No Middle? No future…

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  1. Polimom, I have to wonder; who responds to survey questions? How accurate are the results? They polled “voters”? What about those that don’t vote? Most “Joe” and “Jane” six pack that I encounter on a daily basis haven’t seen the inside of a voting booth…………………ever. But all that aside, here’s one way of looking at this. What hath this ever widening divid wrought? Crummier politicians, more rancor, worse gov’t. Worse gov’t in the long run produces bad economic times. Those bad times are on their way.
    Great post by the way, I sort of meditated on it and two images came to mind; 1) the roaring twenties followed by the depression and 2) the political state of affairs in Germany from 1923 to 1935.
    One last point, have you considered the “effect” of the Internet on all of this? I’d seen a great article where this sociologist analyzed what caused the “Bowling Alone” phenomenon and his conclusion? Television. The same may be true for the Internet in that it may very well be seriously aggravating the breadth and depth of the divide, but (and this is a big “but”), it’s as to those who daily use the Internet and who daily examine political and socio-economic blogs, web sites, etc. I have to wonder what percentage of the people online that might be. The “kids” use the net, Youtube, Myspace, etc. Joe and Jane Sixpack use it to buy rodeo and Nascar tickets. There are 300 million people in the U.S. I wonder what’s the percentage cruising the Democrat/Republican, Left-Wing/Right Wing websites/blog sites/news sites, etc. Honestly can’t be that many; there truly aren’t that many who like to read!

  2. I think this is a good example of the “lies, d*mn lies, and statistics” cliche. Let’s break this down:
    * 86 percent of Democratic voters were on the liberal side of the scale (86% of 54%, or 46.4% of the total)
    * 80 percent of Republican voters were on the conservative side (80% of 46%, or 36.8% of the total)
    * Which means a total of 83.2% of the voters align with their party’s ‘side’.
    * 10 percent of all voters were in the center.
    * That means we are looking at 6.8% who ‘voted against their party’.
    And, IIRC, in most elections the parties are aiming to sway between 5-10% of the TOTAL voters.
    The problem with the “Deep V” graph is that I don’t think they got more granular than “agree with party line” or “moderate” – no “slightly agree” or “slightly disagree” or other moderating position, nor any indication on where exactly those 6.8% (which is a significant number) fall within the spectrum. It’s sort of like a rainbow with infrared, green, ultraviolet, and “other” – not a real good picture of what a rainbow looks like, is it?

  3. Gridlock is the natural state of our government. It was very carefully designed that way. The primary fears of the frames were mob rule on the one hand, and an oppressive government on the other.

  4. I think the problem is that, when the government is “running smoothly”, the end result is that more problems are created than are resolved. In fact, much of the legislation that has been passed in the “we have to do something” mode ends up being really, really flawed (USA-PATRIOT, anyone?)

  5. I would rather Congress get very little accomplished due to partisan bickering than for there to be some clear majority that rams everything through that their hearts desire. The more vocal the minority party is, and the more power they have, then the more likely it is that details about a bill are brought to light. This is an ideal situation, but it is not one that would happen with a 65-35 ratio in the senate.

  6. There’s one surefire way to tell you’re a moderate. Your conservative friends think you’re a bleeding heart and your liberal friends think you’re pals with Pat Robertson.
    It never ceases to amaze me a lot of people don’t recognize a moderate even when they see it. There’s that wide an ideological gap.

  7. “And gridlock would be fine, if we have no expectations that government’s role is to solve problems.”
    Post 911/Katrina, why would we expect gov’ts role to be to solve problems? We do a far better job of solving our own problems without the lumbering beast stepping on us, trampling on our rights and generally balling things up at enormous expense.

  8. Clay — you’re so right. Someday, I’ll have to put up a post linking to some of the disparate descriptions of Polimom politics.
    And Glide, as it happens, I totally agree with you. If the governmental disaster that was the Katrina response didn’t snap people out of this “more governmental involvement in our lives” lethargy, though, nothing will.

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