The Western Two-Party Two-Step

The Western Two-Party Two-Step, by the Z-Man.

American politics is often cast as a battle between wreckers and restorers, taking turns at the helm of state. The wreckers are the do-gooders on the Left, who push through a bunch of ill-considered, by well-intentioned reforms that end poorly. The restorers are the so-called conservatives on the Right, who come in to clean up the mess and restore things back to order. Political history is often described in these terms, even by the people on the Left, who focus on the good intentions.

It is, of course, another example of how both sides of the Progressive orthodoxy serve the interests of the whole. The Left side gets to fashion itself as the good-hearted reformers, but are in too much of hurry to save the world. Their colleagues on the Right, of course, get to play the daddy role, coming in after the mess was made to be the sober minded restorer of order. It’s the classic sit-com model of the funny, scatter- brained wife with the frustrated husband as the straight man.

The funny thing about this model is the base of both sides never accepts this dynamic, instead seeing themselves more as revolutionaries and romantics. The hard Left dreams of flattening the global order to build a new world order around Gaia worship or possibly a matriarchy. The popularity of Ocasio-Cortez is based in the assumption of her followers that she is anti-white and will therefore usher in a world without white people. They clearly seek a radically different world than the present.

On the Right, something similar is true. The base conservative is not looking to fix the mess made by the Left. They want to roll back the last fifty years of cultural revolution, getting back to an America that looks like the 1950’s. If you asked most of the so-called movement conservatives, they would say they want to roll the political order back to the 18th century, the way the Founders intended. These are romantics, not restorers. They want to go back to another age, not live in this one.

Pillow talk to their base, while playing both sides against one another, is how the American political class has functioned for the last three generations. The Democrats figure out how to get a majority and push through some reforms, which never work as intended or satisfy the base. The majority falls apart and the Republicans come in to preserve the real reforms, while cleaning up the collateral damage and telling their base they plan to roll all of it back. This never happens, of course.

Sounds about right.