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U.S. stuck in the ‘two-party bully pulpit’

May 2, 2013

Common wisdom says there are two sides to every story. For every pro, there’s a co....

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May-02-13 7:32 AM

The real issue is money, who's paying it, and who's getting it. Until someone figures out a way to take that out of the equation, nothing will change. What you're describing would be wonderful if we had a Parliamentary system of government, but unfortunately, we don't. Parliamentary government brings EVERYONE to the table, and forces alignments and non-partisan cooperation. It also makes it much harder to buy everyone off.

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May-02-13 8:03 AM

If the issue is money, christopher, then the dems are at fault for sure. they seem to have a perpetual and large appetite for other peoples money. two party bad ? well, there were people for and against the revolutuonary war. there were federalists and anti federalists.. If we adopt the authors solution, the logjam seen now will just spread out with multiple factions, the greens, womens rights, social justice , gun rights, etc. right mow they are concentrated in 2 parties . Additional parties would solve nothing. for sure renee is using classic feminism here. Cant we all just get along and compromise ? well, alleged compromise is indicated as some factions just will not. same sex, global warming activists and tax the wealthy to name a few. It is just feel good stuff again.

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May-02-13 8:04 AM

When polls upon polls show such nuggets of brilliance such as belief in creationism, Iraq had WMDs, Obama isnt a US citizen, and now, 42% don't believe Obamacare is the law of the land.

All of these nuggets despite -- for the first time in recorded history -- we have almost all the knowledge of the known universe at our fingers via the web and internet.

An highly informed electorate is incredibly vital to make the representative process of government work effectively to solve our complex problems -- and yet, well, I'll let the above polls and others like them, speak as to the breath and depth of "informed" electorate.

Money may contribute to our political problems, but more willful ignorance and bigotry is more determining.

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May-02-13 8:05 AM

Christopher, I don't think that Gravelle was writing about that aspect of the situation. If you want an article about the money in politics...write it.

How about all lobbying by anyone offering money in any way should be illegal, that would get money out in a big way. But, hey, we have decided that corporations are people.

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May-02-13 8:05 AM

...I offer Steinerdzzz as Exhibit #1, to look no further as a personified example of my argument...

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May-02-13 8:10 AM

Dcronlg, your "Money may contribute to our political problems, but more willful ignorance and bigotry is more determining." is right on.

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May-02-13 8:24 AM

I heard Amy Goodman speak once...

she said to see a democracy in action look no further than to the NY governor debates..when ALL parties were INCLUDED.

I agree. All parties should participate in the debates. All parties should get time to express their views, and then let the people decide. Each of them has something to offer.

Same should be for our media, like this paper. Should it not too reflect all sides of an issue rather than just the right wing talking points?

Money talks bull walks. GET THE MONEY OUT OF OUR BALLOT BOXES. All of it. We are becoming a nation where we have auctions rather than elections.

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May-02-13 8:29 AM

"....Most citizens agree we don't want our representatives to be bitterly polarized...."

I take issue with the above quote, because in fact more people do want their representatives to be very polarized on the issues they support, they just don't want those on the opposing side to be polarized.

For example, let's look at taxes and spending. The left wants their elected officials to fight any attempt to cut spending as we as to continue to push for more punitive taxes on "the rich." But they want those opposing these things to be not be so polarized and stop fighting them.

The same applies to the right if the taxes and spending cut proposals were reversed.

We, as a people, are far more polarized that the writer admits, I know a couple conservatives who work at nearby colleges whom are completely ignored at work do to their views, and can't even get a simple "good morning" when they are passed in the hallway.

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May-02-13 8:32 AM

dc, you could not be more ignorant. creationism as taught by popularism , in 7 days is a misnomer. I am a jewel for creationism, but for extended periods of time. My energetic fuel uses ideas right out of the bible. the energetic means or strong force we would call it. Dc, you libs want perpetual ignorance , using name calling and no facts . You keep ignoring that you and everyone here buy my chemical wonders in the store. My energetic wonders work on solid science. But you are in love with the govt, not science. dc, you are the epitome of my way or the highway. You have no science just church lady gaggles, steinerdz, etc.You are making a fool out of yourself. The govt hardly contributed to the world we have today. Pure and simple. Any learned person like alvarez, von neumann, tesla or bohr, if they saw my machines would know immedietly how they function. they would also know that this is the dawn of a new and energetic science.These machines upset the apple cart greatly.

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May-02-13 8:35 AM

I was merely pointing out that money is at the root of an awful lot of the partisanship. Ignorance is also at play, lots of it. The internet may contain all of the world's, knowledge,placing it at your fingertips, it also allows idiots to find other idiots just like them and then feel vindicated because they're not the ONLY idiot. In the political arena anyway, the internet has not been a good thing at all, in my opinion. I like this article, USMCVET, merely adding to it what I see as at least a partial cause behind the issue.

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May-02-13 8:37 AM

Judeye, do you read this paper? they have left wing articles all the time. You must be confused. We had or have sarah, orourke, the LWv and their left causes, etc. Once again you want to be the judge of all, like a bigtime mommy. get the money out ? Huh, give poor people access to power ? are you crazy ? look at the cities, that is what you will get. let the people decide ? we had sterilizations , prohibition etc. gracious, you know next to nothing except platitudes.

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May-02-13 8:38 AM

" and everyone here buy my chemical wonders in the store..."

Jes' wonderin' . . . What's the name of the product(s)? What's the patent number?

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May-02-13 8:45 AM


I agree to a certain extent, but we have reached point that access to vast amounts of information is constantly at our fingertips, so money should have a much smaller effect that say 20 years ago when if you didn't spend millions no one would have even heard of you.

The fact that money still has such a large effect on elections points to the real problem, at least in my opinion, and that is the laziness of current voters and their need to be spoonfed information.

As for the two-party bully pulpit" I would love to see a viable third, and even fourth, party but sadly all we have is spoilers, at least at the national level.

These third party groups need to spend more time at the local level and then build from there as opposed to looking for national candidates.

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May-02-13 8:47 AM

dc, here is an example of my unlearned nuggets. If as science says they are protons, electrons and neutrons and these are the building blocks of all matter and we have living beings composed of these things, namely us, then the following must be true. One more true science fact for you, oh learned great one dc. If these particles exist as waves before the photon interaction in the famous 2 slit experiment,where pure probabilty rules, then my machines operate in the realm of before the photon interaction. If these forces exist and science says they do, then there must be beings composed of such forces. This probabilty world rules over our newtonian world dc. So we have proof of probability beings, aka the gods , angels and the like. how unlearned am i know oh great one, dcronig ? all done on my own dime, not one cent of govt money.

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May-02-13 8:54 AM

dk, you keep getting confused.To patent something is a mistake as it will be copied and a patent battle will ensue. Even in todays great analytical machine world , it takes a good chemist to decipher what in the world you just analyzed. You know, like those tv series like bones,cop programs and the like.A really good analytical chemist is a gold mine to any company. say anti frackers, possibly you should get the water analyzed at a good analytical lab and see what you have .all it takes is a little money and libs have a lot of that. The machines exist in industry or colleges. I amazed I see no response from any college person or industry types. No chemical company can exist without access to these machines. Dc, another one of my unlearned nuggets.

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May-02-13 9:31 AM

Campaign finance reform is essential if wwe are ever to solve our political problems. Special interests have the means to finance expensive mass media campaigns so it is special interests that rule the country. Humorist Will Rogers may have said it best when he said "don't worry about the future of America, We have the best politicians money can buy". This was a better country when our leaders focused on what's in the best interest of the country and not how can I raise more money for a re-election campaign.

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May-02-13 9:57 AM

Ah, I see, it's a "mystery product." Okay...

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May-02-13 11:22 AM

Very good points Renee. But as has been previously pointed out, though, it needs to start locally. You don't need a parliamentary system to have more than two parties, something we sorely need in this country.

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May-02-13 11:31 AM

We already have more then two political parties in this country. It's just that most of the other ones are so far off the wall they can not drum up any support. Like the greenies,Libertarian Party, and about 25 other ones that are even worse then these two.

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May-02-13 11:35 AM

And then we have this one in NYS, Rent Is Too*****High Party.

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May-02-13 11:58 AM

More isn't less. It's only more parties to play games. When special interests are removed and large campaign contributions it will go a long way to help but that's not going to happen. It is going to take a complete breakdown and bankruptcy to end this madness. Term limits are also needed. They shouldn't be able to use the Senate and Congress as retirement facilities. They shouldn't be allowed to stay until they are qualified for nursing homes. Four years and OUT!!!!! The President is allowed 4 yrs and 2 terms but the other's are until death do us part???

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May-02-13 12:16 PM

Marcia, in Gravelles fourth paragraph she says,"Unfortunately, this vision of government will not unfold at the national level until diverse voices emerge at the state and local levels." So you can see that she did not leave that out.

Commentor, You are right. Serving in government should not be a life's career. I'm for term limits too.

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May-03-13 8:23 AM

"The fact that money still has such a large effect on elections points to the real problem, at least in my opinion, and that is the laziness of current voters and their need to be spoonfed information."

I agree. However, with so many people either truly lazy or just so busy working, raising a family, etc that they cannot look up every candidate or issue. With money tv ads are bought, billboards put up, candidates can travel with ease to get to speaking points, etc. Gosh just getting the funds to put out a campaign to get signatures so you can even be on a ballot is expensive. Why some parties, like Green, were no on the ballot in every state.

Money does help in any election. Not too many people lose when they overspend their opponents.

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May-03-13 8:25 AM

American..LOVE THAT GUY.

You brought up another very good point about having more parties run for makes the debates so much more interesting and fun to watch. The NY gov debate was about the most fun that I have ever had watching a political debate. Oh..loved the madame as well..ha ha

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May-04-13 10:31 PM

I'm not saying that the author is incorrect in the premise of the commentary, but let's take a look at what would happen if we had 8 different equally opposing opinions, and equally strong parties. How would you determine a majority win? Would we have to do a knockout round first, to narrow it down to 2 or 3 that a majority might agree on, before the actual election? Maybe we could take the election a little closer to the reality of what it is, and have celebrity judges eliminate the first few, and then do an online and phone in vote on primetime tv to narrow it down. I'm just playing Devil's Advocate here, because if you really think that we have a divide now, wait until it is a close race 8 ways, where the winner could be chosen by 20% of the voters.

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