Dropping the Partisan Mantle

My friend and foil Shannon recently touched on a matter that has been troubling me for some time, and I need to share this with you.

I originally began this blog as a forum to discuss practical ideas that would guide the Republic through one of the most politically tumultuous eras in its short history. The nation’s political bipolarity has begun to eat at the sinews of the fabric holding this nation together, but more important, the political process has been either frozen by this bipolarity or captured by special interests and passionate ideologues. That has left scant room for us.

What I – what we – should be focused on is how to create the kinds of policies and approaches that will unite the nation in an effort of self-betterment. Is this idealistic? I hope not, and I don’t think so.

But that calls into question a direction this blog has taken of late: the salvation of the GOP from the ravages of reactionaries. That effort has put me in the unenviable (if not untenable) position of having to defend individuals and positions that have no place in a common sense discussion about the future of the union. What is more, the effort of defending a party is a distraction from what is really important: the creation of a practical-minded political movement occupying the space vacated by the GOP’s post-1964 abandonment of the Eisenhower/Teddy Roosevelt Republicans, the Democrats’ more recent abandonment of their Blue Dog coalition, and the moderates Ike once called “the silent majority.”

The intention here is not to create a third party, but to establish a framework of ideas and policies that offer these United States a way forward that addresses the design of our founders and the needs of all Americans. It is my hope that the Republican Party, seeing the declining returns on the far right, will move this way. I do not think this will happen in 2016. I hold hopes for 2020. If that is going to happen, we all have to act, and now.

I want this blog to be a discussion about policies and ideas that can fix our problems, not another partisan battle distinguished solely by the fact that I am fighting it from a position closer to the ideological front lines. And as we slide into the 2016 elections, I have no intention of dragging this discussion into a battle over candidates and party loyalties. The discussion will be first, foremost, and hopefully forever about the ideas that define us.

I also want this blog to be a call to action. Words alone will not suffice.

There is a simple reason for this. If given the choice between saving a party or saving the Republic, I choose the latter. If that sounds pompous, I apologize: the point not that I can save the Republic or even incite its salvation. It is, rather, that we must choose our battles, and I would rather spend my limited time arguing for the future of the nation over the future of the GOP. And let us not quibble: we stand at a crossroads. We decide what the future of this country is going to look like. I have no intention of allowing it to slide into a permanent bipolarity that by default would place the future of the nation into the hands of those holding the largest economic levers. After that, we are Europe, and did we not fight a revolution to end that?

In the next few weeks, you are going to see some small but important changes to this forum. The masthead will change, and you are going to see a return to an emphasis on thinkers that offer ideas, not candidates that offer positions or parties that offer platforms.

I am, as always, grateful for your feedback. We are on this journey together.

And, by the way, hello from America: I’m in Boise, en route to Phoenix.

1 thought on “Dropping the Partisan Mantle

  1. Dear David,

    Name-check aside — and I’m flattered! — the reason I keep reading is your basic honesty. It shines through everything you write, no matter how strongly I occasionally disagree with your conclusions. It’s a kind of “I don’t know all the answers but I hope my conversations lead to some…” that I try to emulate in my own discussions.

    This post is fabulous. As I’ve said before, if by conversations like these the party of Abe and Teddy (and actually Nixon minus Watergate) can be dragged back — even a millimeter — from the jaws of insanity, then more power to your pen. As everyone who has played any competitive sport knows, the better your opponent, the better you play!

    And if, for even a second, you would place me in the “partisan” column, please ask my Australian friends about my criticism of Australia’s Labor Party, who are notionally on “my” side of politics. The tragedy of Australian politics is that union thugs get preselected for Labor, and failed small business people for the Australian conservatives (called the Liberal Party, ironically), and only by accident does anyone with any kind of macroeconomic credentials get the top job.

    As an outsider, I feel I’m equally critical of both “sides” of American politics, especially the capture of certain flagship social issues — which I feel the state has no role in whatsoever — by each team.

    Anyway this isn’t a manifesto! Just wanted to say good luck, and I’ll absolutely be listening/reading and with your permission commenting every step of the way.



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