Very interesting reading today in a piece by Victoria White (see link below). Where as I will obviously be biased in favour of her article the main point it highlights though for me is this tribal nature some people (and it's particularly prevalent around these parts) bring to the political arena. This perception that there is one type of person who thinks one defined set of ideologies and that it's not possible to be a member of said party unless you fit this very rigid mold or stereotype. This phenomenon is not confined to members of political parties in their view of each other but is engaged in by the general public. It is, as pointed out in the article, perpetuated by politicos and journalists. In my opinion, this persecution, and it is taken to extremes in the US, of "everyone else but (insert political party/candidate of choice here) is simply evil and can do no right ever" is something that is greatly holding democracy back in our country.
Another point it seemingly asks is, if a party can go from good to bad, what is to stop it returning to good again? Most posters here would agree that Fianna Fáil under Lemass was progressive both economically and socially for the times and that, economically, the '87 minority or "Tallaght Strategy" government sowed the seed for two decades of relative prosperity. Why does the poor economic planning when, seemingly the writing was on the wall, of the 00's preclude a party from reforming as before especially when the public have accepted a reformed FG, Labour and ever increasingly it seems SF? Historical precedent says such a turnaround is indeed possible even after a Bailout and temporarily loss of partial sovereignty (UK Labour party after 1976).