Updated date:

How Do Political Labels Define and Divide Us?

How Do Political Labels Define and Divide Us?

I often wondered when I was a younger man why there were so many different music labels. The music stores would classify music as Hard Rock, Reggae, Heavy Metal, Hip Hop, Jazz, or Alternative. These are just a few examples of the cornucopia of music labels they utilized. What were the purposes of these labels? Music publishing companies need a way to categorize their music to make it easier to market to different segments of the general public. This also generally holds true when it comes to politics.

Politicians and political parties run their election campaigns the same way marketing and advertising executives run product campaigns. They pick a catchy label that they feel will define and explain their candidate in a favorable way to the voting public. They also use labels to portray their opponents in an unfavorable light. This all results in a myriad of artificial labels that political operatives create to define their candidates and separate them from their opponents. Identity politics has been created this way and it polarizes different political factions in the United States.

My goal with this article is to identify and define the most prevalent labels on our political spectrum and within our two major political parties. I will attempt to show both the differences and the commonalities among these labels. Then I will describe to you what all of this labeling does to our political discourse and landscape. Finally, I will describe what we can do to sift through this political brush and see what is going on more clearly. Both sides seek to confuse the public while demonizing their opponents while placing themselves in the best possible light.

The two major political labels that illustrate the opposite poles on our political spectrum are liberal and conservative. They are colloquially called left wing and right wing respectively. The liberals or left wing represents individuals who feel that government should have an expansive role in servicing its citizens and a moderate role in protecting them. They generally feel that government is and should be a positive entity. The label of conservative or right wing represents individuals who feel that government should have a very limited role in servicing its citizens and a more robust role in protecting them. They generally feel that government is in most cases a negative entity upon its citizens. This is the political spectrum that the various political groups and labels lie. I will now illustrate these various groups and the labels that have been assigned to them.

Let me start by examining some of the labels on the Democratic party side. There are less of them in our current era than for the Republicans. This is probably the case because the Republicans have been so effective in demonizing some Democrats with their labels. The Republicans have been successful in turning the term Liberal Democrat into a pejorative term. A good deal of the American population are unaware of most of the definitions of the political labels. The constant drumbeat of the Republicans have turned the label Liberal into an instantly negative image. Conservative Republican views on government administration are so diametrically opposed to Liberal Democrats that they naturally feel the urge to demonize them to the general public. Republicans have been enormously successful since the early 1980's in portraying Liberals as out of touch with most Americans. Further, they have instilled into the minds of many that Liberals do not hold the same moral values as the majority of the American people. This fallacy is the result of a relentless and effective marketing campaign by Republicans. Liberal Democrats have been relatively asleep during this process.

As a result, most Liberals have changed their brand name to Progressives. Their governmental view has not changed. They still believe that government should perform a prominent role in helping American citizens "progress" further in their economic security. Another prominent label within the Democratic party are the moderate Democrats. This group basically believes that government should have a less expansive role than Progressives advocate for. They are still progressive or liberal when it comes to social causes such as the environment, abortion, gay rights, and many others.

A final group that I would like to highlight are the so-called blue dog Democrats. This faction is much more conservative on social issues and taxes. They do generally profess that they wish to preserve the strength of the American social safety net. There we have the three major labels and factions that currently hold sway within the Democratic party. Progressives are the most liberal. Moderates are as the name suggests in the middle. The blue dog Democrats are the most conservative.

The Republican party has many more labels in circulation than the Democrats currently have. The reason for this is that they are the party most in flux in our current political environment. The principal reason for this is the rise of the Tea Party. Let us first examine the most obvious label and group which also happens to be the one that is disappearing before our eyes. These are the moderate Republicans. They tend to vote conservatively but not strictly so. They are willing to vote with Democrats on issues they believe in. These Republicans are also more willing to compromise to achieve outcomes that they consider important.

Another common label within the Republican party is that of the Social Conservatives. This group is generally religiously based. They believe that Christian tenets should strongly influence our governance. The constitutional concept of "separation of church and state" within the First Amendment is illegitimate to them. Their major causes are making abortion illegal, opposing gay rights and gay marriage, and opposing fetal stem cell research.

Another major group within the Republican party are the Neoconservatives. National defense and foreign policy are their major areas of expertise. They advocate for a robust foreign policy where the United States asserts its military muscle to shape world events to ensure its national security. They are also willing to strenuously push for freedom and democracy in the world including the use of force to make that happen.

Libertarians are another classification of politicians within the Republican party who have historically run on their own party line. They seem to have become incorporated into the party over the last several years. This has mostly been by way of Congressman Ron Paul and his son Senator Rand Paul. Libertarians believe that government should stay out of the lives of its citizens as much as possible. They believe that government should provide for basic defense and the maintenance of civil order. Social programs would not exist under a Libertarian government. Our laws against activities such as prostitution and drug abuse would be abolished.

Finally, we turn to the newest incarnation of the Far Right of the Republican party. They claim to not be part of any party. This faction is the Tea Party. The Republicans have taken them into their bosom and they benefited mightily from their presence in 2010. Make no mistake, they are the ultra-conservative wing of the Republican party. The basis of their political philosophy is that government is bad and should be shrunk as much as possible. They wish to slash taxes drastically to help to downsize the government. Tea Party followers wish to cut enormously or eliminate most spending especially for social programs.

I have shown you the spectrum of our national political dialogue and the many labels assigned to constituencies within our two major political parties. Are you confused or is the picture clearer now? I hope I have made our political landscape and the labels within it a bit more clearer. Political operatives and consultants use these labels to make their candidates and issues more clear to the public while also portraying their opponents in the worst possible light. These operatives attempt to exaggerate an opponent's adherence to certain views that the chosen label encapsulates. The public learns about these views and they are constantly stressed to them until they are ingrained into the public's consciousness. Labels are a major tool in accomplishing this task. Soon the public is only aware of this view or policy and the rest of the candidate's body of work and policies are forgotten. This is true no matter how positive the candidate's record is.

Lee Atwater ran Vice President George H.W. Bush's 1988 presidential campaign. His major strategy was to portray the Democratic candidate, Governor Michael Dukakis, as a very liberal northeasterner who was soft on crime and foreign policy. Atwater ran advertisements showing Willie Horton, a convict granted a weekend furlough during the Dukakis administration, who raped and assaulted a woman after he failed to return to prison. Then Dukakis took a ride in a military tank with a helmet on. It was a very unflattering and silly-looking video. Atwater combined these two images and cemented them into the public's mind. The weak Liberal label stuck. Vice President Bush defeated Governor Dukakis handily. This is the starkest example of one campaign crystallizing a negative label onto an opponent that I can recall in my lifetime. Atwater was very successful in portraying Dukakis as out of touch with the majority of the American public. All sides in all elections attempt to do the same thing in one way or another. The problem is that large parts of a candidate's views and record are then ignored. Governor Dukakis had a strong economic record in Massachusetts that the electorate was listening to and approving of. Dukakis had a 17 point lead coming out of the Democratic convention but that quickly evaporated after the Atwater negative media campaign got up to full speed. Governor Dukakis' economic record was soon rendered irrelevant. This was a textbook example of how a campaign can define their opponent negatively to defeat him.

Karl Rove was highly successful in discovering what areas of the country and what issues he could use to secure victory for his candidate Governor George W. Bush in 2000. Rove knew the entire map and political makeup of the United States. He stressed issues and values he knew would carry the south, southwest, mountain states, and just enough swing states to secure a victory. He used Bush's religion, "compassionate conservatism", and Texas toughness to secure the states he needed while contrasting them with the states he conceded to Vice President Al Gore. This was a classic example of a campaign using labels and tactics to divide an electorate in such a way to secure their candidate's victory albeit by the slimmest of margins.

Tactics such as using labels to reinforce identity politics have been used throughout the history of the United States. Mass media and huge amounts of campaign funds have made these tactics easier to deploy and embed into the public psyche. What can be done to sift through these tactics to make all candidate records and policies more clear and complete? The most obvious and clear solution would be to have all voters thoroughly research each candidate. This way all voters would develop a complete picture of all the candidates. Unfortunately, most U.S. citizens lead very busy lives and often do not have the time or inclination to do this sort of complete research.

The media could do a better job of illustrating the full records of all the candidates. Media outlets, especially in television and radio, jump on the most provocative statements and events during campaigns to maximize their ratings. Unfortunately, this form of broadcasting political election campaign news is not very informative. It certainly is not complete in any sense of the word. The media should perform a much better public service by covering each candidate's policies, records, and statements thoroughly in a nonpartisan manner.

Political campaigns also need to do better jobs at both refuting these labels placed upon them but also expounding more fully upon their own records and policies. Politifact.com is an organization that works to examine the truthfulness of all statements and assertions made by politicians and their campaigns. Political campaigns themselves should use this model to fight back against false and misleading statements made against them. Media outlets should do this also and some of them are starting to do so. Maybe campaign managers would be much more reluctant to employ this labeling tactic if the Politifact model became more prevalent. I wish the electorate would employ this method to some degree though I realize they have limited resources from which to draw upon to successfully do this.

The bottom line is that we all need to be more vigilant when we hear or read political statements. We must be cognizant of who is making the statement and what his or her political agenda is. Research the issues being debated and access different media sources with different political slants to get a more complete picture of what the campaigns are asserting. Never take one commercial or one set of statements or events as the absolute truth until you have checked out their veracity completely. We the voters are the ultimate arbiters of political campaigns and we must take this responsibility very seriously. I know that many citizens feel that politicians will do as they wish after they are elected no matter which candidate emerges victorious. The truth of the matter is the person we vote for really is consequential. The two major political parties are more polarized than I can ever remember. I advise all voters to study up on the issues and have a strong idea how you wish the candidates to conduct themselves in office and on the campaign trail. Then choose the candidate who best exemplifies your views and morals. Look beyond the political labeling and name-calling. Make an educated choice. Do your homework. It does matter.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2011 Howard Schneider


Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on November 10, 2014:

I sympathize with your plight at church, Kathleen. I attended a Lutheran church when I was younger and the head of the congregation was the President of the county Republican Party. You can just imagine the comments he made. The Pastor remained neutral at least. I do not mind churches and religious people getting involved with issues they care about. But when they become heavy handed and parishioners and others are treated as lepers until they conform, that is just wrong. I also get queasy when politicians wear their religion on their sleeves in order to pander for votes. Thank you for your comments.

Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on November 10, 2014:

"The constitutional concept of "Separation of Church and State" within the First Amendment is illegitimate to them." - You are referring to the ultra-conservative wing of the Republican Party. I can testify to the truth of this statement. I live in a metro-Atlanta, white-collar county, and if you are not a Republican you go on your church's prayer list. This past election period we had two pastors at the end of a service joking on stage about a Democrat candidate's TV ads. Our church rents space to the county's Republican Party so everyone who comes or goes gets a full view of all their campaign signs directly across the street from the worship center. We're collecting scrap metal to sell and will donate the money to homeless veterans. Admirable, right? The pastor made a joke (from the pulpit) that the containers were blue and ask the congregation to understand that did not indicate a political preference. For Veteran's Day he showed a video of a speech by Ronald Regan after which the pastor asked the congregation if it wasn't wonderful just to hear his voice again? The church made the sanctuary available for a Tea Party rally the Sunday before the election and the pastor was one of the speakers. I have finally given up trying to divorce my religion from my politics and, after 10 years of membership, I'm shopping for a new church. But, honestly, in this county, I will be hard put to find one that is different. When a church gets this political, I say it is time for them to start paying their taxes and register as a political action committee (PAC).

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on May 26, 2013:

Thank you for your comments and sharing, Aunt Jimi. I totally agree with your description of the main differences between Liberals or Progressives and Conservative Republicans. Liberals truly want everyone to be taken care of and no one left behind. We as a society are responsible for everyone else. Conservatives believe that government has no business in this matter and everyone is responsible for only themselves and their families. Further I consider that the current Republican party is a puppet for Corporate America. They finance them in every way now that Citizens United was ruled on by the Supreme Court.

Aunt Jimi from The reddest of the Red states! on May 26, 2013:

Blue dog Democrats are wolves in sheep's clothing. They are in fact Republicans but don't have the guts to admit it, and to be sure, one needs a lot of guts to admit being a Republican -- or they need to be so high on something that they don't realize what they're saying. I'm betting that's the case.

Republicans are absolutely correct in that we liberals do not share their morals and values. Progressives do not consider it moral to let people die for lack of medical care. Progressives do not think it is moral to insist babies be born only to let them waste away with no food or medical care. Oh yes, that's what Republicans want. They scream bloody murder about abortions, and then they complain about the woman they must help financially to raise her baby because she didn't have an abortion. They want their cake and to eat it too! Is that just plain ignorance at work?

Liberals want a fair shake for everyone and a strong safety net in place for the less fortunate. We think everyone should be able to worship God as they please -- or not. We don't try to cram our personal religious beliefs down other people's throats. We understand the importance of regulations that prevent greedy Money God worshippers from taking advantage of people by selling them cars that won't run and food that is poisoned or purposely mislabeled.

An interesting hub Mr. Schneider. Voted you up, etc. Will share.

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on March 20, 2013:

Knowledge and research will definitely tear away at these labels and make the political advertising campaigns worthless on all sides. Third party candidates would be able to get into the game because of the negation of expensive advertising. Our politics would be much more honest as well as fulfilling. Unfortunately the vast majority of voters rely on this deceptive marketing. Thank you for your excellent comments, MrsBrownsParlour.

MrsBrownsParlour on March 20, 2013:

I found this article and conversation threads very interesting. Labels do divide us---but research, knowledge, and civilized debate can bridge the differences or at least let us coexist with less animosity. Regardless of political leanings, all citizens would benefit from more information and less slander in campaigns. Any measures that bring a candidate's actual voting record and positions before the public eye would educate voters. I am highly in favor of raising "third-party" candidates' profiles in the media too. We should be voting for individuals and leaders, not marketing campaigns.

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on January 26, 2013:

I totally agree with you, Steven. Our first government under the Constitution was formed that way. Unfortunately it quickly fell into parties of Federalists headed by Alexander Hamilton and Democratic-Republicans headed by Thomas Jefferson. It would be more advantageous for our politicians to simply follow their own views rather than sinking into their party lines. Money has a lot to do with it also. Thank you for your wise comments, Steven.

Steven Dison from Hermann, MO on January 26, 2013:

Great hub! I honestly think we should do away with political labels and parties. I think we should simply have debates between politicians. They will have to explain their positions on issues, just like any other politician, but we wouldn't have this stigma of, "Oh, he's a liberal, so therefore he believes in this." It confines us to a certain ideology. Many Republicans are afraid of compromising because in the current climate, that's the party line. To not compromise. It would be very freeing to not have such labels and would certainly reduce the partisanship in Congress if they didn't see it as "it's us against them." Probably impossible, but it's nice to dream.

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on January 24, 2013:

You are very welcome, Tammy. Thank you for your insightful comments. Candidates, parties, and special interest groups spend much of their money to muddy the waters and drown others out. This often works but this last election it did not. Yes, it was close but truth prevailed. Everyone must remain vigilant against this nonsense for the elections to come.

Tammy Barnette on January 24, 2013:

HSchneider, Fantastic hub, very good research and very well articulated. It is our responsibility as the people to do our research, so many just listen to sound bytes and vote off commercials, it's scary. It seems they either use money to refute the claims of the opponent or to just sling there own mud, best mud slinger will win...darn shame...So many lies were told about Obama and that race was so close...too close! Thanks for such a great read:)

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on June 16, 2012:

Thank you very much Dr Funom Makama. I am glad you appreciated it.

Dr Funom Makama from Europe on June 16, 2012:

This is lovely.... A fantastic share..

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on January 31, 2012:

Thank you Michabelle. I agree with you that there are certain hyperbolic issue that accentuate the divisions in this country. Take them away and we would be much closer in political attitudes. The media is guilty because they love to play up these major differences because it creates conflict and controversy. This drives ratings. You are quite correct. You are also correct that it is all about money especially after the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. Money is flooding our political system and is corrupting it horribly. Thanks for your comments.

michabelle on January 31, 2012:

Interesting hub, HS and I've often thought if we could create a little quiz where questions address distinguishing political characteristics, it may prove to some folks they aren't members of the "political flavor" they had once believed themselves to be.

For instance if you took (for example only) an Ultra-Conservative person, exactly which characteristics would be removed to create a moderate? And of those, which "liberal" view would include him with that [terrifying] class of people?

I believe the media is guilty in creating many of these illusions. When it comes down to brass tacks there really aren't that many divisions. But the hype and sensationalism the media gets from stirring the pot raises ratings and of course, as always.... it's always inevitably about the money.

Good thoughts, nice hub!

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on November 13, 2011:

Thank you very much for your kind comments, Jo. I dislike labels also because they stop us from thinking. Everyone and everything is much more than just a label.

Jo_Goldsmith11 on November 13, 2011:

A real interesting read. I don't like labels of any kind. A great thoughtful piece and educating too. voted it up and shared. take care

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on October 19, 2011:

Thank you Cinpit8812. Separation of church and state is not explicitly written in the Constitution. If one reads the writings of our Founders, they definitely saw our government being religiously neutral. Separation of church and state is thus implied. Most legal scholars agree with this for years now.

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on October 19, 2011:

You are right, PoliticsNOW. If the GOP is successful in rolling back the new financial regulations, the same financial nonsense will occur again. This will ensure another meltdown and subsequent bailout.

Cinpit8812 from Los Angeles on October 19, 2011:

Texasbeta, I wholeheartedly echo your sentiments regarding the continuous distortion of facts by the extreme right. I am glad you brought up the "separation of church" issue. Granted, those words were not mentioned in the Constitution, but one of the founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, addressed this very point in a letter in 1802 to the Danbury Baptist Association. To quote President Jefferson, "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."

Also, Tea Partyers, Republicans, and some Democrats repeatedly insist this great country was founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs. This is patently untrue as evidenced by Article 11 of the June 7, 1797 Treaty Of Tripoli, which states, "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

As you already know, Texasbeta, these irrefutable facts mean nothing to Tea Partyers and their ilk. The Tea Partyers propensity for deliberately distorting facts in order to suit their purpose or further their extremist agenda. It seems the Tea Partyers have taken American history lessons from Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry. Excellent comment, Texasbeta.

PoliticsNOW from New York on October 19, 2011:

Republicans want to roll back regulations on wall street to a time before ENRON with no replacement plan? What do you want 2008 to happen again. James

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on October 19, 2011:

Thank you for your comments TexasBeta.

Texasbeta on October 19, 2011:

James - The only people I know who have read Alinksy are Republicans. If you are discussing manipulators who distort facts to suit their cause, Phyllis Schlafly, Frank Schaeffer, Pat Robertson, Jerry Fallwell, Lee Atwater, Grover Norquist, Dick Army, Newt Gingrich, Jack Abramoff, Ralph Reed, the entire K Street clan...we can go on forever. Why? Because conservatives are the most notorious for their distortion of facts, including YOU. In the same paragraph you accuse Democrats of distorting facts, you claim Obama is a marxist. You are not called a racist because you falsely claim he is a marxist, it is because you personally are a racist. I direct the readers to your hub Generation Zero for evidence.

You are right..the words Separation of Church and State do not appear together in the Constitution. Do you know what other words don't? Jesus, God, or the Bible.

You really claim distortion of facts? How about this? You Republicans constantly claim class warfare and pitting Americans against Americans, while pitting your voters against: gays, unions, EPA, Planned Parenthood, the unemployed, the poor, minorities, Mexican Americans, people on welfare or unemployment, protestors who don't protest what you want, the 50% who don't pay income taxes, feminists, Mormons, Athiests, Muslims, anyone not an evangelical, Hollywood, CNN, MSNBC, Jon Stewart, anyone who wants regulation on the market...want me to go on?

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on October 19, 2011:

Cinpit, It would be wonderful if the voters would seriously take the time to analyze their own views, philosophies, and values and then attempt to see how the candidates size up with them. This would be instead of following candidates blindly who have catchy phrases like 9-9-9 or other such nonsensical labels. Unfortunately these are like catnip to voters. I know voters work hard and have little time to analyze candidates but it is vital to our society that they attempt to do this. I feel that this Republican nonsense via the Tea Party influence would then be exposed for the inhumane nonsense that it is.

Cinpit8812 from Los Angeles on October 18, 2011:

I agree. In this next election, Americans have an opportunity to set aside their blinding rage at the "other" political party or parties, their preconceived and often ignorant ideas about the issues, and inform themselves as much as possible before they cast their important vote. HSchneider, I feel there is a growing strain of anti-intellectualism, often referred to or mistaken for eltism, that is permeated our society. Being an educated person, I am sure you have heard of and read that seminal book by Richard Hofstadter "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life." It is as relevant tday as it was in 1963 when it was written.

As for the tragedy you spoke of, I fear even that might not be able to have Americans begin to come together. Of course, you recall the Gabrielle "Gabby" Giffords shooting. Instead of bringing Democrats and Republicans together, the tragedy was politicized by both sides, especially the Republican side, and the loss of life and emotional/psychological damage to the victims and their families also became an afterthought or an issue to be exploited for political points.

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on October 18, 2011:

Thank you Cinpit8812. I agree that the polarization is intensifying. Hopefully the voters will send the politicians a lesson in bipartisanship with their votes in 2012. I hope your sentiment about the post 9/11 togetherness recurs at some point. Hopefully not after a tragedy.

Cinpit8812 from Los Angeles on October 18, 2011:

Excellent summation of the differences of the political parties and how they divide us, HSchneider. Unfortunately, it seems this polarization in the political arena does not appear to be lessening and, if anything, is becoming even more poisonuous. I do not see the situation improving in the near future. The 2012 Presidential election will only serve to stoke more ignorance, hatred, and bizarre conspiracy theories. Hopefully, America can remember the day after 9/11. We actually came together as one.

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on October 16, 2011:

Thank you Auntie D. One of the biggest problems in this country is a lack of an attempt to understand the issues and candidates when voting. People accept the soundbites the campaigns offer. One must look beyiond them and select a candidate that matches their views and values.

Auntie D from California on October 16, 2011:

Very interesting especially your paragraph on Democrats. I think most people would rather do anything rather than take the time to read and learn more about who and what issues they are voting for. I know many who simply don't understand what the Republicans are about and continue to vote as their parents did. Heads in the sand. Gripe about their taxes and blame it on welfare, etc. and ignore what the corps and wall street are doing. Not ignorant, just plain stupid.

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on September 28, 2011:

Thank you MysteryWords. The Republicans are masters of drumming their points into the public's minds incessantly until it becomes fact in their minds. Unfortunately most citizens are too busy or too lazy to do the research to discover the veracity of these statements. I appreciate your comments.

mysterywords on September 28, 2011:

I just flat out like this hub. Wow...this is great and a relief to know that more people out there are sick of the republicans telling the public what awful people democrats are.

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on September 22, 2011:

Inside and outside the beltway is a great divide in American politics. Many of our politicians seem to have no sense of the suffering going amongst the citizenry. They seem much more predisposed to solving political issues rather than every day issues that affect all Americans. Thank you very much for your comments, JT.

JT Walters from Florida on September 22, 2011:

Hi HSchnieder,

There are people inside the beltway and those outside the beltway and that is the only division or label we should pay attention to. Inside and out.

Great Hub though and it is very thought provoking. I think we are all looking at how we are being divdied.


Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on September 22, 2011:

Thank you very much My Esoteric. I tried to take an objective look at political labels but I guess the chasm in politics between James and I was a bit too wide for me to fully achieve that to his satisfaction. Money is threatening to destroy our democracy and now the Citizens United decision has give given it the imprimatur of being legal and just. You are correct that the Progressives have rarely been in the forefront of politics in our history. When they have been, they have carried this country very far forward in its justice and fairness to the people. Finally do not be disturbed about any lessening of comments on your Hubs. I believe it to be proof of the depth and detail with which you prove your points. Your opponents are generally at a loss to challenge you so they refrain from doing so. Keep up your wonderful Hubs no matter what. They are very valuable.

Scott Belford from Keystone Heights, FL on September 22, 2011:

Awesume Hub, HS, and I rated it so; will also link to it. Great comments as well; I seem to have scared many from commenting on my hubs, sad, although I am very appreciative you keep up the hub spirit.

As was mentioned in the comments, money seems to hold the key and so long as the US Supreme Court's interpretation of the Constitution, and that is all it is, an interpretation, that spending money by corporations, this includes labor unions, PACs, and other such non-human entities on an election is equivalent to speech, then our election process is only going to get worse.

You are very right, and @James very wrong at the moment, that the Right has a monopoly on effective propoganda in demonizing the other side. As a bow to @James, however, I caveated it with "at the moment", because it hasn't always been so and probably won't be in the future, but it certainly is now for the reasons you, @HS, mention.

It might be interesting to note that throughout it's history, "progressives" (which I put to the right of liberals, but will accept your more researched position) have had influence only three times in history, the development and passage of the U.S. Constitution, John Adams presidency, and the period 1935 - 1980. The rest, America has been ruled, in the main, by what today would be called Tea Partyers, to Conservatives, and occasionally, moderate Republicans (the kicker, of course, is all of these politicians gained power under the Democrat, or similar, label.)

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on September 10, 2011:

James, Thank you for your comments and I do feel I was being accurate and objective. Obviously your political views which are very different than mine have you seeing this subject out of a very different prism. I will agree that there are and were some Liberals who were and are extremely virolent and far left in their rhetoric. They do not make up more than a small fringe of the Democratic party today. 5 to 10% at the most. Unfortunately the majority of the Republican party is now very far to the right on the political spectrum. Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan would not know this Republican party. I stick to my point that the GOP has successfully smeared the Liberals and I wish the Left would fight back more vehemently. Lee Atwater began this with his politics of lies and hate in the 1980's. Karl Rove learned from him and fine tuned his tactics. The "Separation of Church and State" was always implied in the Bill of Rights. Many of the Founding Fathers were quite religious but they knew the inherent dangers of religious influence on government. Many of their ancestors fled England for this very reason. We have argued this before and we will have to disagree. I know your views on the pristine culture of Christianity and how it is the greatest thing to happen to the world and our nation. I believe this is ridiculous and gives a basis for others groups to be scorned and discriminated against. Christianity has done a lot of good and its values are good. My belief is that those who follow them too fanatically have no tolerance for those who believe differently. Social conservatives often act as zealots because they feel that God is backing them on everything. Who can ever know such a thing? The Tea party was created with funding from the Koch Brothers. They are pawns to promote their low tax and low regulation philosophy. This philosophy will create a corporate autocracy in this country if left unchecked. Tea Partiers do not know this because they have been fed lies by the Koch minions. They prey on these people's insecurities and fears. If they truly knew the Koch Brothers goals which will destroy the middle working class, they would revile them. I know your response will be that George Soros does the same thing. Yes, he gives a lot of money to liberal causes but he does not organize groups like Citizens United, ALEC, and many others to hijack our democracy and government. The Kochs hold biannual secret conclaves to perpetuate their goals. Soros does not attempt this sort of insidious and evil power play. Politifact.com plays it straight and rates the truthfulness of political statements of all stripes. That is what I know. They find both sides lie or exaggerate. You just cannot stand the fact that they show that the Right does it much more often. I am glad we could agree on a lot and I appreciate your acknowledging those points. As we can both see from our comments and articles, we have tremendous disparate perceptions and views on many other issues which we will have to continue to debate and disagree upon.

James A Watkins from Chicago on September 10, 2011:

As your article began and proceeded I was enjoying it and thinking, "Hey! Ole Schneider is going try to be objective!"

But then there was this: " . . . on the Democratic party side. There are less of them in our current era than for the Republicans. This is probably the case because the Republicans have been so effective in demonizing some Democrats with their labels."

That is horseshit and you know it. There is no Saul Alinsky type or Herbert Marcuse type on the the right. The Democrats are masters at distorting positions. Against bankrupting the country? "You don't care about poor people!" Opposed to a Marxist President? "You are a racist!"

There are less liberals because if you look at the issues then issue by issue the liberals are simply way to the left of the American public.

You also wrote this: "Social Conservatives. This group is generally religiously based. They believe that Christian tenets should strongly influence our governance. The constitutional concept of "Separation of Church and State" within the First Amendment is illegitimate to them."

Well maybe that is because the word "separation" the word "state" and the word "church" are nary a one in the Constitution. The fact that "Congress shall make no law" to establish a national religion means just that. And no one I have heard has ever suggested such a law either.

This does not mean that Conservatives feel the First Amendment is illegitimate, smartbutt. It means the First Amendment only means what it says and nothing more. It means the First Amendment is far more legitimate than Lefties give it credit for.

I like your description of Libertarians. That probably matches up with my political philosophy better than the other lables you came up with.

I went to one Tea Party Rally and it was mostly grandmas and grandpas—hardly the extremists you would paint them as. But what you wrote about them is true: "government is bad and should be shrunk as much as possible. They wish to slash taxes drastically to help to downsize the government. Tea Partiers wish to cut enormously or eliminate most spending especially for social programs."

And you must admit that those sentences of yours would match up perfectly with the political philosophy of the men who founded this great nation.

PolitiFact.com is political opinion masquerading as high-minded investigative journalism. They are liberal propagandists and you know it.

You did include a lot of excellent information in your article though. Much of it is not bad.

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on September 08, 2011:

Thank you Reynold Jay. You are right that a lot of politicians say one thing and then act oppositely. It would nice to have more politicians acting morally and not just espousing those values.

Reynold Jay from Saginaw, Michigan on September 08, 2011:

Nice political article. Yep- they say one thing and then we wonder if we can trust them to follow through much of the time. Morals come to the top of the list for me.

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on September 06, 2011:

Thank you for that link PoliticsNOW. That just confirms to me the insidious power and influence of the Koch Brothers. The Sadddam Hussein reference is just another evil label by these two evil men.

PoliticsNOW from New York on September 06, 2011:


Read this when you get a chance H. The Koch brothers refer to Obama as Saddam hussein. This shows you the mentality of the teabags.

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on August 29, 2011:

Currently the Far Right is the predominate exerciser of this propaganda. You are correct TTanglewood. My point is that we the citizens along with the media should be vigilant and not take any one media source as gospel. Yes, FOX News is not reliable to expose these falsehoods. Always research these candidates thoroughly.

TTanglewood on August 28, 2011:


You realize that mis information is the meat of the right wing. They spend a lot of time feeding propaganda to their audience.

I say that to say this. Researching ads and being vigilant about falsehoods is not their strong point.

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on August 28, 2011:

Thank you for youir comments Bogusmoss. The Citizens United Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited independent electioneering funds was a horrible decision. It has opened the floodgates of money to a system that was already inundated with money. You are correct that money fuels the smear campaigns and that will now grow exponentially. The only way right now to get that money out would be a Constitutional Amendment, highly unlikely, or a change in the makeup of the Court. Also unlikely at this time. We the people need to be vigilant about these advertisements and research these statements and not allow falsehoods to circulate.

bogusmoss from Oklahoma on August 28, 2011:

HS, very well written and extremely informative.

Money is the biggest mess that's ever entered politics. If we could limit their spending then maybe the ads would be more informative and less attacking in nature. If your resources are limited then smear campaigns would be less valuable since you need to get your message to the people. I guess that's just wishful thinking.

Great Hub HS!

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on August 27, 2011:

You are very welcome Business Success and thank you for the discussion. I truly do not mind being criticized or questioned by anyone. I took your questioning as being constructive and concerned. We all learn more from disagreements and errors than in agreements and successes. It made me think of my open comments policy as well as what is proper and improper as far as civil discourse is concerned. Feel free to comment any time on my Hubs whether they be positive or questioning. I appreciate all and I am fully receptive to constructively engage with everyone. Thank you again for your comments. I now will be hunkering down in New Jersey awaiting Hurricane Irene. Take care.

Business Success on August 27, 2011:

Thanks for taking the time to converse with me. It is the way that I find most efficient, most productive in my pursuit of knowledge...I'm glad you saw me not as argueing some beleif or opinion, but as a way to better undersand myself and the world in which I (we) live.

And, I'm gllad you didn't just feel my comments as criticism of yours. I too am pretty much center left, but as a result of my career in middle and upper management still have to fight off old habitual thinking patterns that tend to place me center right in fiscal matters. But, when someone or something stops me and makes me go through this process I find that too many times I just regurgitated that which I learned 40 years ago in school. Some of which holds water, and some of which is just accepted marketing propaganda, lol.

Sincerely, thanks for the discussion. I come away a more learned man than I was prior to it.

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on August 27, 2011:

Business Success, I too believe completely in personal responsibility. I also do not believe in extremism both towards the liberal side or the conservative side. That is why I was so dismayed with most of the Tea Party members of the House who refused revenue increases of any sort during the debt ceiling negotiations. I agree that it is each individual who is responsible for creating the society. Of course it is always in concert with other individuals. We are all responsible for society being where it is today. This is by way of what we do or do not do. You are probably correct that PoliticsNOW could or should have used a better and less inflammatory site to show as an example. I concede that. I agree with his points though. I take personal responsibility for allowing it to stay. I attempt to stay as moderate and temperate in my writing as I can though I do vehemently criticize the Far Right and Corporate America in their intransigence and their attempt to take over our government and democracy. I take full responsibility for my words and actions. I am center left though the Right probably consider me a Socialist. I appreciate your comments and the elucidation of your earlier comments. You are a good and thoughtful man in a time of nastiness and extremism. Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on August 27, 2011:

Cred2, You are correct that the Far Right are the ones who are most stoking the fires of harsh rhetoric in the past several years. I fear the Left when they rebut the Right are going to begin to get just as ugly. We do not need that. We do need to effectively answer their distortions and lies but not to get down to their level. I believe that Talk Radio and FOX News has a lot to do with stoking this over the top rhetoric. The leadership of the GOP is now addicted to this Tea Party extremism after their big win in 2010. Their will be a negative flip side to it and they may very well pay for it in 2012. The Tea Party negatives have skyrocketed since the debt ceiling debates. They are losing the independents. Once that occurs, the end is in sight. The Left can now get them back if they work hard and stay civil. Thank you for your insightful comments.

Business Success on August 27, 2011:

Our differences are not on the allowance of that site. I am interested in sparking a little thought about an individual's (any individual, no particular one) awareness and his sense of self responsibility for his actions and deeds. I wasn't asking you to delete it, either. I have just been doing some deep thinking about the state of our society (and politics is one facet that makes the process much more clear than others. The two parties and their followers are desparetly trying to turn life into shades of black and white, either or, with no room for anything in between.

I am a Charlie Brown kind of guy, who believes firmly in the path of the middle road, as Buddha would describe it. I have great difficulty seeing any benefit in extremism. And yet you can't (or if you can please do, so that I can!) escape the logic that points to the idea that it is the individual that creates society. Or that the combined effect of many individuals create that which we call society. So, if you are one to criticze Society for this or that, then it is we, the individuals who have brought society to this point. (Again, not just politics, that's an easy target, but religion, environment, urban decay, the failure of Wall Street, and on and on... If we want to "fix" what is wrong in Society, we have to start with ourselves.

And , back to my point, that seems to want to start with this issue I am talking about, self responsibility for what we know, think, voice, do.

And, like I said, there are tons of factual, documented, instances of the post on snopes.com that are thoughtfull, accurate, and show just as much of the stupidity (my word, I know it's value laden, but racism, and narow mindedness I find difficult to deal with. I am working on that :)) that the snopes.com website itself admits is rumour (another word I put in that room with racism and narrow mindedness...) I am only human, lol.

but, I am willing, no, very desirous, of personal growth.

Credence2 from Florida (Space Coast) on August 27, 2011:

Hello, HS, while I considered the left the most activist and aggressive during the 1960's, the right has taken that mantra over in the last 20 years. I even had to take my hat off to John McCain, who during the 2008 campaign asked his followers to stop with the racial and Muslim religion based attacks having nothing to do with Obama as a candidate or his qualifications. The right spends more time than the other side in bullying and deliberately misinforming relying as you say on the baser instincts of its audience. As I have said in a couple of my hubs, there is a huge appetite for that "red meat' by the more ignorant members of our society. The right's leaders know better but stoke up its crowds for political purposes. Where does the left have anything equal to this? The left has trouble acknowledging that the right will use any means fair and foul to trip you up. Great Hub, Cred 2

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on August 27, 2011:

Business Success, Thank you for the clarification. I did not think that you feared debate on both sides. I was just trying to explain my policy of not deleting anything. The HubPages editorial staff has been doing enough of that for the past several months. I believe in writing Hubs and sparking people to think. I do not mind if they agree or disagree. I do not believe it is my responsibility for the comments that go up on my site. Nor do I feel it is my responsibility if some nut does something criminal because of any comments. I have written a Hub about curbing violent political rhetoric and I believe in doing so. The Arizona shootings were an example of how this speech can spark violence. I agree with you on that. I actually agree with you on most of what you say. But PoliticsNOW was simply posting an extreme example of hate speech against Muslims. He feels it is part of what will be used against the President. I know that PoliticsNOW does not intend any violence on anyone. The President's critics always use his complete name to defame him to the Far Right and ignorant, Barack Hussein Obama. I just wrote that. Am I now responsible for spreading hate of the President? I think not. Thank you again for your clarifications and I know you are for free speech. Our differences are on the allowance of that one site on my comments. I still stick to not deleting unless it was a direct call to violence. I would hope that HubPages would then delete or ask me to take it down in any case. They seem to take down much tamer speech.

Business Success on August 27, 2011:


You misinterpret. I do nor fear any conversation with or by anybody. I read books, essays, opinions from both extremes and from all points in between on everything that has ever been brought to my attentiion. I am a sceptic, and my own thouhts are subject to the harshest examination, for the downfall of any thought system, belief, experience is dogma. And the only way to prevent that is to beg for criticism, read opposing and differing worldviews and viewpoints and see if what it is that you think or believe stands up. I do not come from a place of Fear and Seperation, but Love and Inclusion, transparency and the willingness to change, as Nature does..., seems to me a guiding principle.

Any passion you picked up in my comment was over the lack of acceptance of responsibility for all ones life, including, the consequences, intended or otherwise, on other people, or society, animals, land, ideas, etc...

And it is that which is one of the predominate values that run through our society today. Everyone is a victim, which is a function of a patriarchal authoritarian based worldview, so there is no sense or need to accept responsibility for you and your life.

Yes things are so complicated and confused and discontinuity seems to be the foundation lving in America rests on. Everybody interprets "laws" for instance, the way they see them and acts like they want to. At some point, all I can do is perform my rituals and prayers and meditations of Forgiveness, for my Self, for being to any degree thoughtless and unknowing what impact something I just did or said is going to have "further down the road".

And since that particular link was to a particularly inflammatory ramble with no basis or reference to anything real or factual, and solely (as defined by what and how it was said) to be part of this reactionary version of politics, which you have said you dislike as well, I ask again, If somebody does something disasterous to someone or something because they read that here and it "connected the dots in their head" to justify that action, which they themselves will blame on occuring because that "article" said it was what needed to be done, Are You In Any Way Responsible for any of that?

To show all sides of an argument or debate, or conversation or worldview, is one thing. To add untruths to that in the guise of honest debate, well i question. Besides we know nothing of that person's intent for voicing that rumur on that site. Malicious or otherwise, so since it adds nothing, is not factual in anything it says, is not supported by references, are there not more authentic ways to point out that which you are trying to do (which I admire!) which have validity, are factual, and which cause the thinking process to go into gear without simple prejudice?

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on August 27, 2011:

Thank you Mib56789. Yes our Founding Fathers certainly defined our country in its formative years. Unfortunately they fairly quickly divided up into the Federalist and Democratic-Republican parties. The Federalists were for a strong role for government in helping the nation develop while the Democratic-Republicans wanted a weak federal government and strong state governments. Alexander Hamilton was the leader and embodiment of the Federalists while Thomas Jefferson was the leader of the Dems-Repubs. Ironically Jefferson found that once he became President a strong federal government could be a huge advantage. He made the Louisian purchase unilaterally and kept Hamilton's banking system. He had railed against the corrupt Hamilton banks but found them to be efficient and productive when he became President. They had both uniting and dividing tendencies. Unfortunately these grew because of this country's original sin, Slavery. That of course ultimately split us apart. In some ways we are still healing and recovering from that. But that is what our country is about, growing, improving, and making a more perfect union.

mib56789 on August 27, 2011:

I like the title of your HUB, HSchneider. That's the essence of politics. Ideal politics. the political party derives from definition more than division. At least that's what we aim for in America. Right? It's more like a person's lodestar, road-map or vision of how they believe we could make a great country even greater. In fact, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and John Quincy Adams were Democratic-Republicans. I think they were DEFINING America. Not DIVIDING America. Eh, what do I know? I'm a babbler!

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on August 27, 2011:

Thank you for commenting Business Success. I agree with you that the instances of disparaging speech and labels being employed are not only coming from politicians but from citizens also. Unfortunately our politicians pander to the lowest common denominator because they know it is the quickest way to secure support. Studies have shown that negative advertisements work better than positive. I consider that to be a supreme indictment of our system. As for the site PoliticsNOW attached, I have NEVER deleted any comments from my sites. I do not believe in doing so. I allow free speech even disgusting speech. PoliticsNOW was simply showing an example of the hateful tactics of the Far Right. I presume my readers have the intelligence to perceive this. I wrote an earlier Hub about race in which I stated that I wish that the subject of race would not be swept under the rug. The Shirley Sherrod incident sparked about a week of debate and then nothing. Silencing speech allows hate to fester and then grow. Good debaters, as you correctly point out, can twist a subject their way no matter the topic. It is up to us to sniff it out and expose it to the light of day and similarly show how wrong that debater is. I do not fear this. I know you fear the consequences of showing this site but I fear the consequences of keeping this hate speech in the dark. Thank you again Business Success for airing your disagreements on this subject. I believe it to be a fair area for debate.

Business Success on August 27, 2011:

I have not identified with either of the two main parties for a long time. Ever since the discontinuity began to exceed the dis-ingenuousness by their members.

I find the lack of integrity, and the recent (in history) proliferation of character destruction as a tool of political discourse and debate, nay, as a useful functional tool, which the masses are satisfied enough with to use that instead of their own effort of learning more, in order to vote and support disgusting( sometimes with violence, hatred, fear, etc...) It's not just the politicians and would be politicians, it is the "average joe and jane, who vie for the honor of the least honor, the least amount of integrity, the most evil, the most responsible for the breakdown of our society and country.

At any rate, in regards to the link above posted by PoliticsNow, what is it you are trying to educate us to?

The whole article sounded more like a diatribe against Obama, as much against his person as his Presidency, by a bunch of poor poor white Christians who see themselves as Victims, to this Great Satan President, as well as most of the trends in American society from Science and Innovation to new conversations of spirituality and religion.

And race isn't really mentioned... To advertise rantings of idiots like this one, as well as a site that promotes the advertising of Rumour, which like it or not is oft interpreted as factual, is inflammatory and promotes the schism growing rapidly in the US and in the world. It is Dick Cheney and GW and the Republican Party at their best. And the mindset of folks like that do not feel in any way responsible for those they kill and hurt in the process of for instance, the eliminating of non-recurring resources, and slowly destroying Earth as we know it, to mention a few... They lie to themselves as well as others.

So, let me ask you PoliticsNow, and HSchneider as well since you allowed it on your site and re-promoted it, do you have any responsibility for someone who reads that, agrees with it, takes if for justification, and shoots a Muslim looking individual at the local convenience store in order to prevent the continued victimization of himself and his fellow Christians. ( Same scenario of those Christians who blow up abortion clinics and shoot doctors.)

BTW, Race has been a prominent issue since the Civil War, and to misbecausejust becuase folks are more adept at using politically correct phrases i their debateis just Folly. Not, that the snopes article had anything to do with race as I read it. Muslims are not a Race... If you are commenting on the sublime message of race because Obama is black and the writer could be white, then okay for that.... :)

And for instance, the persons of New Age Reexistents non-existant at best. He named only those that he has been reading about (if he reads...)or hearing about on Fox, or Et or some other mindless programming. One of those that is growing fastest (though I have issues with everything I am saying here, but, another time another place) Scientifc Pantheism for instance. And there are quite a few others trying to make something relatable to the 21st century.....

A good debater ( I might be able to do this one...) can "prove" that MLK, Ghandi, and others of their Soul Nature are responsible for the murder of thousands....)

But, I do not want to own the responsibility for making that argument and the potential consequences of some idiot using that for doing something stupid. So I maintain being responsible for that which I say, do or think by not voicing or doing that, even for fun and conversaton.)

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on August 27, 2011:

That is true TPC but this Hub was meant to be about the United States political arena. The European political spectrum is certainly to the left of us. Thank you for your comments.

TeaPartyCrasher from Camp Hill, PA on August 27, 2011:

And those labels are relative. To a European, our Democrats would seem more center-right, and our Republicans borderline Fascist.

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on August 26, 2011:

That is so very true PoliticsNOW. It is important to stay ahead of the Tea Party faction and the antics of ALEC and the Koch Brothers. Unfortunately they play a rigged Chess game.

PoliticsNOW from New York on August 26, 2011:

Politics is a chess game to and I am good at chess. Need to stay as many moves ahead as you can.

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on August 26, 2011:

Race will be a major underlying theme in the 2012 election. You are quite correct, PoliticsNOW. Tea Party signs and some statements use thinly veiled language that emphasize the President's race. They also like to emphasize his middle name, Hussein. This will continue and grow. The Far Right knows no bounds. They will do or say anything to win. Thank you for your wise comments PoliticsNOW and thank you for that link. It was amazing.

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on August 26, 2011:

Thank you TTanglewood. You are right, most of the new media consultants are former or current marketing executives. The campaign managers rely on them to keep the campaign on message and drum these labels into the public's consciousness. You are also correct about the elimination of nuance from campaigns. Catchy soundbites have become the order of the day. Just listen to Governor Perry. All his statements are soundbites. Nuanced campaigning usually fails. Look at Russ Feingold in 2010. That was sad.

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on August 26, 2011:

Thank you Amilar. I think the reason for the larger amount of political labels in the U.S. is due to our political campaigns practically going year round. They never seem to take time off and are always looking for ways to slime the other side and place themselves in a better light. I like the way elections are for a much more limited time frame in Europe. Ours never stop and people phase out quickly.

Howard Schneider (author) from Parsippany, New Jersey on August 26, 2011:

That sounds like a great idea Brages. Of course, as always, the Supreme Court may weigh in and say that it restricts speech. I would extend your idea and have a neutral organization like Politfact conduct a series of debates that would thoroughly cover all issues. Your idea and mine would make for much fairer and more accurate campaigns. Thank you for your great comments and ideas.

PoliticsNOW from New York on August 26, 2011:

You left out the Elephant in the room and that is race. People are more likely to believe the lables if the Prez does look like them. This will be the new plan of attack from the tea party check out this link.


TTanglewood on August 26, 2011:

Very well written piece. Its interesting that politics has now become a marketing driven business much more than one that is driven by facts and substance.

And lets not forget how nuance has all but been eliminated from our current political system.

amillar from Scotland, UK on August 26, 2011:

It does indeed matter.

This is a useful reference source Howard. The mind still boggles at much of the political terminology coming from your side of the pond. (It doesn’t take much to boggle my mind.)

brages07 from South Royalton, VT on August 26, 2011:

I had an idea recently that campaigning should be replaced by writing a position paper, a minimum of 100 pages in length and 8 sources per subject. They would be judged by the FEC based on the factual correctness of the statements made in the paper and the credibility of the sources. I think this would go a long toward separating the political wheat from the chafe. It would also force people to think more carefully about their votes. What do you think?

Related Articles