Hyper-partisanship and the need for an independent opposition

The very form and structure of two-party politics ensures the marginalization and exclusion of Independents from the nation’s mainstream political discourse, allowing Republicans and Democrats to engage in their well-rehearsed charades. Hypocrisy is just one of the names for the game.

The charge of partisan hypocrisy is one of the most common criticisms Democrats and Republicans level against one another. Essentially, it is a critique of what we might term political relativism. Democrats and Republicans will actively defend a position held by one of their own, but they will denounce that very same position if it is articulated by the other side.

The practice is so widespread and well-known it hardly requires any elaboration. Many Democrats who were outraged by most aspects of the Bush administration’s foreign policy, and once had no compunctions about articulating their concerns, are noticeably silent about the Obama administration’s continuation or even escalation of those very same policies. Republicans who stood idly by as the Bush administration embarked upon one of the largest expansions of the federal government in generations, cannot contain their anger at modest extensions of unemployment benefits under Democratic party rule.

It is pathetic watching knee-jerk Koslings on one side go at it against an equally pin-headed Tea Party splinter group. Neither side even listens to or cares what the other is saying, except to attack it. As an example on the left we’ve recently had the spectacle of progressives awkwardly defend TSA because OMG, the Tea Party and Drudge are attacking TSA, and we can’t be seen agreeing with them. This kind of infantile behavior really needs to be replaced by adults acting rationally.

If the Independent movement continues to grow in size and strength, this state of affairs will become ever more unstable and increasingly unsustainable. And it’s already teetering on the brink.

Good. Let’s all give the current state of affairs a swift kick off the ledge then start building something new.

Joe Scarborough is helping to fronting a new group, “No Labels,” to end this insane hyper-partisanship and restore civility in politics. It has serious backing and money and plans campaigns in all 50 states.

From the No Labels declaration

We are not labels – we are people. We care deeply about our country. We are frustrated and concerned about the tone of politics.

We are passionate about addressing America’s challenges. We are Democrats, Republicans and Independents. Most importantly, we are Americans.

We believe hyper-partisanship is destroying our politics and paralyzing our ability to govern.

We may disagree on issues, but we do so with civility and mutual respect. We believe in the vital civil center — a place where ideas are judged on their merits.

Works for me, even if I think they’re a bit naive about where the real power is in this country, plus the center is fairly quickly going to go one way or the other. In Europe the fightback is coming from the left. Here in the States, it’s clear the Tea Party is leading the charge, such as against the Fed, the banksters, and TSA, and plenty of them support Wikileaks too. So, I expect major tumult in that vital center, soon too. Which is all the more reason to end the useless and counter-productive hyper-partisanship now.


  1. Over here there are several groups popping up under the banner of “Citizens United” party political literature is banned, you don’t spout any party ideology, they have occupied several banks and other corporate offices and are active in many other ways. We have no big money backing and don’t want it, I get worried when money pours in, what are they looking for? A shift of power to them or power to the people?

  2. My issue with this entire issue is that as a registered No Party Affiliation (NPA) voter – we can do that in Oregon – I am considered by the mainstream to be an “Independent”… which is a political party. If I wanted to register as a member of a “party” the closest I could come would be as a Socialist (I’m actually a Wobblie) but that’s not why I’m registered as NPA… I’m registered NPA because I don’t want to be a member of a political “party.

    There is only One Party, speaking ’round a folked tongue and out of both sides of its mouth.

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