Last week, David Brooks observed in The New York Times that “Covering this upcoming election is like covering a competition between two Soviet refrigerator companies: Cold War relics offering products that never change.” Do you agree? And if so, can you suggest one fundamental change that might help avert the gridlock?
Joan Ganz Cooney: I agree with David Brooks 100 % and think he wrote a brilliant column about the state of the two American political parties. I certainly don’t have one fundamental change to suggest except to express a wish that the quality and I.Q. of our politicians — particularly those in the Congress — would dramatically improve. The Congressional representatives of the people don’t speak very well of the people. The founding fathers never expected that the people’s representatives would make lifetime careers in Washington. A first step toward change would be term limits.
Joni Evans: I think the answer to this question is about nerve. Some leader has to have the nerve to change the rules. The complacency of both parties is no longer in the public’s interest and the public is getting antsy.
I read Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch’s brilliant cover article on this subject in the Wall Street Journal last weekend, and couldn’t help but see an American revolution against Republicans and Democrats in the not-too-distant future. They compare our dual system to that of Kodak and Fujifilm. Both giants for decades — both fat and happy and ignoring the interests of their customers, both satisfying their own pockets and treating their customers like captives, and eventually… kaboom, the public had enough and turned away.
So this may be the time for someone with NERVE to start a new party, turn against the one they are in. It’s time to change the two-party system we have or invent a new one.
Liz Smith: Of course I agree with David Brooks’ sparkling analogy. The voters of America are the only ones who can produce an active Congress where one ideology has power over the other. Shame on those who voted right in the last midterm elections, they simply produced chaos and stalemate. SO FAR, THE RIGHT HASN’T PRODUCED ANY IDEAS FOR SOLVING OUR PROBLEMS.
We either go on in the stalemate produced by GOP ideologists who refuse to let the government recover financially because now, AFTER the Bush eras, they want to cut spending to the bone. And spending our way out of this depression suddenly doesn’t appeal to them. All this talk about socialism, communism, and fascism is so anti-diluvium and meaningless.
We need to act ON VISIONS FOR THE FUTURE and have a Congress that can enact Recovery Acts for the future, as in the FDR days, or we have to settle for the useless (to me) GOP version of do-nothingism. So only Voters can change the stalemate.
At this point I would say the Republicans “deserve” to win and reap what they sow. That is to go on being totally intransigent about taxing the rich, controlling Wall Street and totally dedicated to being POINTLESSLY AGAINST gay marriage, Planned Parenthood, Medicare and other social programs that have little to do with whether the U S prevails or not. Both sides know Medicare has to be reformed; give Democrats the chance to do it without killing it.
I feel President Obama might prevail if he would let us cut and run from the Middle East wars, which would reduce our spending, be popular and allow the job market to recover. But of course nobody is sure of anything anymore. I am very fearful of the wasteful manner (wasting time that is) in which we are proceeding. I would hate to see Afghanistan turn into a medieval fortress treating women as slaves, but the U.S. may need to save itself before it can go on preaching and ACTING FOR women’s rights in the world.
P.S. I feel relatively sure that asking America’s rich and wealthy to pay their share and cutting the Pentagon’s budgets back would help us to survive