Friday, April 27, 2012
The Democrats' always-duck-your-head-and-apologize-for-existing approach to partisan politicsCharlie Pierce has a good summary of the neoliberal evolution of the Democratic Party, though the post tile is a bit sensationalist, The Great Surrendering: How Cabal Became Our Politics Esquire Politics Blog 04/26/2012.
Referring to Obama's recent Esquire interview in which the President includes yet another statement of hope that some Republicans will see that he represents sweet reason, Pierce comments, "Because they can't look honestly at what they've done to themselves, the Democrats generally engage in semi-annual unicorn hunts in which they go off in search of reasonable Republicans with whom they can deal." I'm surprised he didn't expand on the unicorn metaphor with a twist on unicorns and virgins, because there must be a good way to work that in.
What Pierce means by what the Democrats have done to themselves is this:
I think I can — and recently have — offered at least a partial answer. It, of course, began to happen in the 1960's, when the Democrats allied themselves with the civil-rights movement and lost the South and those parts of the North where people thought the South had a point. But it really accelerated in the 1970's, when the Democratic party overreacted to what happened to George McGovern and began whoring after corporate money, an effort that required them to abandon at least partly their traditional allies in the civil-rights and labor movements, and to soften their positions on a number of important issues, and basically inculcated into the party a permanent instinct for accommodation and surrender that was only strengthened after the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. The rise of the Democratic Leadership Council was, in its own way, one of the largest white flags in the history of American politics. In fact, one of the most dismal weekends of my life came at the 1982 Democratic "Mid-Term" Convention, where it became plain that great progressives like the late Billie Carr of Texas were no longer welcomed by the party's serious people.David Atkins at Hullabaloo quotes Thomas Franks' book Pity the Millionaire on the attitude of the neoliberal Democrats (The problem in a nutshell 04/27/2012):
Oh, but a country where everyone listens to specialists and gets along – that's a utopia these new Dems regard with prayerful reverence. They dream of bipartisanship and states that-are-neither-red-nor-blue and some reasonably-arrived-at consensus future where the culture wars cease and everyone improves their SAT scores forevermore under the smiling, beneficent sun of free trade and the knowledge industries.Neither of their comments directly addresses the other big problem in this process: the Cold War that thrived on threat inflation that was replaced by a bipartisan consensus of American triumphalism and a world-dominance foreign policy strategy (no "peer competitors") that has been enhanced for the last ten years by the War on Terror and the even more absurd threat inflation that goes with it.
But Pierce and Franks both give good summaries there of the Democratic Party's current situation on domestic and economic issues.
Tags: democratic party, neoliberalism
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
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