Ed Kilgore provides a very nice service over at the Political Animal blog in providing a good overview of what is happening in politics throughout the day. And even though I’ve always know that he is a New Democrat, he hasn’t manage to really annoy me until yesterday. That’s when he started writing about the American Prospect/Democratic Strategist forum on entitlements. He quoted approvingly the following from Henry Aaron, “With opposition to social insurance more intense than in decades, progressives need to consider carefully what extensions of social insurance they want to seek, what redesigns of the current system they should entertain, and what cutbacks in the current system they might tolerate in exchange for high-priority gains.” That’s a winning strategy there, my New Democratic “allies”!
But it sounds kind of familiar. Actually, very familiar. Isn’t that exactly what the Democratic Party has been doing for the last 38 years? Isn’t that what Obama seems to be best at: bargaining with himself? It’s weird, but I don’t remember any major meeting of Republicans where they discuss what kind of military cuts they’ll take in exchange for tax reductions on the rich. Maybe that’s because as fucked up as the Republican Party is, they at least support what their base believes in. In fact, the Republican elites are actually more conservative than their base. But with the Democrats: no.
This has been going on for forty fucking years! The Republicans take a step to the right so the Democrats follow. This is not because the people keep moving to the right. What seems to have happened is that economic liberalism has been defined out of existence. But the fact remains that the poor vote liberal, and the more poor the terrible economic policies make, the more people will vote for the Democrats. But there seems to be no economic liberalism left in the party at the elite level.
Now liberalism is all about social issues: abortion-choice and gay rights. That does not bode well for the Democratic Party. Abortion will continue to be an issue, but in a generation, gay rights will not. Is that what our entire two party system is going to be about: abortion? And given how well the Democrats have done protecting their former economic agenda, in 2034 the big debate will be whether the “morning after pill” should be legal. Great job guys! Who do I write the check to?
Let me be clear: all this New Democrat and the old Democratic Leadership Council bullshit is nothing but the power elites trying to push the Democratic Party to the right on economic issues. They are fine with the social issues because they do not really care about the social issues. Just like the Republican elites. The Koch brothers don’t much care about abortion so long as their taxes stay low and they can destroy all unions. Regardless, the rich can always move or send their pregnant daughters to Italy for an abortion. Even if the Democrats win all their social battles, it won’t mean much to the people in the new banana (“Finance!”) republic we’ve allow this country to become.