If You Buy What the Democrats and Republicans are Peddling, You're Probably in the Market for a New Bridge as Well

In an article for the New York Times from 2005 reflecting on the history of an infamous New York con game, Gabriel Cohen summarized the plot of "Every Day's a Holiday," a comedy from 1937 featuring Mae West:
The year is 1899, and a saucy con artist named Peaches O'Day is trying to sell the Brooklyn Bridge. She succeeds, too, passing it off to a gullible fellow who pays her $200 and receives a bill of sale reading, "One bridge in good condition." As punishment, she is run out of town, but she returns in triumph, disguised in a black wig as the French entertainer Mademoiselle Fifi, and goes on to be elected mayor of the city.
If you're in the market for a new bridge, you might also be interested in what the Democrats and Republicans are peddling this year. Let's take but one easy example. Republican Congressman Eric Cantor writes at Big Government: "It's not the same GOP." He concludes his call to support the Republican Party with the following lines:
I am under no illusions – both parties have helped to create a debt that everyone knows is dangerously high. But only one of them is going to keep going down that path and taking our country with it. The other has learned its lesson and has reformed itself.
If Cantor is under no illusions, it seems he is counting on the fact that his readers are under at least one. Fortunately, not all Americans are gullible enough to fall for this particular con year after year. From a letter to the editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
If the Republican Party is this country's only hope for limiting government, then the country is doomed to ever-expanding government. The best that can be hoped is that Tea Party supporters are serious about voting against all incumbents, whether they are Democrats or Republicans. The country needs to throw out all incumbents at all levels in 2010.
Of course, nothing will be achieved by throwing out Democratic and Republican incumbents only to replace them with their Republican or Democratic analogues. At Veterans Today, Sherwood Ross quotes extensively from Lawrence Velvel to make the case for the urgency of third party opposition to the Democratic-Republican global warfare and corporate welfare state:
both parties are “incapable of doing the right thing. They are too beholden to big money—money is virtually all that our politicians care about,” writes Velvel, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover. The political parties “have gotten too used to the ethically crooked, morally criminal ways of our system, (and) cannot even envision serious change in the political and electoral system.”
If you recognize Democratic-Republican Party government for the problem that it is, but nonetheless continue to vote Democrat or Republican, then you are the problem you seek to resolve. Fortunately, the solution to this problem is relatively simple: stop bailing out the two-party state, vote third party and independent.

Update: At Washington Monthly, Steve Benen comments on Cantor's article at Big Government, writing:
For voters who remember the last several years, it's awfully difficult to take the GOP seriously. The party that's running on a platform of fiscal responsibility was fiscally irresponsible. The party that's running on a platform of shrinking the size and scope of government grew the size and scope of government. The party that's running on a platform of competence, maturity, and integrity was incompetent, immature, and corrupt.
If Benen spent half as much time critically reflecting upon the hypocrisies of Democrats as he does those of Republicans, he might have to declare himself an independent. For those who remember the last several years, it's awfully difficult to take the Democrats seriously either. The party that ran against "Bush's war" has expanded it. The party that ran on openness and transparency continues to claim the privilege of secrecy. The party that ran against the erosion of rights and liberties continues to chisel away at them. The party that promised to combat the corrupting influence of lobbyists continues to endorse their proposals and accept their massive campaign contributions. The party that claims to fight for the interests of "the little guy" never fails to privilege the interests of multinational corporations. And so on. Support for the Democratic or Republican Party today appears to be predicated upon either willful ignorance or reckless irresponsibility or both. Or is it something else?

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