Paul Krugman writes about cronyism rampant in this administration. For me, the problem isn’t that cronyism is occurring (every administration is guilty of being partisan in their appointments), but that the appointments are unqualified and incompetent. I find it hard to believe that either side can’t find partisans that are competent.
This seems a natural continuation of the steady establishment of the Right Wing dominance on American’s politics. What little states identity and power there was left after the Democratic control from the Great Depression to 1968 has become eviscerated as the Right Wing has moved control from grass roots to the national level. The Republicans have done a great job burning their bridges in their march to Washington.
This is a pity. The strength of a two party system lies not in the balance between legislature and executive branches, but rather in the ironically conservative ideal of a healthy state and local government for the minority party to test new political ideas, whether that idea is the “equal rights” of the 60’s or the “right to life.” of the 90’s.
But now that the Right Wing is in power, it is important to make damn sure that they don’t lose it to republicanism. And that means pointing fingers at the mayor of New Orleans and Governor of Louisiana (who are coincidentally Democrats) while harping on the “let’s not play the Blame Game”1 talking point. (I’ll admit Ray Nagin is no Rudolph Guiliani if you admit George Bush isn’t either.)
So we have become a one-party system. What are the effects? Well it begins with replacing competents with wonks that Paul Krugman alludes to. If we want to see it run its course, we have only to look at Ohio politics.2
Oh well, if one expects to see a shift in politics back to the center, it is still best to look at the state level for the new ideas. I think the most promising area is in the western states (not California) and the most promising issue is environmentalism.
On one hand, that is the same starting point of the conservative movement (before it was co-opted by the strange marriage of religious extremists with corporate lobbies). On the other hand, the ship of state is sinking fast. America’s influence is waning.
Trust a Krugman article to make an interesting point even if his liberalism ignores the Democratic party’s collusion in the political patronage.
On the business side of things. On Monday, September 19 the New York Times will be moving Op-Eds into a pay-for subscription model.3 I’ll miss the Op-Ed greatly starting next week. I guess the ship of state isn’t the only thing heading in the wrong direction. Oh well, I still have my New Yorker subscription.4