We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Dem Party on the Skids, from a Liberal in Recovery
I am past gloating about the success of the conservative movement, and I am not worried about the effects of the Dems being a long-term minority party. After all, the Repubs were in the wilderness for over 40 years, and during much of that time, a TV political debate consisted of two Dems with different views.
Their problem, as I have pontificated here before, is that they have painted themselves into a Left-flavored, anti-military, morally-relativistic, elitist, anti-religion, anti-tradition, big govt, and reactionary corner, a corner from which vantage point the past seems large, and the future small. And the Lefty flavoring has become so pronounced that their candidates are reluctant to voice their vision openly, because it's a losing vision nationally. They are out in the ozone, breathing very thin air.
That secret vision, as best I can tell, is to shape the US into something like France, or Sweden, or the old Soviet Union - or something like that. That's fairly crazy. However, their seeming delight in undermining traditional institutions and cultural icons is what seems to tick people off the most - no respect for the cultural, religious and historical foundations of the country that have served us so well, with the countless blessings that make us the role model and desired destination of the world, whether they admit it or not.
No doubt a way will be found for the Dems to dump this antiquated Marxist baggage over time and to regain some power. There is no doubt that powerlessness does not become them. Sooner or later, they will get on the right side of history - or fake it. Or, more likely, the Repubs will blow it.
This is especially relevant at a time when those nations which took the left fork in the road are scrambling desperately to change direction to get back on the highway to freedom from stifling, overbearingly maternalistic governments "that know what is best for us" - the very thing we had a revolution to get rid of. Who knows, maybe they did know best, but that was not the point. Americans would rather make their own mistakes than forfeit their power to politicans - a class of humans for whom they have little respect.
Patrick Hynes has written a piece called The Nostalgia Party which I think captures the pickle the Dems find themselves in (from corner to pickle - yes, I see it - this isn't literature). He reviews an American Prospect symposium called "Tax and Spend! The Case for Big Government," and provides a series of excerpts from presenters, for example:
Jack P. Shonkoff insists an expansive federal government is necessary to raising healthy kids.
Since when are families obsolete?
Robert Kuttner proposes a bizarro "Ownership Society" in which the government owns almost everything.
Russia and China already tried that. It wasn't pretty.
And Paul Starr opines that government rationed freedom is the only means by which to obtain true liberty.
Note that last line. Scarey. Where have we heard that kind of double-think before? This is not a joke, folks. From all of this, you might imagine that Liberals believe that the country is in deep trouble, if not in an emergency, rather than being the wealthiest, most powerful, most charitable, most Christian and most free country in the world - with the highest social mobility too. Hynes concludes:
The modern liberal movement, as characterized by the American Prospect's big government symposium, has devolved into a reactionary and unimaginative faction pining for the glory days of the early and mid 20th Century when government expansion was all the rage and "the future" was happening now in the old Soviet Union.
But on top of recommending pessimistic ideas, there is considerable evidence the dreamy left is also just plain wrong. Consider America's forty-year-and-counting war on poverty. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of Americans below 125% of the poverty line was 21.3% when Lyndon Johnson's Great Society war began in 1966. It remained nearly that high until 1983, when Ronald Reagan's tax cuts kicked in. From then through 1989, poverty fell to 17.3%. It actually spiked again during the Bush (41) and Clinton presidencies, but it is once again receding during the Bush (43) presidency, where it currently stands at 16.9%. In these data, we hear echoes of Ronald Reagan asking "why would we ever want to go back?"
Of course. Wise observers knew it at the time - Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty" was a vote-buying scam perpetrated on a generous and naive nation, and nothing more. The goal of eliminating poverty remains a good one - but how? Anyway, read the whole thing at TechCentral.