Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Zombie Parties

Jonathan Rauch makes a very valid point about zombie Parties:

We know what happens when movements or parties continue to stagger forward after running out of ideas: They become zombies. Zombie parties are a recurrent feature of electoral democracies. Unable to articulate any coherent or workable governing philosophy, they mindlessly jab at cultural hot buttons, mechanically repeat hardwired tropes ("cut taxes, cut taxes, cut taxes"), nurse tribal resentments, ostracize independent thinkers. Above all, they feel positively proud of their doggedness. You can’t talk them out of it. Think of the Republicans in the FDR years, the Democrats in the Reagan years, the British Labour Party in the Thatcher period, and the British Conservative Party in the Blair period. Think of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party for most of the past half-century, or France’s Socialists today. To get a new brain, zombie parties usually need to spend years out of power or wait until a new generation rises to leadership.

Add to the list the Congress in the late 90's and the BJP after 2004.

The "civil war" currently going on in the BJP is merely a battle for turf. It's not a serious discussion about it's failed rhetoric. The BJP needs to realize that the culture war that they and their affiliates represent are now over. The people don't want the regressive politics that the BJP represents. This does not mean that they don't have a base. There are a large number of people out there who agree with the sentiment that the BJP represents. But there numbers have decreased and people have generally moved on from that train of thought. The BJP now needs to literally "find" itself. I suggest going to the himalayas for a few months. It seemed to work out very well for the guy in The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.

Which does not mean that the Congress doesn't need to work on it's image. The Congress was handed a victory by the people mostly because they saw through the naked opportunism represented by the so called Third and Fourth fronts. The Congress was really meek in the lead up to the results and was desperately trying to hold on to power no matter how much they would have to compromise. The whole shtick of the Congress is that people think of it as a  "lesser evil". In which world is that a prudent long-term PR strategy?

As for the regional parties, they just exist so as to provide their leaders and his/her extended family with enough money so that they can live like a king and talk like a pauper.

2 comments:

arayans said...

beautiful.
somehow, when u try to write logical sense, it's much better than otherwise :)

Over Rated said...

@Aryans: LOL! Thanks, I think . . . :P . . .

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