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Google's Brin: Elected officials should quit political parties

Calls US government 'a bonfire of partisanship'

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As Americans head to the polls in the 2012 national election, Google cofounder Sergey Brin has called on the winners of political races to renounce their parties and govern as independents.

"I must confess, I am dreading today's elections," Brin wrote in a post to his Google+ page. "Not because of who might win or lose . . . But because no matter what the outcome, our government will still be a giant bonfire of partisanship."

The solution, according to Brin, is for elected officials to immediately quit whichever party brought them into office and carry out their duties "as independents in name and in spirit."

"It is ironic since whenever I have met with our elected officials they are invariably thoughtful, well-meaning people," Brin wrote. "And yet collectively 90 per cent of their effort seems to be focused on how to stick it to the other party."

There has indeed been plenty of partisanship in evidence throughout this year's Presidential race, particularly around economic issues. Republican hopeful Mitt Romney has derided President Obama as being – if not exactly a socialist – a "big spending liberal," while the Obama campaign has accused Romney of catering solely to the wealthy.

Brin himself definitely falls into the latter group. According to Forbes, he has a net worth of around $20bn, making him the thirteenth richest person in the US (tied with Google CEO Larry Page).

And yet his own political inclinations have leaned toward the Obama camp. According to the political watchdog site OpenSecrets.org, Brin donated $5,000 to the President's reelection campaign in 2011 and gave another $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee.

Maybe that's because the Obama administration has done little that compares with the brand of socialism Brin remembers from his childhood. Born in Russia to Jewish parents, in 1979 Brin emigrated from the Soviet Union at age 6 with his family due to the anti-Semitic policies of the ruling Communist Party.

In his Google+ post, Brin called upon elected officials to reject any kind of party line. "It is probably the biggest contribution you can make to the country," he wrote.

His comments went live around midnight Pacific Time on Tuesday, a few hours before the first polls were due to open on the East Coast.

Of the hundreds of replies to his post, many seem to agree with his sentiment, though few seem to believe that a US government free from party ideology was likely to happen any time soon.

Commenter Ryan Hayes was particularly skeptical, writing, "Trying to fix 'the system' by calling on politicians to behave themselves is like trying to cure AIDS by telling people to have sex in less aggressive positions."

In concluding his post, Brin asked Americans who agree with him to pass it on to their newly elected officials, once the results are tabulated. ®

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