Shadow over Both Parties' Houses

Article excerpt

Speaking to a group about politics in the spring of the year 2000 when the primaries had hardly gotten under way, I was challenged to predict who would be the next president. Not having the foggiest idea, I said, deadpan, that the Democratic convention would break up in chaos, unable to nominate anybody, the Republicans would nominate George W. Bush, who would run unopposed - and lose.

It was just a joke, mind you, but it is now happening that Americans, fed up with Republicans and not seeing much better among the Democrats, are more and more inclined to express their disillusionment with the political system by saying, "a plague on both your houses."

In an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, only 24 percent say Republicans represent their priorities, but only 26 percent favor the Democrats. Similarly, in a Washington Post/ABC poll, 35 percent approve of the job Republicans are doing, but the Democrats fare little better with 41 percent.

Why this deep disillusionment with the American political system? …