Democrats Work to Sell Out Liberalism

The End Is NearEd 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.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

3 thoughts on “Democrats Work to Sell Out Liberalism

  1. Liberalism can not fail, it can only be failed! Death to the Democratic Party Elites that show up and vote while the Liberal "base" (that’s less than 25% of the Party and tends to not show up and vote at anything, let alone primary’s where there voice would be the most effective)dictates it’s divine message to the masses.

    Seriously though you win elections by showing up an voting. If the "Liberals" don’t show up and vote, the don’t win, and the country marches to the right because "Liberals" are too high minded to show up and actually vote in the primaries. If the "Liberals" were as much of the "base" of the Democratic Party as you’re claiming them to be, they’d control the Primaries with an iron fist like the Tea Party. But they don’t. You keep harping about people who don’t actually exist. Or at least I hope they don’t. If they did exist they would actually have to justify themselves for not showing up when the Democratic Party needs them the most.

  2. All that being said, the Dem’s are horrible about playing the game that they find themselves in. They do dumb things like give up what little leverage they have a lot of the time in dumb moves. Making the latest Tax Cuts permanent was horribly dumb. Especially because that was about the only thing that expired on a regular basis that the Dem’s could treat the same way that the Republicans treat Dem Priorities.

  3. @Guest – As for the first comment, I’m going to have to think about this. But I may have expressed myself poorly in my rant. As I harp on all the time around here, voting is the key to everything. If we could get all the poor people to vote, we would live in a liberal paradise. But in their defense, they often have one or more jobs they have to go to. (But you are right: I have upper-middle class, liberal friends who, for example, did not show up to vote against Chris Christie!)

    Along these lines, my belief is that the Democrats would be better served working on GOTV than in "appealing" to the middle. For one thing, I think the middle (such as it is) swings one way or the other based on economic fundamentals.

    I have to admit, before I was [i]assuming[/i] there are a lot of economic populist who vote Republican over social issues. Now thinking more in terms of the political science I actually know, a lot poor social conservatives still vote for the Democrats. It is mostly all about economics:

    [url=]It’s the Poor, Stupid[/url]

    As to your second comment, I agree but maybe in a different way than you think. I definitely think a much better deal could have been struck. That was like winning only the ante when you are dealt a royal flush. But I think the best thing would have been another two year extension. We need all the stimulus we can get. And if Obama could have got that for a two year suspension of the Sequester, that would have been great.

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