An Earnest Cry for a Third Political Option Which Sounds Pretty Much Like the Democratic Party


Good news for all those pollees cranky about politics as usual, Washington Post columnist Matt Miller has the aggressively moderate imaginary third party presidential candidate speech of your dreams

The heart of Miller's argument:

[T]he Democrats' timid half-measures and the Republicans' mindless anti-government creed can't begin to get us there. Both parties are prisoner to interest groups and ideological litmus tests that prevent them from blending the best of liberal and conservative thinking. And neither party trusts you enough to lay out the facts and explain the steps we need to take to truly fix things — in fact, their pollsters tell them that if they do, you'll vote them out.

Correct identification of national problems frequently leads to truly terrible suggested solutions. Such as: Children are getting screwed by the generation who is currently in power, so:

A crusade to amend the constitution to lower the voting age would inspire a generation that's being robbed by the adults in power to enter the arena and raise its voice.

Meaning we should definitely:

Require national service. The conservative icon William F. Buckley Jr. was right: The proper response to the blessings that are every American's patrimony is gratitude. It's only right that this be expressed through a period of mandatory service of some kind by every young American…

Also, let's cut defense, sort of:

I'd insist we spend seven times more than China – but not nine times more, as our two political parties want; 13 times more than Russia, but not 17 times more; and 26 times more than Iran, North Korea and Syria combined – but not 33 times more. The result would be an annual military budget of $550 billion, not $700 billion.

 Capitalism is enriching the lives of millions in Asia, but we need tariffs against China and:

[W]e should use government funds to create millions of short-term, labor-intensive service jobs in fields like education, elder care, public health and safety, and urban infrastructure maintenance. I would also put Americans to work on the countless roads, bridges, airports, schools and sewer systems across the country that need to be modernized. 

But these are actually only the most entertainingly awful of Miller's ideas. Fellow Washington Post writer Greg Sargent helpfully points out that most of the bold agenda -- calls for moderate solutions on health care and tax cuts; being a "smart hawk" --sounds an awful lot like the Democrats's platform already. Sargent writes:

I'm open to the claim that the Democratic Party has failed to do a few of the things these commentators would like to see a third party undertake. But I'd argue it's still incumbent on them to at least acknowledge and reckon with the fact that Dems are far closer than the GOP to filling the fabled ideological middle — as they themselves define it — that supposedly necessitates the need for a brave third party candidate to articulate a third way

Sargent is right that Miller's suggestions aren't radical enough to warrant a third party. But the implication throughout is still your between the radical GOP or the moderate Democrats. A real change from the political status quo is not even a consideration for either writer.   

Further Reason reading on third parties. Not to mention, a Reason-Rupe poll on their viability.