January 18, 2005


Democrats blocking their path to success (JOHN O'SULLIVAN, January 18, 2005, Chicago Tribune)

[T]here is a massive obstacle to any real re-thinking of Democrat policy preferences -- the Democrats really believe in the policies they are being advised to reject. And even the reformers differ among themselves.

That is most obvious in relation to the anti-war wing of the party. Indeed, it is so obvious that New Republic editor Peter Beinart, who opened the campaign for a party more friendly to tough national security policies, conceded that it would need a party purge of "softs" in order to secure it and to convince the public of its reality.

Do party moderates like Beinart have either the numbers or the organizational passion to carry it out? Almost certainly not. If a Democrat election campaign dominated organizationally by extreme liberal groups like MoveOn.org is any guide, both numbers and organization seem to be on the "soft" side.

As for "moral issues," national security neo-liberals have little sympathy for changing the moral stance of the party. Beinart himself opposes any backsliding from Democrat support for gay marriage.

So when Kennedy charged out to defeat the reformers -- issuing the clarion call that the Democrats could not win with "pale issues and timid voices" -- he found that the battle had been won before his arrival. He advocated a massive expansion of social programs in a pro forma way (there is no chance of it happening), accepted the applause, and went home.

What makes this internal paralysis so dangerous to the Democrats is that they are even more out of touch with ordinary Americans than they or the pundits realize. There are two political spectrums in America today -- an elite spectrum and a popular spectrum.

The elite spectrum has the Democrats in the center, the voters on the center-right, and the Republicans on the far right. No one ever outlines this structure of opinion as clearly and explicitly as that. But it is regularly implied by the establishment media or centrist pundits in the course of their commentaries.

Thus when some judicial appointee is discovered to have criticized racial preferences, he is described by the New York Times as "out of the mainstream" even though about two-thirds of the electorate is opposed to preferences too. The same dismissive treatment is meted out to public figures who propose leaving the U.N., express pro-life views, oppose gay marriage, and so on.

As the example of racial preferences suggests, however, these judgments reflect elite opinion rather than the views of the American electorate.

The GOP is barely far enough Right to be in the mainstream of the popular spectrum.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 18, 2005 12:56 PM

Vouchers for kids living more than 5 miles from the White House would be a good starter.

Posted by: Palmcroft at January 18, 2005 1:17 PM

Left is center, center is center-right, right is far-right, war is peace, hate is love. Once again we see that words and truth mean less than nothing to a Marxist. Only bullets matter--so be it.

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 19, 2005 5:31 AM