I saw an article yesterday in some news feed that I get from somewhere (it may have even been a blog) that had the headline "When did America become so cautious?" The article was lamenting the lack of out-of-the-box thinking in American politics. Of course, it was focused upon the recent debit-ceiling crisis and the lack of original ideas and their rigidity of the approaches of the two sides in the debate.
I would submit that this is because all of the money and lobbying influence has lined up behind the extreme wings of the two parties. Members of either party who stray from the party hard-line are reigned in or threatened with the loss of committee assignments and campaign support. There is little room left for compromise or common sense.
I do believe that we are in a technology environment right now that would allow the creation and the success of a more moderate, centrist party. The ability of the Internet to support massive crowd sourcing, as evidenced in the recent uprisings in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East, could be used to bypass the need for as much on-the-ground party apparatus as has been required in the past. If Ashton Kutcher can get over a million people to sign up to follow him on Twitter in just as few weeks, I can imagine a charismatic politician being able to do even more.
What we have lacked is that intelligent and charismatic person who is willing and able to take on the established parties. Ross Perot tried it years ago with some success. He was eventually undone by his lack of the necessary political and communications skills to express a clear and credible alternative. He became a caricature.
So, we just need to find that independently wealthy, reasonably intelligent and charismatic person who sees personal value in serving his/her country to form the nucleus of a new centrist party and rally around him/her.
I'd sign up to follow him/her on Twitter and help them get other rational and moderate people elected to Congress.. Heaven knows we need someone better to follow that the clowns that we have in Washington now.