Harper’s Forum: High Noon for the Republican Party (7/08)

This is not yet online, but it’s an excellent discussion.  Two quotes really jumped out at me. 

Thomas Schaller:

“What’s interesting to me about the way Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama present themselves to Democreats is that Obama talks about building a governing majority, and Hillary Clinton talks about how you need a knife fighter–somebody who knows how things work, who cdan win bureaucratic politics.  She starts form the premies that we are stuck forever in this kind of 49-49 American.  He starts from the premise that Democrats can get to 54 or 55 percednt, in which case they don’t *need* to be knife fighters.

Kevin Baker:

“Maybe one of the reasons we can’t come up with a scenario in which one party forces the other into a major realignment is that both parties are skirting the central issues facing us, much like the Democrats and the Whigs did in the years leading ujp to the Civil War.  The only way to break that deadlock was to risk bloing up both national parties. And in the end, the issue of slavery did indeed blow them both up.  The Republicans were able to triumph only because the blowup was so all-encompassing.  That’s a pretty big risk to take.  Movre likely, the two parties will continue to do what politicians usually do, which is wait on events to force a decision.

****

Isn’t it reasonable to assert that the central issue being skirted is that the American economy only really works for about 20% of its citizens, and that the percentage is ever-shrinking?

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