Why Political Parties Are Like Beer

September 7, 2012

Can we just go ahead and have the election now?


His running mate shored up the extra fluffy voters, but alienated him almost entirely from registered kittens.

I mean, the conventions are done.  You either watched them with rapt attention, or you shunned them like the plague.  Or maybe you watched them, but fell ill with the plague in the midst of watching talking heads on cable news blather on with their asinine opinions like religious zealots.Is anyone undecided at this point?  I haven’t met anyone who has admitted to being undecided about how they’ll vote in November.  Is it wrong to call undecided voters “stupid”?

Come on, it’s pretty easy to decide which side you want to be on.  You either want sit with the cool kids at lunch, or the brainy kids.  One table is more fun.  The other table will graduate.

Ah, I kid.

But in our boiling hot political climate, one in which we claim the other side wants to “destroy America,” it’s easy to forget one thing:

You are voting for a person, not a color.

Political Parties Are Like Beer

If you are like most Americans, you’ve been checking one animal or the other for most of your voting life.  Like brands of beer or cars, political parties earn our loyalty early on, and we rarely change, either because we are stubborn or just not paying attention.

Unfortunately, political parties do change.  They betray and change their platforms, and hope the voters don’t change or pay attention.

If you had lived long enough to vote over the course of the entire 20th century, would you really have been able, according to your current political beliefs, to vote for one party the entire time?

Let’s take a little quiz:

Who Would You Vote For?

Teddy Roosevelt (R): Probably the first “green” President, who introduced environmental conservation to America by turning millions of acres over to government control.  Also, exerted massive government control over private business to break up trusts and create safety standards.  Doesn’t sound very “R” by today’s standards.

Woodrow Wilson (D): Failed to keep America out of WWI.  Then he tried to create a global “super government” called the League of Nations to prevent a world war from ever breaking out again, which failed, because super governments don’t usually work.  He also invaded Mexico, and segregated many federal departments. Tsk, tsk!

Herbert Hoover (R): Inherited an economic disaster.  Couldn’t or wouldn’t do anything about it.

Franklin Roosevelt (D): Beat Hitler.  Good.  Tried to create a lot of jobs.  Also good.  Also sent many Japanese to internment camps, and tried to add three extra Justices to the Supreme Court to make the court his personal rubber stamp.  Bad.

Harry Truman (D): Dropped the bombs on Japan, and declared America to be the protector of freedom all over the world and the enemy of communism everywhere.

Dwight Eisenhower (R): Desegregated schools, and built the national highway system.

Lyndon Johnson (D): Inherited the Vietnam War, which he escalated.  Passed the Civil Rights Act, fueled by the memory of John Kennedy.

Ronald Reagan (R): Beat the communists by escalating an arms race.

You Aren’t Voting For an Animal

Of course, there are many that I skipped.  But as I’ve studied and been fascinated by Presidential history, some things have become increasingly clear to me:

Presidents on both sides have a lot of victories…and a lot of embarrassments.  They have all tried to increase their power.  Some of them betrayed their voters.  Others just proved that their policies were crap and they ran the country into a ditch.

You would have to have the most wildly swinging political beliefs to vote straight down the party ticket and be happy with your candidate for a century.  The Presidents may share a letter after their name, but there is no way two Presidents from opposite ends of the century would agree on much of anything.

Voting isn’t about supporting a color, animal, or party.  It’s about being on the right side of history.  How many times have you actually voted on the side that accomplished something great, and not just the side that won?  If you ask me, every voter in this country should be registered independent. 

Incidentally, in blind taste tests, most people (who think they are brand loyal), can’t distinguish Budweiser, Coors and Miller from each other. That’s because, like most political promises, they’re all crap.

What do you think?  Could you vote for every President on one side or the other and be happy?  Name a President who wasn’t in your party of choice, who you wish you could’ve voted for.

13 responses to Why Political Parties Are Like Beer

  1. I voted for Jimmy Carter when I was young and dumb because he seemed real nice and was very compassionate.

    Good intentions don’t cut it.

    As Jesus told us, “all men (people) are liars”. So now I realize that the Founders of this country were right. They wanted fewer liars, and thieves, and spendthrifts, and power slingers…so a smaller government is always better.

    Go with those who want smaller govt. (fewer liars and ripoff artists)

    • But how do we know those people aren’t liars? 😉 Just kidding, but only sort of. It’s been interesting that the GOP has come out and said that the spending of the 2000s that they were responsible for was not representative of conservative ideals.

  2. This is brilliant. Thank you for the historic reminder and a reality check.

    Yes, let’s vote now so we don’t have to endure anymore ads.

  3. I grew up Republican. I mean Baptist. What’s the difference? Now I’m an independent who leans right. I have mostly voted for Republicans, but I’ve also voted for a couple of Democrats, and in the last presidential election, I sat out after the primaries, because I didn’t like either candidate. I’m getting better!

  4. I think Jeff somehow lived my life and wrote my comment for me. Crazy.

    The problems facing these guys is so immense, no one 4 year term will fix it. I say we elect Presidents to 10 year terms, Reinstate Prohibition, issue guns to all HS Seniors at graduation, attack Canada and kick useless Antarctica out of the Continent Pool like we did Pluto out of the Solar System.

    That’s my platform.

  5. Anyone who says he is undecided at this point is either stupid or lying. Let’s vote tomorrow and save a few million bucks. Oh, wait. The television magnates would have to drop back into the “middle class.”

  6. Personally, I believe that nothing beats a big ol’ frothy Guinness and nothing will change my mind about that :)

    I guess I would probably consider my political affiliation to be more “curmudgeon” than anything else. (Why is there not a Curmudgeon Party? Maybe someone needs to get on that.) Basically, whatever seems to be the prevailing opinion eventually gets on my nerves and I reject it.

    When I was in college I was probably one of the roughly 10 Republicans on campus. Largely because my parents were Republicans, but also because I thought Dole was a decent guy and not the raging hellbeast that all the other students made him out to be. That, and I just found all the typical hippy-dippy college liberalism kind of tiresome.

    Now I’m grown up, living away from my parents, and living in a VERY Red state (yes, Indiana was technically blue in ’08 but I’m pretty sure that’s a fluke that isn’t going to happen again.) And now, I’m getting pretty tired of conservatism–at least the brand that’s popular around here.

    I’m tired of the crazy freakouts in the op-ed pages, I’m tired of the billboards around town (yes, somebody actually paid for a freaking *billboard*) accusing the president of all kinds of crazy crap, and I’m tired of the Repubs that actually show some shred of reasonable thought (*cough*Lugar*cough*) getting voted out in favor of Tea Party loons. I’m tired of the climate-change denial/anti-science crap. I’m tired of higher education being equated with “elitism”. I’m tired of people who live in 2012 who still think that HIV patients have to be handled with two layers of gloves. Oh, yeah, and I’m tired of seeing Beemers with Tea Party stickers on them. Yeah, yeah, I get it, BMW drivers have rights to their opinions. But when you’re driving around in a car that costs more than some people’s average yearly salary with a sticker on it that says you’re “Taxed Enough Already”, it does not inspire my sympathy. Sorry.

    Okay, I’m probably rambling too much here.

    Anyway, I’ve voted for both Dems and Republicans in the past. I don’t think there’s ever been one that I’ve been totally pleased with. There isn’t a guy that I’m totally pleased with right now. My problem is, I’m more or less fiscally conservative, but I’m also socially liberal, and I’m not crazy enough to vote Libertarian.

    I’d love to vote Republican again, I really would. But I feel like I am in that situation where the platform has shifted away from me. It doesn’t resemble the party that I supported back in college. Maybe if I still lived in a “blue state” type of environment I might feel differently.

  7. I live, breathe, eat,and, sleep politics. I was a conservative Democrat until 2010 when I realized that there were no longer any conservative Democrats and switched my party to Republican.

    • Isn’t it interesting how the political ground shifts and suddenly you realize you aren’t even in the territory you thought you were.

      I think one of the smarter things the Republicans did at the convention was verbally distance themselves from the spending of the 2000s that their party was responsible for. It didn’t represent their philosophy.

  8. I think you make an excellent observation that both parties have sought to increase government power rather than decrease it.

    My husband and I probably weigh in philosophically with the Libertarians, but most Libertarian candidates’ plans sound like they were created by Mork from Ork when he first landed on the planet.

    I have voted mainly Republican. However, in recent months, I have been thinking that the problem is with career politicians, not with the color of their party. Maybe we just need new people. Of course, both Presidents Carter and Obama had little experience and they were worse than the career politicians.

    I successfully avoided the conventions with one exception: I watched Governor Christie’s speech, just as a haphazard “lets turn on TV and see if there is anybody good speaking.” I turned it off when the talking heads (a.k.a “news analysts”) started passing gas.