Written by Stanley Greenberg Friday, 17 December 2010 00:00
Fresh from a “shellacking” (his own words), the United States and its President moved into a congressional Lame Duck situation. This is not good for either party.
Many of the congressman and senators will be gone as we start the new political year. Yet according to our Constitution, they are still active in the legislative process. Each party is trying to fulfill its standard position. It is a matter of living up to stereotypes that are centuries old. It is almost a heritage of the past.
The Symbolic Posture:
Republicans are the greedy, rich fat cats of our society, and are rolling in money. They light their big cigars with $100 bills. They have only disdain for destitute, poverty-stricken, working class American poor.
On the other hand we have the big-hearted, kind union folks that populate the Democratic Party. The sweatshops of the early 1900s are long gone, but the strength of the union goes on and on, even though many former duties are no longer necessary. Part of their power is that they are a large voting bloc, which makes the politicians salivate.
A European businessman once said, “The capitalists and the union leaders both drive large, fancy cars and have a huge say in America, and it’s hard to distinguish one from the other.” Neither the unions nor the fat cats have any claims to the moral high ground.
Growing up in the 1950s in the Bronx, we never saw a Republican. The Democrats ran everything. Upon moving to Long Island, I saw the other side of the coin. Republicans controlled both Nassau and Suffolk counties.
As I look now upon the two parties, it has become a matter of Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Both promise to cut taxes and deliver safe streets and excellent schools. Promises! Promises!
In the old khaki voting booths, you were in a private world when you cast your ballot. Today, we have to blacken little ovals in an open-air cupboard. Basically nothing has changed.
The hullabaloo around election time is satisfying, and it energizes the voting public. After the election is history and the votes are counted, there is very little change in the life and fortunes of the electorate.
Thank heaven Presidential Elections are four years apart.