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Gunnar, Maryland

Bill Clinton recently said to Jon Stewart, "when people think, Democrats always win." What Karl Rove seems to have realized is that when people feel, they're likely to vote Republican

Leif, you have exactly opposite. Liberalism is the ideology of emotion. Conservatism is the ideology of the intellect. It takes thought to understand conservatism. There are many conservative think tanks, and hardly any socialist/democratic think tanks. Quoting pathological liars doesn't do much for your credibility.


The beauty of the 2 party system is that both parties need to move to the center in order to get elected. Imagine voter opinion as a bell curve evenly divided between right and left. It will be that party that co-opts the largest chunk of the middle ground that will get elected. This contrasts in an interesting way with the European multi party system. With the multi party system the bell curve of public opinion is divided up between many parties and it is the parties that form the largest coalition that wins. What this leads to sometimes, is radical left (mostly) or right wing governments because you can form a majority by bringing together those on either side of the political spectrum. The Red Green coalition in Germany would be a good example.

The good thing about the multi party system is that politicians get to stuck firmly to their principles and people know where they stand. The down side is that you may wind up with governments that are skewed in one direction or the other. The up side to the two party system is that in order to get elected president you must move to the middle in order to broaden your appeal and thus the government usually is somewhat centerist and can only lean in one direction or the other. One of the downsides is that, as you noted, you have to say one thing to win the primary and then another to get elected.


The biggest downside to the two-party system, as it exists today in the United States, is that you can one thing to get elected, then do exactly the opposite while the serving your term, yet get elected again in the election, because your only opponent runs a bad campaign or is even a bigger fraud than you.

My experience is that the multiparty system results in a broader government than a two-party system. I'm spoiled by the Finnish political landscape, though, where there are 3 big parties, and several smaller ones. The winner either has to team up with one of the other big ones, or several smaller ones to form a majority. Contrast that with the US system where for the past and next 4 years, you will have a government, who has and will lean very heavily to the right.


Gunnar - even pathological liars sometimes tell the truth. Questioning my credibility because I quoted someone you dislike doesn't really make anyone's point.

As for intellectual content, there are a number of conservative think tanks that produce thoughtful, well-reasoned points of view - AEI, Hudson, even the Heritage Institute Come to mind. I don't always agree with them, but there's no question they are credible.

But there are also plenty of "liberal" think tanks that are no less credible.

But I don't think that intellectual arguments got much play in this election. Conservatives and libertarians are actually quite disturbed by Bush's policy, and they only endorsed him to the extent that they were more hopeful that he'd pursue their goals than Kerry.

The debate was entirely on emotional grounds, and Bush simply did a better job of appealing to the heart of a specific set of segments.

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