Celebrating Political Failure

Mitt Romney won New Hampshire primary decisively, but I’ll let CNN and NPR go through the numbers. I want to talk about his victory speech or at least one part of it.

Today we’re faced with the disappointing record of a failed president. –Mitt Romney

And his supporters CHEERED.

Who cheers for a failed presidency? I can understand cheering for a bill not passing or a specific policy being revoked, but an entire presidency? Isn’t that being happy the US and it’s people are suffering? Now this isn’t a piece to debate the presidency of Obama or about Romney not quieting his supporters joy.

The cheering gets back to my post last week where I voiced my personal struggles of voting against a party or a person, on politics becoming tactics and systems, instead of good people running for office.

The cheering suggests the reason behind 28 state primaries not allowing those without party affiliation or from opposing parties to cast ballots. (I only counted states with closed Republican presidential primaries. I did not include semi-closed, where independents may vote in the primary, which would add 9 states to the list bring it to more than 2/3rds of our states. Of note, many more Democratic presidential primary elections are open.)

Would the Democrats rise up and vote for the weakest candidate? The part of me that I discussed last week full of cynicism and disappointment says: Yes. We must. We must protect the presidency from a party whose values are about money and power and fear.

But another part of me, the political philosophy major, the idealist, the patriot, says: No. A democracy is about the best candidates. We should all want the best. The bi-partisan, the moderate, the person who believes in the country first. In healthy debate. In understanding. In finding common ground. Couldn’t that person be in either party? Or have no party?

Back in 2000, I voted for Nadar. Now before you blame me for the Bush presidency, I voted in Virginia, which Gore had no chance in. I voted for Nadar on principle. Tee principle that a 2-party system isn’t good for our country anymore.

Now Nadar failed to gain the requisite 5% to gain access to the presidential campaign fund for the following presidential election year. But the tea party did succeed in bringing some candidates to national office in 2010 even when the RNC was not backing their candidate. Now I don’t necessarily see a Tea Party candidate nor have many of the Tea Party notables endorsed anyone.

What would it be like to have a Progressive version of the Tea Party? Dennis Kucinich leading? I’m not sure, but it’d be nice to have a candidate who is thinking about issues like I think about issues. Someone who I didn’t need to hear merely promises from but I could trust to make choices based on a similar view of the country and what it needs. I’m a sucker for the ideas of hope and change which is why I canvassed and called and wrote and voted for Obama.

There are many obstacles to having a third or fourth party. And these parties would consist of the more radical wings of the Republican and Democratic parties.  However, I think many of us, who find ourselves lost in this election not wanting to cheer someone’s failure but at the same time feeling obligated to endorse someone who can keep our country from heading down a dubious path if only by standing still, would be relieved to find a candidate who we could believe in.

And perhaps with us radicals out-of-the-way, the Democrats and Republicans could find more common ground. The moderates would win easier. The money would drive less of the ability of a candidate to get his or her name and ideas out there because the money would be more divided. Compromise would not be a dirty word.

Perhaps the danger to our country is we only have for and against so we don’t even notice that we are celebrating failure.

PS. I debated whether to include myself in the radical left. I think of myself as a progressive and many of my visions for the country align with the movement; however, I am a firm believers in compromise and common ground. I think that is part of being progressive and perhaps radical but only because our country has moved so far away from compromise. So do we define people by particular issues or by their fundamental belief system? I’m unsure.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

7 thoughts to “Celebrating Political Failure”

  1. Sadly, both parties contain politicians who are so committed to re-election that the minute they’re in office, they begin pandering to constituent support which is oftentimes not in the best interest of the district/state/country.

    Congress is paralyzed by its desire to impress extremist (and therefore most vocal) supporters and completely ineffective; Obama (although I supported him and will again) has fallen short on promises perhaps out of fear that certain policies may jeopardize his re-election. I don’t know.

    I do know we need representatives, senators, presidential candidates who are not afraid to veer from a rigid “party line”; who will listen to their conscience; who can stand up for their beliefs.

    Then we as individuals could vote for a PERSON instead of a platform. Because truly no ONE embraces everything in which we believe…but if I believe she or he has similar goals, I can better accept where we differ.

    Unfortunately, I don’t see this happening anytime soon. Yet I think your theory on radical 3rd and 4th parties retreating from the Democrats and Republicans leaving more moderate options for the rest of us is spot on.

    If only that wish could come true.

    p.s. I voted for Nadar in 2000 also. In California. (Shhhhh.)

  2. I am beyond disappointed in my republican party. So much so that I think I am an independent but will stick with the repub. so I can vote in a primary. I hate the fact we vote for the one that has the best shot and not one that stand for what we think. Isn’t voting someone in office that you don’t agree with kinda backwards people?! I am appalled that this is the best we can do. Also appalled for wanting someone to fail. I hated that feeling for Bush when he was in office: Global Warming? Must be Bush’s fault. I am honestly becoming more of a fan of Ron Paul. He seems to be the only one that has the ability to treat other candidates with respect and keep bringing the focus to the country and not slamming one another or one upping someone. I always thought he was a little cooky, or I guess his supporters were more cooky and a bit radical, but maybe that was the only way to get attention? Who knows. He doesn’t come across as presidential. He always looks and sounds really awkward to me. Sometimes I wish we had no media access and there were no CNN’s and television debates and you had to truly go by what they stood for, their vision and not have to look like a Ken doll to get a vote.

  3. I appreciate your dilemma. Most of us struggle with the same thing. One real problem though, is that so many people, nearly everyone, thinks in terms of OBAMA VS. THE GOP. We have SO MANY good Democratic candidates who really need to get elected to office that we want folks to realize what a difference it would make in our country to have more honest Democrats/Republicans/Independents in various levels of government. Look at how legislators vote. Look at who pays for their campaigns. Right now our country is run by a corporatocracy (the super rich vs everyone else) and it is TIME for all of us to STAND UP and work to elect good candidates. It is TIME for all of us to try to amend the Constitution to get rid of Citizens United. It is TIME to say we care. Rant rant. I’m going to an open mic this Sat. evening to say it and to pass out voter registration cards. Love, Your Auntie Marge

  4. I was so proud the day I turned 18 and couldn’t WAIT to exercise my right to vote! Now at 45, I am so completely disgruntled at all of them, and the whole process, it’s really nothing more than a figurehead (president) being run by behind the scenes people (pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!) We don’t even get to choose who we want as president, the primaries determine who we may CHOOSE from. I’m sorry, but that’s not democracy.

  5. I am so disgusted with all things politics. I’m actually considering unfollowing anyone who tweets politics most notably those news agencies that feed on the fighting.

    And for the record, I am socially liberal but fiscally conservative. Whatever that means.

  6. sigh…you know I am in your boat.

    as someone in my local paper pointed out, we do not live in a true democracy, but in a republic with a democratic process. a TRUE democracy would mean ANYONE could run for office. It would almost be ridiculous.

    But how is what we have now not ridiculous? It’s all a power play. No one’s best interests are in mind except the business of getting elected and then re-elected and doing favors for the people who gave you money and so on and so forth.

    It’s why I can’t bring myself to give to the PAC that our union asks for every year.

    votes are bought these days.

    And that makes me sick.

    I just read a book about needing fat to be healthy. Even our dietary guidelines aren’t correct. They are what they are because of politics and money.

    I have never been one for conspiracy theories, but I do believe the government doesn’t care about me. No matter who is in office.

    I just feel it more now as a voting adult who happens to have a union job working for the state.

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