This is a clip from a Bush-Gore debate in the year 2000. The topic is foreign policy. Please listen to it even if you think that you remember it. I thought I did, but once I heard it again I was shocked to realize just how fully and completely these two men changed positions. Al Gore justified foreign interventions on the grounds that America was the leader, and needed to continue to be "the leader." George W. Bush took the opposite tack. We should help people, but not go around imposing ourselves, and we should not nation build!
Amazing. The two completely switched positions and their partisans just continued backing the one and attacking the other. Could it be any more obvious that a very large segment of the American people has been programmed to follow Persons and not Principles? Is it not clear that they have been conditioned to rally around party labels and not ideas?
All I knew in 2004 was that George W. Bush did not have the kind of foreign policy that he said he would have when running. That is why I did not vote for him the second time around. Now you may say that 9/11 changed "everything". But it didn't change everything. It didn't change the Constitution. It didn't change the principle that we shouldn't tell the rest of the world how to live, or nation build. A humble foreign policy which recognized our limitations was a good idea before 9/11 and it was still a good idea after it.
George Bush the elder ran for re-election on the basis of his ability to have a grand coalition and impose our will on Iraq. Bill Clinton said he would "focus like a laser beam on the economy." The American people chose the domestic promises of Clinton over the New World Order visions of Bush the Elder. But then Clinton got in office pursued the same policies as Bush. The interventions continued. We dropped bombs on more countries during the Clinton years than we did during WWII. So then Bush the Younger comes along and says things like in the video above. We voted for him over Clinton's successor Al Gore (who wants us to decide that we are the world's "leader" without ever bothering to ask the world about that).Yet he too goes on a global rampage- some of it justified by the 9/11 attacks, but much of it not. So then Obama comes along talking peace and people choose him. Then he continues the Bush-Clinton-Bush foreign policy of military meddling around the globe.
This problem, like so many others, will not be fixed from the top down. It must be fixed from the bottom up. I don't say that is true because I am a localist. I am a localist because that is true. We should work toward a nation where it is a lot less important who the President is because the legislature will do its job and check and balance the Executive. That will never happen under the two party system. Legislative candidates should be elected by a completely different, and independent organization from the executive. A prerequisite for this is that the population must understand just how meaningless and utterly corrupt the current two-party system is, and that a third national party built with the same centralized structures won't solve the problem. Decentralization, like the Founders intended, will.