many white South Carolinians still reject civil rights for everybody)in favor of a renewed two-party system.
    With Obama as president–and particularly if he succeeds, even moderately–a new chapter in race relations has opened up, and that is all to the good!

  9. Birch Barlow

    What we need to do is blow up the party system entirely, not keep the pendulum swinging. The GOP is on the ropes; here’s hoping that it’s in its death throes and that the Democratic Party soon follows it.
    Then stop endorsing Rs and Ds! If you really think we’d be better off without them stop playing into their hands. They present you with a false dilemma and you buy into it. America buys into it.
    How about next time around you endorse “not voting for the R and D partisan hacks.”
    But this is only if you actually believe that sentence above that you wrote.

  10. bud

    Brad, I don’t think that’s the situation we have right now. It’s not the D or the R that’s relevant it’s the political philosophy of individual senators. In fact the situation as it exists now is not far removed from what you’ve always said we need. It’s just that what remains of the GOP is philosophically opposed to the President’s agenda. And I’m ok with that provided we don’t get all worked up worrying about the feelings of the GOP. They are an extremist organization, as determined by the makeup of it’s senators not because they happen to be Republicans. It makes to sense to regard them as relevant. The Dems will have enough trouble reaching a consensus without trying to wage endless battles trying to coax a few more Republican Senators into voting with them. The election made that strategy possible. Now it’s time for Obama to use the political capital he’s earned in the election. And what’s wrong with passing legislation with 60% of the senate? Democracy demands no less.

  11. Weldon VII

    Nah. Both parties are full of themselves. They care about power more than principle.
    Five years down the road, if New York looks more like Mexico City than the Big Apple, remember $8 billion for high-speed rail that oozes Harry Reid from every penny.
    Remember Lindsey Graham’s permissive attitude toward illegal immigration, too.
    It’s about buying votes, not veritas.
    And we’ve started paying one heck of a price for it.
    Let’s hope it doesn’t take WWIII to solve our economic problems and get us together enough to survive.

  12. Greg Flowers

    Newspaper editors aren’t allowed to run for office, not if they want to keep on being newspaper editors.
    Brad, here is a question engendered more by curiosity than anything else: What was Bill Workman’s status when he ran for Senate in 1962. Was he employed by the State, the News and Courier or neither? (is there a way to use italics on this blog?)

  13. Herb Brasher

    Greg, you can google an html cheatsheet and come up with the commands. You do italics by preceding the text with the open italics command, which is [i] –but I have substitued [ and ] for the sideways “carat” symbols (or whatever you call those little signs on the bottom row of your keyboard over the comma and the period). You close italics with [/i]. The same with commands like blockquote. Just be sure to use the close command for each one you use. When commands are left open, they tend to continue into all the succeeding comment texts.
    This blog isn’t very sophisticated in that it doesn’t have any nice buttons to push to get these commands–you have to write out the html commands. And for me, when I post more than one link, the whole comment goes crazy and never gets posted.

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