John McCain: I Don't Know Why Americans Continue to Support the Two-Party System

In an exchange that, unsurprisingly, has not received much if any attention in the duopolized media, John McCain was asked at a town hall meeting in Sun City, Arizona, why voters should continue to support the major party candidates and the two-party system. Transcript from the video below:
Citizen: I'm 64 years old and have observed Congress for many of those years. I have watched them slip from a body that has worked to represent their constituents into a partisan body that seems hell bent on achieving party objectives and reelection more, and voter representation less. (Applause.) Today I view congress as arrogant, self serving, fiscally irresponsible and now even vindictive. (Applause.) To me the two-party system has failed our nation miserably. Why should voters continue to support major party candidates when their ability to achieve results on these tough issues has been far less than satisfactory? (Applause.)

McCain: I don't know. (Laughter.) I think you may be seeing the beginning of a peaceful revolt in America against – I've seen involvement and engagement on the part of Americans that I've never seen the likes of which before. Let me tell you an example of the frustration that you feel. The special interests have gone to the White House and gotten a seat at the table and they've said we'll need your support then when we're finished we'll take care of you. There's no better example than the drug companies . . . Has anyone here been invited to the White House for a deal lately? . . . We've got to take back our government from the special interests.
Variations on this question should be asked of every politician at every available opportunity. Though McCain's extended answer was essentially a non sequitur, it may also be understood as a textbook example of psychological displacement, redirecting the discussion away from the radical implications of the question and McCain's initial response to it, and toward the more acceptable criticism of 'special interests.' Nonetheless, McCain is right, if only inadvertently. Government must be "taken back" from the "special interests." And the most powerful special interests in Washington D.C. are, of course, the Republican and Democratic Parties. The question for voters is thus not why should they continue to support the major parties, but rather why do they continue to support the major parties?

Via Today With Barack Obama:

4 comments:

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Samuel Wilson said...

Normally I object when any American tries to call any other a "special interest." Who gets to decide that, after all? But no two entities fit that description better, it seems to me, than the Democratic and Republian parties.

d.eris said...

Maybe it's another one of those exceptions that proves the rule. Ironically, the responsible parties paper from 1950 that I've referred to a couple times before argues that a strong two party system is necessary to guard against specific interest groups wielding too much power.

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