“In American politics we have several parties included under the blanket words “Democratic” and “Republican.” In oversimplified terms, as I have said, were the party of the middle class, and the Democrats were the party of the fringes. Both of these were subdivided, each with a Congressional and a National Party wing.
The Republican Congressional Party (representing localism) was much further to the right than the National Republican Party, and as such was closer to the petty-bourgeois than to the upper-middle class outlook. The Democratic Congressional party was much more clearly of the fringes and minorities (and thus often further to the Left) than the Democrat National Party.
The party machinery in each case was in Congressional party control during the intervals between the quadrennial presidential elections, but, in order to win these elections, each had to call into existence, in presidential election years, its shadowy National Party. This meant that the Republicans had to appear to move to the Left, closer to the Center, usually moving to the Right.
As a result, the National parties and their presidential candidates, with the Eastern Establishment assiduously fostering the process being the scenes, moved closer together and nearly met in the center with almost identical candidates and platforms, although the process was concealed, as much as possible, by the revival of obsolescent or meaningless war cries and slogans (often going back to the Civil War).
As soon as the presidential election was over, the two National parties vanished, and party controls fell back into the hands of the two Congressional parties, leaving the President in a precarious position between the two Congressional parties, neither of which was very close to the brief National coalition that had elected him.
The chief problem of American political life for a long time had been to make the two Congressional parties more national and international.
The argument of two parties should represent opposed ideas and policies, one perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinate and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can “throw the rascals out” at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy. The policies that are vital and necessary for America are no longer subjects of significant disagreement, but are disputable only in details of procedure, priority, or method.”
Carroll Quigely – “Tragedy and Hope” pp. 1247-1248
Quigley was born in Boston, and attended Harvard University, where he studied history and earned B.A, M.A., and Ph.D. degrees. He taught at Princeton University, and then at Harvard, and then at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University from 1941 to 1976.
From 1941 until 1969, he taught a two-semester course at Georgetown on the development of civilizations. According to the obituary in the Washington Star, many alumni of Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service asserted that this was “the most influential course in their undergraduate careers”
In addition to his academic work, Quigley served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Navy, the Smithsonian Institution, and the House Select Committee on Astronautics and Space Exploration in the 1950s.
In his freshman year in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown, future U.S. President Bill Clinton took Quigley’s course, receiving a ‘B’ as his final grade in both semesters. Clinton named Quigley as an important influence on his aspirations and political philosophy in 1991, when launching his presidential campaign in a speech at Georgetown.
Click here to read “Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time”
Source: Under The Radar