Digust Discussed: the Duopoly Dialogue and an Alternate Reality Cable News Political Debate

For ideologues of the two-party state and the duopoly system of government, perhaps the most incomprehensible dynamic at play in recent public opinion polls is that distrust of and discontent with the Democratic majority, in particular, and government in general, has not translated into support for the GOP. At Mirror on America, Angry Independent relays word of an NBC/WSJ poll which found that 46% of respondents favored a strong, credible independent candidate for president in 2012, with 30% opposed to the idea and 20% expressing neutrality. Unsurprisingly, the main WSJ article on the poll does not mention this finding in its report, though it does register the public's "total disgust with Washington".

Angry Independent also provides video of a discussion on the poll's findings from Chris Matthews' MSNBC political game-show, Hardball. Of course, ironically, Matthews appears deeply ignorant of the fact that the "debate" and "discussion" format of his program perfectly embodies everything that is wrong with the duopolized dialogue characteristic of political discourse under the conditions of the two-party state. Matthews first introduces the segment's leitmotif – namely, widespread discontent with both Democrats and Republicans, and by implication the two-party system as a whole, and a correspondingly high level of support for independent, third party alternatives to the duopoly charade – and then goes on to introduce his two guests, Todd Harris and Steve McMahon, apologists and shills for the Republican and Democratic Parties, respectively. One wonders if it has ever occurred to the producers of infotainment programming that they could invite an advocate of third party or independent politics to discuss such matters, rather than continue to allow representatives of the two completely discredited factions of the nation's ruling political class to dominate our political discourse. It might at least make such discussions interesting. Allow me to provide a transcription of the discussion from the video embedded below, supplemented by the imaginary inclusion of a potential third party to the matter:
Matthews: We're back with Steve McMahon and Todd Harris for our politics fix, with our new NBC Wall Street Journal poll out today. Look at these numbers. 65% of the country trusts Washington to do the right thing "only sometimes". 46% of the country likes the idea of creating an independent third party to field a presidential candidate in 2012. That's very high, by the way, historically, 46 %. And 57 % of the country blames both parties for partisanship. Todd, it looks to me like it's a curse on both houses, they don't like either Democrats or Republicans. Least of all your party, I must say. Least of all.

Discredited Republican Shill: Well, you know I'll tell you what, with numbers like that I tell you who I wouldn't want to be, and that's the party in power, because they might be saying a pox on both houses, but there's only one party in power right now that controls every lever of government in Washington, and that's the Democratic Party. They are on the ballot just as Republicans are. I would not want to be sitting on top of those numbers trying to ask for two more years of being in control

Discredited Democratic Shill: Todd, Todd, Todd, you don't want to be the party in office, is what you don't want to be when you look at those numbers, but what you also don't want to be is the party of "no," which this party, Todd's party has become, the party of "no."

Matthews: Well, suppose the country's in a "no" mood. What do you think, advocate of third party and independent politics?

Independent Advocate: Yes, well, thanks Chris, first I'd like to point out that I wasn't even invited onto the program today. Apparently, you thought it was appropriate to only consult representatives of two completely discredited special interest groups, namely the Democratic and Republican Parties, to discuss the fact that the majority of Americans no longer find Democrats or Republicans to be credible representatives of the public interest.

[Cross talk]

Independent Advocate: Secondly, perhaps you'll be surprised to hear it, but I completely agree with the discredited shills to my right and to my left. And here's why. As Todd says, he wouldn't want to be the Democratic Party right now, and as Steve points out, he wouldn't want to be the Republican Party. However, like most Americans, I wouldn't want to be either of you. And that's the point, that's just what the numbers in these polls are showing. And that's precisely what the American people are saying. They're perfectly capable of seeing the present system for what it is. They're fed up with the false choices offered by the party bosses, they're fed up with the lesser and the greater evil, they're fed up with two-party charade, and they're fed up with two bit hacks like Todd and Steve delivering cynical apologia for the two-party political status quo and regurgitating talking points cribbed from one of their respective party's preferred PR flacks.

Matthews: Well, we're out of time, we're gonna have to leave it there. Thanks.

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