WRECKING AMERICA: A BIPARTISAN PURSUIT
By Alan Nathan
D.C. Examiner | December 26, 2006
(expanded version of Examiner’s “Nation’s two-party political system is un-American”)
The vile and disgusting truth about both political parties is that they marginalize all of us by empowering the government to bully individuals with intrusive legislation. If their druthers were any more unchecked, Republicans would harm the collective good in the name of individual freedom while Democrats would assault individual freedom in the name of the collective good. Consequently, the only existing check against each is their perpetual tug of war with one another, and that leaves us with nothing but the pathetic lesser of two evils.
Why can’t we grant ourselves the least of three evils? Why not compel all players to veer away from the two dimensional, left-right view of the world by forcing upon them a new requisite for their continued relevance – putting the home team before their political team. More candidly, isn’t it time for an aggressive, centrist-minded third party to slap around the extremists and challenge both parties to be more than they’ve been to date?
In the November 18th edition of the Washington Post, it was reported that:
Veteran lawmakers say an effective majority conceives and executes a legislative agenda, while an effective minority exploits the majority's weaknesses, derails its efforts and lays blame at its feet, all while building a case for taking back control in the next election.
What this means is that despite each side crying about the high-handedness of the other in power, they both intellectually accept that the majority has good reason to isolate the minority. This is one of the most academically impoverished dynamics to be strangling the greatest representative government on earth and it should be stopped.
Currently they have a greater vested interest in their opponent’s failure than they do their nation’s success and therein exists our country’s unparalleled vulnerability. If one side genuinely has a great idea resonating with most Americans, the other will talk it down and undercut its success thus enabling them to call it the failure they had always predicted - if only more had listened. Insane!
Three of these more infamously maneuvered self-fulfilling prophecies were: 1) the Republicans’ twisted campaign against the Patients’ Bill of Rights; 2) the Democrats’ moronic attack against the NSA’s Warrantless Surveillance Program; and, 3) both parties’ mutual disregard for effective Immigration Reform.
Key to the Patients’ Bill of Rights was the entitlement to sue Health Maintenance Organizations for the harm they may cause to patients through interrupted care. As all members of corporate America are held responsible when they violate consumer rights, folks naturally questioned why HMO’s couldn’t be held similarly accountable?
However, under the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), we have a quid-pro-quo arrangement wherein HMO’s are protected from normal civil law suits in exchange for the patient’s right to coverage regardless of pre-existing health conditions – providing their coverage is through an employer-client of that HMO.
At issue was how we could permit the harmed patient to seek legal redress without loss of coverage, and still allow the HMO to have proportional safeguards from frivolous lawsuits. The popular Norwood-Dingle Act would have provided for that compromise, but was summarily sabotaged by the Republican leadership including Bush.
Equally inclined to put their party before the people, Democrats demonized Bush for authorizing the NSA’s warrentless tracking of suspected terrorists from abroad because it concurrently entailed domestic monitoring, which they described as unconstitutional and a violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
This argument sadly exposed either the Democrats’ unabashed ignorance of the difference between constitutional law and legislative law, or their hope that everyone else’s naiveté would let them slip one by unnoticed.
In both the United States versus Troung Dinh Hung 1980 (heard by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals), and In: Re Sealed Case 2002 (heard by the FISA Appellate Court), the courts agreed that the president has the “inherent authority” (i.e. intrinsic constitutional power) to conduct warrantless wiretaps for foreign intelligence gathering purposes, including those involving domestic partners to foreign threats.
On Immigration Reform, both parties yielded more to their donors than to their voters. Protests characterized the debate as if tightened border security and racial openness were mutually exclusive and this revealed an ugly myopia.
In multiple polls crossing all racial lines, strong majorities of Americans showed a sustained openness to a guest worker program and eventual citizenship for illegal immigrants providing that both were understood as contingent upon sealing up the borders because our government is already constitutionally obligated to protect those boundary lines.
On this occasion, the inability to differentiate between existing constitutional law and pending legislative law proved entirely bi-partisan in its stupidity. Unfortunately, the lobbying dollars from the race-bating left and pro-robber-baron right carried more currency than did our collective voices.
Despite all the surveys reflecting an impressive majority disagreeing with each party on its respective opposition, neither really cared. Why? Because if something is in danger of serving us well, better to have Americans denied than an opponent succeed.