Clanton’s analysis simplistic, generalizes
By Mark A. Peter
I would like to address Professor Clanton’s editorial and his response to Tim Binder’s letter to the editor. Although sociology and political science do have some overlap, I think that someone with greater expertise needs to address these issues. Professor Clanton is wrong in his contention summarized by the cliche “Not/more than a dime’s worth of difference.” His analysis is simplistic and commits the fallacy of generalization. If you look at the two major parties’ platforms, of course they are different. But in reality this is not the case. A more correct distinction is establishment vs. conservative or liberals.
Firstly, let us look at social issues: Pro-life: There are a number Democrats who are pro-life, it isn’t exclusively a Republican issue. VP Gore was pro-life as a Congressman, as was Senator Bill Bradley. Some Republicans support homosexual civil unions as does President Obama.
Fiscal issues: The house has many Blue Dogs who are fiscally conservative and even support a more conservative social agenda. Republican Senators Spector, Lincoln and Chaffey to name a few support a liberal agenda. Conservatives complained that President Nixon gave the rhetoric to conservatives and action to the liberals. Former Governor and Vice President Nelson Rockefeller was also a liberal on many issues. Mayor Rudy also fits this category on many issues. Mayor Ed Koch was conservative on several issues. Governor Mitt Romney has flip-flopped and, at times, was more liberal than Sen. Ted Kennedy. His successor Sen. Scott Brown is a conservative on some issues and others a liberal. Gov. Schwarzenegger in many ways was more of a Kennedy liberal. President Bill Clinton would put his finger to the wind and support whatever was popular (welfare reform, etc.). President George W. Bush enacted many liberal acts such as No Child Left Behind (authored by Ted Kennedy), prescription drugs, greater spending, banking bailout, etc. His father was also liberal in many respects. Former Senator Dole and current Senators McCain and Graham have sided with Democrats on several issues. Now let me correct some factual errors.
Republicans do not oppose the environment. Teddy Roosevelt created many national parks. They support a responsible policy that’s not extremist. They are not immigrant bashers. They support immigration as long as it’s legal. They want the law to be enforced. Review your history and you will find that Democrats opposed Civil Rights legislation and it was up to the Republicans to pass it. Abraham Lincoln, who was the first Republican, enacted the Emancipation Proclamation. President Coolidge oversaw great economic growth, as did JFK and Reagan. Many of FDR’s New Deal proposals were declared unconstitutional and so he tried to pack the court. His policies prolonged the Great Depression and it was the full economic mobilization for WW II that brought us out. Gov. Wallace repented of his racist attitudes and went to many black churches apologizing.
Americans are tired of the Repucrats and their hold on the political process. Many are looking for those who offer a real choice and alternative to the two major parties as evidenced by the candidacies of Perot, Nader and Buchanan.
Mark A. Peter teaches English and debate in E. Asia. He has taught U.S. government and U.S. history at the high school level. He has also completed studies in law and human rights. He has been a volunteer for presidential and gubernatorial, congressional and senatorial campaigns.