To the editor:
Ms. Slemmer (Public Forum, Aug. 9) has found a simple ideological causality for the downgrade of our national credit rating. She is entitled to her opinion. It is unfortunate that such opinions make the actual resolution of the large deficit facing our country so difficult. Compromise is difficult under the best of circumstances. Demonizing your opponent makes it even harder.
I have been vocal in blaming our elected officials for this problem. I admit my error. The real problem is those extremists in both parties that drive our debate. In an environment where the majority of our national legislature is assured election by political association, the extremes in the two parties dominate.
While the majority of the electorate self-identifies as moderate, they seem to have little influence with the party leadership loyal to those extremes. The old not-so-sneaky trick of splitting the national leadership in the search for compromise no longer works. On the contrary, compromise may be fatal to the political survival of an elected official.
Perhaps the only way we can address hard problems like our debt crisis in the political environment prevailing today is to establish one or more centrist parties to which the moderates can gravitate. The abrupt and erratic progress when the electorate infrequently grants political control to one of the existent parties may just be too disruptive to justify the continuation of our two-party system. We might learn from our many democratic allies that a multiparty system better serves the public interest.