By Alan Nathan © 2006 Washington Examiner

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, isn’t it time for an aggressive, centrist-minded third party to slap around the extremists and challenge both parties to become more than they’ve been to date?

In the Nov. 18 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.”

So if one side genuinely has a great idea that’s resonating with most Americans, the other will talk it down and undercut its success, making it the failure they had always predicted. 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.

Under the Employment Retirement Income Security Act, HMOs are protected from normal civil lawsuits 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 and still allow the HMO to have proportional safeguards from frivolous lawsuits. Bush and the Republican leadership summarily sabotaged the popular Norwood-Dingle Act that provided such a compromise.

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.

However, in both U.S. v. Troung Dinh Hung (1980) heard by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and in 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, protesters characterized tightened border security and racial openness as mutually exclusive and this revealed an ugly myopia. In multiple polls crossing all racial lines, a preponderance of Americans supported a guest worker program for illegal immigrants contingent upon sealing up the borders because our government is already constitutionally obligated to protect those boundary lines.

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.