Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Solving the political divide

I think I found the problem with the two American political parties: everyone is running for the same position, even if they're not particularly skilled enough for it. No business would conduct hiring practices this way, so why should we let our government positions be filled in such a haphazard manner?

So I propose the following solution:
  1. Don't let Republicans run for any position that involves public relations, diplomacy to other countries, or talking to the media.
  2. Don't let Democrats run for any position that involves finance, managing the country, or real power of any sort.

See? That wasn't so hard.

. . .

Ok, Ok, I suppose I'll have to offer a rationalization for this.

To make a sweeping generalization, it seems like Republicans are the intellectual party, while Democrats are the emotional party. There's nothing inherently wrong with these designations; you need both intellect and emotion to be a normal, functioning human being. Your intellect and your emotion naturally compete against each other every day, for nearly every decision. But when your intellect and your emotions are so bitterly divided as to be irreconcilable, then you start having the type of psychological problems that wreck individuals; and it's this kind of national neuroses that we can't afford to have.

We have one party that makes decisions so heavily based on cold reason, cost-benefit analysis, and long-term strategy, that they have to come out and label themselves as "compassionate conservatives" to try and convince people they're not robots. And we have one party whose platform is so devoid of logic and full of utopian fantasy that it has to label itself as "reality-based" to try and convince people that their ideas aren't really self-parody or jokes. C'mon, we all know that if you have to label your product as "Really Good X" or "High-Quality X", it's a signal to look for the exact opposite in the package.

Example: Republicans know that Social Security needs a significant overhaul and is willing to put up with some pain to fix it, but they seem largely incapable of selling such a simple concept to the American public. And Democrats care about the pain to "the little guy" that any changes to the status quo will cause, but they're largely incapable of coming up with the kind of fixes needed to salvage Social Security.

Further Example: Republicans realize that the war on terror is a long-term commitment that needs to be fought now instead of later, but they've displayed a surprising inability to make this into an emotional, resounding point to contrast with the bloody pictures from that war. Democrats, with a single-minded tunnel-vision focus, have accomplished the extraordinary feat of taking good news from the war's front and turning it into bad news, slander, and scandals. They've mastered the art of manipulating perceptions, a useful skill in its own right; but they've somehow started to believe their own spin, a fatal mistake for political operators in any sphere; what's worse, they've now deluded themselves into thinking they know how to make tough decisions and run a military campaign! (Personally, I don't think they could run a war if it only required pushing two buttons at regular intervals.)

So keep the Repubs away from the people. Let them number crunch and analyze and worry about long-term scenarios; let them run for positions of power, opposing each other on detailed, structured platforms of problem-solving--but for heaven's sake, don't let them try to sell the public on their positions. No, for that you hire Democrats. Let the Dems churn out charismatic leaders who wouldn't know fiscal policy if it bit them on the nose, but who can bite their lip and look concerned about whatever it is that bothers Aunt Mabel this week. Let them take the strong pro-America policies from Republicans, and work their magic of diplomacy as ambassadors to foreign governments, NGOs, and the UN. But for the love of sanity, don't let them set policy!

I think this is pretty fair to everyone involved. The Dems get to do what they do best - pretend to care about the little guy while selling a policy that does the exact opposite of what they're saying; and the Repubs get to do what they do best - quietly wheel and deal behind the scenes, setting up long-term goals and pursuing them ruthlessly, even if there's short-term pain to the populace. The best part is, the amount of hate and mudslinging in politics will go down, since opposites aren't running for the same slots anymore.

And hey, third party candidates will even get an increased role in this new government setup. Think of them as consultants, single-issue experts who get elected with a clear mandate for a narrow set of objectives. Everybody wins.

Well, except for the nutcases over at the Democratic Underground, who seem to think they're better qualified to run the world, despite all the evidence to the contrary. . .

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