To the Editor:
Amid all the pandering, distortion, contentiousness and rancor of the 2008 elections, I notice one very encouraging sign here in Maine. No local candidate’s campaign advertising identified a political affiliation. Those running for office seem to have become embarrassed to be associated with party leadership that is obsessed with confrontation rather than conciliation.
It is notable that both Presidential aspirants are Senators, products of a dysfunctional, unaccountable Congress that currently has record low approval ratings. The victor takes office knowing that nearly half the voting public will be reflexively conditioned to oppose almost any major legislative initiative because party leaders have promoted polarization in pursuit of marginal statistical power.
Sadly, America now has government of the parties, by the parties, and for the parties – and constituencies that ask only, “What’s in it for us?”
One must question whether the two-party system has outlived its usefulness. Much as organized labor has declined and Wall Street is being restructured in the wake of excesses, the stage is being set for some form of real change in the way we determine governance and our expectations of government.
Two relentlessly combative parties are either too few or too many, and something is likely to happen that will fill the vacuum of effective executive leadership.
George C. Betke, Jr., Damariscotta