I Yield My Time to the Gentleman from Dispatches from the Culture Wars

One of the blogs I read regularly is Dispatches from the Culture WarsEd Brayton’s “tell it like it is” reports on the crazier precincts of the Right. Brayton himself is a “left-libertarian” with whom I have much in common philosophically.

Sometimes, he says things so clearly and succinctly that there is no point trying to improve on his message. The other day he shared one such observation, and I am simply copying and pasting most of it. (With attribution, so I don’t think he’ll mind.)

He begins by addressing the oft-repeated assertion that there is no difference between the parties:

Even as someone who has spent most of his life voting third party, the claim that there’s no difference between the Republican and Democratic parties is simply one of the most ridiculous and reality-defying statements of epic bullshit I have ever heard in my life and I cannot take seriously anyone who makes that claim.

Then he gives “chapter and verse.”

Here’s what I have said for a long time: When there’s a big bunch of money at stake, there’s not a whole lot of difference between the two parties. If the profits of major corporations and the net worth of billionaires is at stake in a policy fight, they’re going to get 100% of what they want from Republicans and about 90% of what they want from Democrats. But that does not mean that there are no meaningful, life-changing differences between the parties, not even close. Let me list the ways:

Only one party has passed more than 100 anti-choice bills after taking control of state legislatures in 2010. Only one party has passed bills to defund Planned Parenthood, putting the healthcare of millions of women in jeopardy. Only one party is furiously opposed to paid parental leave.

Only one party passes bills to prevent trans people from using the bathroom that matches their gender identity. Only one party supports discrimination against LGBT people in every possible way. Only one party supports giving Christians a “get out of discrimination laws free” card. Only one party rails against marriage equality. Only one party includes organizations that demonize LGBT people as demon-possessed child molesters. Only one party supports gay reversion therapy.

Only one party tries constantly, in every possible way, to cut or eliminate food stamps, Medicaid, housing subsidies and every other imaginable means of support for the poor.

Only one party puts justices like Scalia, Alito and Thomas on the Supreme Court.

I could go on, but that’s quite enough to show that the claim that there are no differences between the two parties is patently ridiculous.

So there!


  1. When the many issues we have dealt with and read about in the media are stretched over months and years, one or two at a time, it doesn’t seem quite as threatening as seeing them listed in one well written article…and it is a long list.

    At this time only one party has a total fool, a jackass, a sexist, racist, bigoted, anti-Semite, xenophobic, anti-Muslim, et al, as their presumptive presidential candidate in November 2016. Neither Bernie, our Independent/Democratic Socialist hopeful or Hillary Clinton, former Republican/current Democrat have not espoused these deep-seated discriminations as their campaign foundation. They differ on solutions to the actual problems in this country today but basically agree on the issues while Republicans support Trump, but try to remove themselves from anything Trump says. Of course there is that in-fighting between Bernie and Hillary supporters and the further in-fighting between “Bernie or Bust” and “Never Hillary” factions withing the Bernie supporters in the Democratic party. Sigh; sometimes I get so tired!

    Only one party has no idea what they are doing or where they are trying to lead the American people…are they waiting for orders from the Koch brothers? Apparently the Democrats have received their orders publicly from President Obama.

  2. The gerrymandered districts are the main buffer for the Super Majority Republicans being able to pass the far right social agenda in Indiana. I’ll vote Democrat in November.

  3. Bravo, bravo to Ed Brayton for summing up the actual, no-spin, reality of what’s going on so very well and bravo, bravo to you for posting it! What the Dems have to do between now and this fall, including here in Indiana, where they are rarely heard from, is hammer home these very real differences and put every Republican candidate on the spot with extreme vigor regarding these obvious differences. If they manage to win because we let them we are all going to be in for a very real world of hurt and so will successive generations of Americans where what these fools continue to propose today will be the norm for them.

  4. Thank you, Sheila! I have bookmarked the blog so I can refer to it when I need the information for the discussions that will be coming before the election.

  5. Brayton is brilliant. Someone told me once that he started out in standup comedy, which disproves my old theory, supported by the jerkiness of Bill Maher & Dennis Miller, that comedians automatically make terrible writers & pundits.

  6. And only one party tries to trample the majority for the minority in overstepping boundaries rather than encouraging equal treatment under the law.

    Only one party tries to regularly limit or revoke your freedoms for “public safety”.

    Only one party tries to nanny people beyond their rights to do so.

    But both parties perpetuate war, division amongst the citizenry, launder tax dollars to private hands, bloat the industrial-military complex, spy on its citizens, lie, abuse power, cater to the corporate elite, etc.

    In any meaningful way they are identical, it’s only the superfluous that they differ on – the candy for the masses is their only divergence.

    Keep drinking that Kool-aid.

  7. Only one party would consider things like equal treatment under the law and the most basic and grudging support of the poor “superfluous” and “candy for the masses.”

  8. Brayton’s piece is like a handbook for us. It’s bee-yoo-tiful beyond belief.

    Disappointed Joe is losing ground every time he tries unsuccessfully to defend the r’s and their self-serving agenda.

  9. Joe, you always come forth with some cynical statements but nothing positive or beneficial ever appears in you answers. Why is that?

  10. One has to wonder why Disappointed Joe is apparently trapped here. Surely there must be better places for him.

    Of course it’s possible that behind his deep depression is not what his words portray but just another version of “the claim that there’s no difference between the Republican and Democratic parties”.

    Fortunately for America the differences between the parties are huge. Not that the Democrats are perfect, politics never have been nor ever will be, but they are perfectly adequate for maintaining a leading country. They are functional while the GOP is dysfunctional; unable to even nominate a qualified Presidential Candidate or run Congress or maintain the Supreme Court or many state houses.

    The only question left is will the GOP disappear in a pile of conservative stench or will something functional arise from the ashes?

    While we are merely spectators for that question we have a country to run, progress to be made, a race to be run with the other countries of the world.

    The RNC has become simply irrelevant.

    I’ve always thought that as politics moves from national to local the importance of electing the right person compared to party increases. So priority #1 now is rid DC of the party and then address individuals at the state and local levels. I don’t know what successfully pulling that off would result in but I’m sure that there would be some Rs left. Perhaps enough to rebuild the party, perhaps not. I’d love to see a two party system maintained as competition inspires innovation but don’t see two as essential in politics as it is in business.

    President Obama did a remarkable job of restoring the country to functional and flirted with better despite not having a functional Congress.

    We need to keep progressing.

  11. Mr. Brayton left out one of my favorite differences. Only one party believes science is irrelevant and that God will solve all our problems, if we’re just Christian enough.

  12. Mr Brayton’s words have a certain appeal for me. His words, plus Ms Kennedy’s mention that he embraces a libertarian philosophy, triggered my search for the Libertarian Party’s statement of principles and political platform.

    After reading the Libertarian’s Preamble, Statement of Principles, and then Article 1.0 Personal Liberty, I found myself in agreement with most of what I read, not everything but with the big issues. I didn’t have the time to complete the remaining Articles 2.0 through 4.0; however, I will complete the reading.

    If you relish choice, freedom, and living in relative peace with most folks, then read the following https://www.lp.org/platform

  13. BSH, consider this: Libertarian is all about freedom from government. Reality demonstrates that it’s not the biggest risk to liberty especially when the form of government is Democracy. Maintaining security, business, education, health care and the environment are, and they requires strong government.

  14. The Republican Party by yielding to clueless bullies is headed the way of Whigdom and will not survive the November election in its present form irrespective of the result of such election. Why? Because its members do not share a common governing philosophy, the only reason to have a political party in the first instance, and as its predecessor Whig Party discovered in 1854.

  15. Disappointed Joe writes:

    “In any meaningful way they are identical, it’s only the superfluous that they differ on – the candy for the masses is their only divergence.”

    How easy it must be for you to dismiss the rights of more than 150 million people (women) and of all LGBT people as not “meaningful.” It’s all about you, so fuck other people.

  16. While I don’t necessarily disagree with the writer,I don’t entirely agree. I agree,Republicans will give the corporately (they are now people) amongst us 100%. I disagree with the percentage wrt the Democrats. It’s more like 95-98%.

    Not mentioned is both tribes are working to dismantle the social safety net. This is a subject that should be concerning to everyone;LGBT,Black,White,et al. Everyone outside of the most affluent and wealthy.

    Of course,wealth inequality and the dismantling of the safety net doesn’t get much sunlight. That is something the oligarchs and their puppets (politicians) don’t want anyone noticing. So,we are given new shiny objects to distract our attention. Gay Parades are fine. It allows a group to feel emboldened and accepted. Nothing wrong with that. We should be inclusive instead of exclusive. But In the grand scheme of things it’s a bread and circus act. 20-30+ years from now when those same folks in the parade are in need of the safety net and find out it has been privatized to Wall St……

    Reminds me of a line in an Eagles tune: “Someone stole the mountains while the town got high.”

  17. This is germane to the topic. A synopsis from the vid:

    From the brilliant Adolph Reed:

    And that’s a notion of racial justice that first of all fits very comfortably with the people in elite colleges where I’ve been teaching for the last 35 years because they’re all expected to be part of the upper class, but it also has meant that we have a national politics now. And this takes us back to the fault lines in the current race, that that we have a national politics now that has for 20 years at least, longer, given us two choices. And one of them is a party that’s committed to Wall Street and to neoliberalism and is deeply and earnestly committed to a notion of diversity and multiculturalism, and a party that’s committed to Wall Street and neoliberalism, and is deeply opposed to multiculturalism and diversity.


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