Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Realignment, Dealignment & How Zen Our Political Landscape

The Left feels frustrated by their current leader, President Barack Obama, not appearing to stand up for Neo-Liberal Ideals just as they felt with former President Clinton during his administration. What they seem to fail to grasp is that the nation as a whole has been in a long-term and gradual shift to The Right (primarily in a Secular Conservative Libertarian sort of way) since the end of  the 1960's. This trend runs concurrent with another long-term political trend, to wit, political party dealignment. Consequently, Obama who in addition to never having been a genuine leader to begin with has always been up against history. A third political trend that comes up here is that of American Presidents governing from the political Center their personal political pedigrees notwithstanding.

The Nixon Presidency closed out the 1960's and spelled the end of The Great Society finishing what the Vietnam War began in dismantling it. Nixon was reelected, the Vietnam War continuing during his administration notwithstanding.

The Ford Presidency was a result of Watergate Scandal and an accident of history. Historians and scholars are increasingly up with Ford and see him as more effective than in previous generations not to mention a victim of circumstances beyond his control. Ford felt the wrath of the electorate over Watergate and the misperception that his pardon of Nixon was a political favor, a perception that has now been thoroughly discredited. Ford was not reelected. 

The Carter Presidency was a reaction to Watergate and a bad economy and was a historical aberration. Carter was not reelected, the power of incumbency notwithstanding.

The Reagan Presidency was the culmination of what Senator Barry Goldwater started in the 1960's but was a bit ahead of his time and lost to Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson in the 1964 presidential election. Reagan was reelected and the Reagan Revolution has yet to finish playing out in American history.

The Bush 41 Presidency was a continuation (of sorts) of the Reagan Administration although historians and scholars are coming to increasingly respect Bush The Elder on his own terms separate from Reagan. Bush 41 was not reelected, the power of incumbency notwithstanding. This was due to a bad economy and for deigning to not keep a political promise he could not reasonably keep without shutting down the government. Sound familiar?

The Clinton Presidency was a result of the Perot Phenomenon and a reaction to a bad economy. Clinton got reelected because he governed from The Center and often played the part of a Conservative more effectively than even the Republicans. Clinton would have been reelected a second time (for a third term) were it not for the 22nd Amendment, Monicagate notwithstanding.

The Bush 43 Presidency was simply the result of a de facto toss of the political coin as the electorate was evenly divided and the results so close a lawsuit was inevitable no matter who lost.

The Obama Presidency was a reaction to the electorate's Bush Fatigue and Iraq Irritability and a bad economy and was a historical aberration. Obama will not be reelected although given the general weakness of his opponents and the power of incumbency history might yet be kind to him.

Lyndon Baines Johnson was the last Classic Liberal President while Jimmy Carter was the first Neo-Liberal President. President Clinton was a Doppleganger Democrat or DINO (Democrat In Name Only). President Obama is a Neo-Liberal President and nearly certainly the last such in American history given the aforementioned trend across the political landscape of America.

President Nixon was a Centrist Conservative, the Southern Strategy notwithstanding. President Reagan was the only Classic Conservative President while President Bush 41 was more similar to Nixon in degree of Conservatism. President Bush 43 tried to pass himself off as a Classic Conservative but more careful analysis of his record clearly indicates he was a RINO (Republican In Name Only) before the Tea Party movement coined the expression.

In other words, Bush 43 was as Conservative as Clinton was Liberal meaning not all that much. By now you are probably noticing (if not already before reading this) that the trend in American Presidents is towards governing from The Center even while appealing to The Base (The Left for Dems and The Right for Reps) while running for the Presidency. What this means is that for 20 years starting with Bush 41 all the way until the Obama Presidency the United States was never governed by either a Rank Liberal or an Archconservative. It is worth noting that Barack Obama despite his Neo-Liberal pedigree is increasingly being forced to govern from The Center to the chagrin of the The Left just as Dubya did to the chagrin of The Right and just as Bubba did to the chagrin of  The Left before him.

All this ultimate balance seems so very Zen, eh? I, Kim Patrick Noyes, approve this message.



  1. My head is dizzy! lol

    Majorly "like," though.

  2. I made a revision near the end in the paragraph discussing Reagan being the last Classic Conservative President. I omitted the Ike reference as he was a Centrist Conservative President and neither the first or last of those. I changed my comments to say that Reagan was the ONLY Classic Conservative President because that is more accurate.