What’s wrong with parties, example No. 48,954

The day that Lindsey Graham announced his candidacy was a day like any other in the lives of political parties. This came in from the SC Democrats:

SCDP Executive Director Responds To Lindsey Graham’s Announcement

Columbia, SC – In response to Sen. Lindsey Graham’s formal announcement that his is running for the Republican presidential nomination, South Carolina Democratic Party Executive Director Jason Perkey issued the following statement:

“South Carolinians are all too familiar with Lindsey Graham and his disastrous policies. We know exactly what an America under Lindsey Graham would like because we’ve seen it here already: a George W. Bush economic agenda that props up the wealthy and corporations instead of expanding the middle class, a reckless foreign policy that endangers America and our allies, and a backward social agenda that divides Americans. Lindsey Graham is the embodiment of the tired, failed Republican ideas that Americans continue to reject time and time again.”
# # # 

You say, “So what? This is a run-of-the-mill statement from a political party.” And that’s my point.

Pure negativity. And not creative, amusing, incisive, entertaining or in any way interesting negativity. No, I don’t expect the folks who write statements for political parties to be Dorothy Parker. I just wish that, before they issue a release, they’d come up with something to say, something that hasn’t been said a million times, something that would make the statement worth reading. Something that isn’t so, I don’t know, soul-deadening.

Hey, I’d settle for an honest, factual description of reality, instead of this stuff that a party can be relied on to say whether it’s true or not. I mean, really: You’re telling me that “Republican ideas” are the ones “that Americans continue to reject time and time again?” So… how come you don’t control a single statewide office, or either House of the Legislature? How come the GOP controls both chambers of Congress?

And how about a small touch of humanity? An honest statement would begin with acknowledging that Lindsey Graham is a thinking individual, a rather idiosyncratic Republican in comparison to the orthodoxies as observed in South Carolina. He’s a guy about whom a reliable liberal such as Kathryn will say, “He’s a hawk, and I’m not, but he’s thoughtful, intelligent and sane, which is more than I can say of the others!”

Graham isn’t some monolithic symbol of a party or a movement. He’s a guy with a lot of positions, some of which a lot of your party’s members agree with. Which makes him the Republican that many SC Republican voters love to hate. Surely you could acknowledge that in a way that reflects reality, and at the same time stays true to what members of your own party expect you to say.

How about something like this:

One of South Carolina’s own entered the crowded Republican field for the presidency today, and that’s kind of exciting. We haven’t had this experience since Fritz Hollings ran a generation ago, so it’s about time. While we certainly won’t be voting for him, there’s a certain feeling of pride we feel to see a neighbor who faced a lot of challenges growing up in Central aiming for the highest office in the land. We were touched when he was introduced by his sister, for whom he took responsibility after the sudden death of their parents. He’s proof of how far one can rise from humble circumstances in this country. Sadly for Lindsey, he doesn’t stand much of a chance — some of his policy positions are just too sensible for his increasingly extreme party. That’s a shame. If we were voting in that primary, he’d be the guy we’d pick. But ultimately, there’s a reason why we’re not voting in that primary: As reasonable as he is, there are policies that he and other Republicans embrace that we believe are just wrong for America, and wrong for South Carolina.

The GOP field got just a little better today with the addition of our fellow South Carolinian. But it’s still not nearly good enough…

OK, I went on and on there, but I wanted to give examples of a number of things that might be included in a release that wouldn’t remind me why I can’t stand parties.

Yeah, I know; these things aren’t written for me. They’re composed to make all the faithful harrumph in agreement. And maybe it worked.

But you’re not gonna get a harrumph out of this guy.

8 thoughts on “What’s wrong with parties, example No. 48,954

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Of course, I wrote my proposed release from the perspective of a South Carolinian. And Mr. Perkey is not that. He’s a Kentucky native that the SC Democrats hired away from Kansas.

    Which could explain why this has a feel to it a lot like the “disastrous” (just to borrow that hyperbolic modifier for a moment) 2014 gubernatorial campaign of Vincent Sheheen — which was also run by someone from out-of-state.

    There’s just this kind of generic, off-the-shelf national party feel to the statement, without a hint of SC in it.

  2. bud

    Ok, I’m convinced. The party hierarchy can be bland and irrelevant. We get it. But it’s what we have. I wish there were more parties but since we’re stuck with the 2 it’s best to pick the one that aligns best with your own worldview and work to make that a success. Within the chosen party we can work to tweet it. But it’s pretty useless to pretend both parties are the same.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      They are to me.

      Actually, no: They are not the same. They are each awful in their own way.

      But in THIS way — the monotonous drip of tired, mind-numbing negative rhetoric — they are as alike as two peas in a pod.

      You are fortunate that you are able “to pick the one that aligns best with your own worldview.” That’s impossible for me, as neither comes close. (Or perhaps I should say, both offer some things I agree with — then push me violently away with stuff that appalls me.)

      And even if one of them did, this kind of stuff would put me off, and send me looking for a better way…

  3. bud

    Another way? Zero parties might be ok. I think George Washington wanted that but people just felt a need for party identification. Third parties crop up from time to time but for some reason fail to gain traction. Ran Paul is really Libertarian.

  4. Lynn Teague

    Bud, that part about finding a party that aligns best with one’s worldview is where I run into serious trouble with parties. I’ve seen people at the State House who align well with my view on some important issues, and they are in both parties. I’ve seen people that I very seldom agree with in both parties. I’ve seen people say things that I agree with, but I trust their real intentions so little that they might as well be reading Mein Kampf (with which, just stop be clear, I am not in sympathy). Smoke and mirrors.

  5. Lynn Teague

    Edit function, we must have an edit function!

    ” . . . Mein Kampf (with which, just to be clear, I am not in sympathy).”

  6. Brad Warthen Post author

    Now, see; this is what I was on about…

    Ted Cruz welcomes a new rival, Rick Perry, to the race with a touch of class:

    HOUSTON, Texas — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, today released the following statement welcoming former Texas Gov. Rick Perry into the race for the Republican nomination for President of the United States:

    “I’m glad to welcome Rick Perry to the ever-growing field of contenders for the 2016 Republican nomination.

    “Gov. Perry is a friend and a patriot. He served the state of Texas with honor, integrity, and compassion. Texas is a better state because of his principled leadership and the GOP primary field will be better because of his candidacy.

    “As with all the candidates who have annouced, he will bring dynamism and vision to the race that will serve to make the Republican Party and its eventual nominee all the stronger.”

    Where is it written that you can’t do that when the person in question is a member of the opposing party?


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