To a non-ideologue, none of the established political parties out there are appealing. They have their ideology, entrenched interests and a few other flaws, e.g. political donors asking for what they want.
For a pragmatic realist, the ideal political centrist party might look something like this:
- Pragmatic and grounded in reality because ideology distorts reality, limits creative thinking and usually delivers failure, which is what we have lots of at the moment.
- Strong enough to reject special interest money and “campaign contributions”.
- Committed to find and implement policies, when it can be done, based on honest cost-benefit analysis using unspun data (not using the vacuous smoke and mirrors normally used by special interests, including the Democratic and Republican parties, labor unions, business interests and all the rest).
- Committed to shrewd and intelligent use of government to foster America’s economic global competitiveness as opposed to the usual blind and inefficient reliance on government by many Democrats or the blind and inefficient hate of government by many Republicans; if this means more government or regulation, then fine and if it means less, that’s fine too.
- Committed to maximizing transparency of government operations, particularly interactions between public and private sector special interests (for example, by requiring all contacts between lobbyists and government officials to be made public to the extent it is reasonable).
- Committed to reestablishing the draft (or a draft/public service peacetime option), with no exemptions for anyone (particularly children of wealthy people and politicians), to limit the hideous penchant of our politicians, especially Republicans, to send our troops into unnecessary (Iraq) and incompetently conducted (Iraq and Afghanistan) but unfunded wars (if it is your kids going to war, then maybe you will be (i) just a bit less supportive of getting into a war unless it is really, really necessary and (ii) just a bit less tolerant of incompetent civilian leadership).
- Committed to requiring, except in the case of a true emergency (not a smoke and mirrors emergency that politicians always conjure out of nothing), that major spending programs, e.g., wars and health care programs, are at least 70-80% paid for by tax increases and/or spending cuts before one penny is spent.
- Committed to a brutally honest but fair assessment of our public education system and if the best option appears to be privatizing it, then working to implement privatization or at least creating competition between privatized and public schools (because our public education system is in failure mode).
- Committed to allowing as much personal freedom as society can reasonably accommodate, e.g., legalized abortion, legalized same sex marriage and legalized marijuana (maybe other drugs, depending on a careful but fair cost-benefit public health and economic analysis).
- Committed to reducing the influence of religion in government including the military, e.g., by vigorously fighting to maintain as much separation between church and state as possible; religion should not have much of a role in a secular democracy; if people want more religion in government, they should first carefully and honestly consider interesting places like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Ecuador or the Vatican City – be careful about what you wish for because you just might get it and find that you don’t like it.
- Committed to showing the American public the awful scope and depth of the failures of our political institutions, especially the Democratic and Republican parties, and most of our political policies since the end of World War II (nobody can blame our messes on the Libertarians, Greens, Nazis or Communists).
- Committed to reworking our tax code to make it simple and transparent, while phasing out tax loopholes and breaks immediately or over a few years if a cost-benefit analysis shows they are economically not beneficial (the cost to the US economy for mere tax compliance is in the neighborhood of $200 billion per year; needless loopholes cost at least another $100 billion per year (probably about $200 billion) – all of that is wasted effort and weakens our economic competitiveness).
- Committed to implementing public financing of elections to the maximum extent allowed by law – this is the only politically possible counterweight to at least partly offset the corruption of politics by special interest money.
- Committed to ending (or vastly reducing) America’s dependence on foreign energy, which is a true and urgent national security crisis, by the the most efficient and reliable means now available based on a transparent and brutally honest cost-benefit analysis (meaning it probably isn’t going to be building wind farms or solar panel factories, it probably is going to be nuclear power) (for every $10 increase in the cost of a barrel of oil, our economy has to pay about an additional $200 billion per year, mostly to our enemies – that is another unsustainable and stupid burden on our competitiveness).
- Committed to use public funds to implement a national energy independence strategy, e.g., by building nuclear power plants if that is what makes sense, even if it means using eminent domain to sweep aside the screaming NIMBY folks (and private property rights freaks) and waiving every environmental regulation there ever was (like President W. did when he was building the US-Mexico border fence); then provide that energy to our economy at cost and in direct competition with private sector energy providers none of whom care much about the American economy or people (there is nothing like a little competition to focus business interests and reduce costs, at least that is what Adam Smith thought).
- Committed to immediate conversion, for new employees at least, of public sector employee retirement fixed benefit pensions to the wonderful but often useless 401K type plans the rest of us private sector folks enjoy; don’t you just love those “flash crashes” that blow out a chunk of your 401K in about 35 minutes – you can safely bet that most public sector employees don’t ever face that kind of real world risk; it time to have them face the same reality we face.
- Committed to fostering conversion of public sector employees from unionized to not unionized.
- Committed to returning essentially all American troops from Japan, Europe, South Korea, and all of the Middle East as soon as reasonably practical, i.e., within about 2 years (the second world war is over and our allies have recovered and can take care of themselves; the Middle East can and will do what it wants because our troops can’t stop them; you can see the civil war coming to poor forlorn Iraq – it is only a matter of time before the blood starts flowing again).
The list could go on for a while, e.g., fixing bad infrastructure, etc. The point is that what we have now is a lot of failure. Some of the things on the list have more than a little to do with that failure, e.g., corruption of politics and politicians by special interest money. Despite the fury of the November elections, it is now apparent that nothing much new is on the political horizon.
However, one must wait to see what the Tea Party folks might do differently once they get settled into power in January. If they can get past their blinding political and religious ideology and act like pragmatic realists, then maybe they will be helpful. If not, then probably not.