The Decline of the Democrats Posted by: Dale Franks
on Thursday, February 02, 2006
Tony Blankely writes that the president's State of the Union Address provided us with a defining moment for the Democratic Party.
Surely, at the State of the Union address the Democratic Party provided such a moment when, as has already been well commented on by others, they wildly applauded President Bush's statement that Congress failed to pass Social Security reform last year.
As the party of reactionary inertia — as the party that not only doesn't have any solutions to today's dangers and problems but denies that such problems exist — the Democrats on the floor of the House Tuesday night demonstrated a flawless, intuitive sense of its new, disfunctional self.
The Democrats' wild applause on behalf of doing nothing was more than a merely tactical political blunder. It displayed a deeper truth about them.
If one recalls, last year, the official position of the Democratic Party was not only that they opposed President Bush's Social Security reform, they argued there was no crisis — no major problem that required rectification.
(In fact, Social Security has $4 trillion of unfunded liability, and if major changes are not made quickly, we will only be able to pay the retired baby boomers about 70 cents for each dollar of promised benefits.)
Social Security is the single most iconic Democratic Party issue of the past hundred years — the Democrats created Social Security in 1935, and have won countless elections since then by beating up Republicans for allegedly not supporting it. It was the Democratic Party's sacred virgin. They would lie for it, die for it, steal for it, demagogue for it — but never cheer its demise or harm, even sarcastically.
Their collective decision to cheer the failure of the body politic to provide for sufficient revenues to pay the benefits was an act of historic shame for the Democratic Party.
Worse than that for the Democrats, it shows how severely degraded their political instincts have become. Tip O'Neil's Democratic Party of 20 years ago would never have cheered the failure of Social Security — even to try to make a small political point. To be sure, they would demagogue the issue ruthlessly, but never be seen to be walking away from the sacred program.
Until George Bush became president, the Democrats, for better and for worse, were a liberal party. Deformed by hatred of the current president, the Democrats have become a nihilist party.
I beleive we are seeing the end of the Democratic Party as we have known it. Certainly the party, as it exists today is no longer a "liberal" party. The party of FDR, Truman, and Kennedy is no more. Indeed, I doubt John F. Kennedy would come anywhere close to being considered a Democrat today.
The Democratic Party has become an almost oxymoronic party, a party of radical reactionaries. Radical in that the liberalism of traditional Democratic Party politics have become the leftist politics of today. Yet, reactionary in that, while the nation has, over the past three decades shifted to the right, the Democrats have become the party of obstruction when faced with that movement.
Even worse, the Democratic Party has become a party that us utterly bereft of ideas. They hate the war in Iraq, but have no strategy for dealing with it other than withdrawal. They refuse to acknowledge that Social Security, or any other defined-benefits pension plan, is simply not financially sustainable with the country's current democgraphic makeup. They constantly deride the president's wild spending, but even a casual persual of their policy suggestions unveils nothing more than higher spending—albeit with higher taxes—for as far as the eye can see. At a time when the European governments are struggling to keep their economies moving, strangled as they are by layers of soclialist policy, the Democrats' only suggestion is to implement those same policies over here, despite their increasingly apparent failure everywhere they've been tried.
Increasingly, the Democrats are becoming captives of the MoveOn crowd, angry, and dissafected. This is not a prescription for electoral success, because the vast majority of American are not disappointed in this country, nor do they see it as a nexus of evil.
I believe we are edging closer to a time when the two parties, as we have known them, will no longer exist. I beleive the Democratic Party is on the verge of a historical split. One of those resulting parties will be an angry party of the left, doomed to electoral irrelevance. Hopefully, the other party will be a rational, respectable, center-left party that will serve a useful purpose, in both opposition and government.
I get the impression the Democrats plan to let Social Security persist on its course. They want to use the fact many people feel rabidly entitled to ’their share’ to leverage wildly increased taxes in the future and moving us closer to a socialist paradise.
Sorry, but that’s the best theory I can come up without the Democrats being just complete *bleeping* morons.
I had a discussion about SS last night with someone who "thinks like Noam Chomsky" but is sometimes fairly reasonable.
When I said that many democrats believe SS is "fine" and needs no reform he disputed that anyone said this. Anyone have a link to them actually saying it isn’t broken. (No blogs allowed...he only trusts Chomsky and direct quotes."
They stood to applaud not inaction, but rather to applaud their succsessful thwarting of this Presidents goal of stripping what is considered by the MAJORITY of Americans as the embodiment of the social contract between a government and those governed. We stood poised to ensure the futuree solvency of Social Security at the beginning of the Bush presidency, and we had the greatest economic surplus in our history to do it with. Instead, we gave it back to the rich and the corporate interests that paid to put Bush in office, and this Presidnet continues to day to focus on giving away America’s future to the rich.
I think you are right on what they were applauding, however:
Would the surplus have really taken care of the problem?
If the economy had went into a deeper recession because of the lack of either stimulus or tax cuts, would you still have had surplus? I doubt it.
The real problem is the demographic issues and those won’t go away. Less people being born. People living longer. I guarantee the dems will reform social security when they are in power using very similar ideas to Bush, extending the age, possible means test, and of course private accounts.
If they don’t do that, and raise taxes to cover the gap for all eternity, then I will bow my head in shame.
I know this is the liberal line—Bush’s tax cuts are killing Social Security. Sorry, it just ain’t so. Even if the tax cuts had never happened, you might be able to extend it for a few years, if that.
(CAVEAT—The tax cuts probably prevented a worse recession in 2001 which may have lowered tax receipts even MORE than the tax cut so the cuts may actually have no effect at all on the program. This isn’t even getting into Medicare, which is a much bigger, immediate problem and which Bush DID make worse with the prescripton drug program, which the Dems don’t think is GENEROUS enough—but that’s a whole other topic.)
The bottom line is that the demographics just don’t add up. It’s a generational Ponzi scheme, it just can’t be sustained. Sorry, but that’s the cold, hard truth.
You live in California. As the old saying says, as California goes, so goes the nation. The idea behind the saying is that California is the canary in the coal mine, a window on the future.
So what does that window tell us about the fates of the repsective political parties?
It tells us that the GOP is fast on its way to becoming a joke. Arnold’s election was an exception to the rule. And the thumping he took in the last special election only proves his election was a fluke. Sure California has some budget problems. But compared to the train wreck that Bush has made of the federal government, California looks fiscally sound.
By contrast, a nice GOP state is Mississippi. Tell me, Dale, which state would you rather live in? If you hate Dems so much, why don’t you move to a nice GOP state? There is plenty of room in North Dakota, I hear. I’m sure they would welcome you with open arms.
That you rely on Tony Blankley top make your point speaks volumes.
First of all, the man has no judgment whatsoever. Why would you quote this pig? His observations are typical right-wing extremism, with a little racism mixed in.
Take, for example, his appearence on June 3, 2004, on Fox News. In an effort at insulting George Soros, he called Soros a "Jew who figured out a way to survive the Holocaust." Putting aside the obvious anti-Semitism (who in their right mind would call a Jewish person a "Jew" on national television? Would you call a Japanese person a "Jap," or a Chinese persons a "Chink"? WTF was he thinking? Or was he thinking at all), he makes it sound as if surviving the holocaust was some kind of shameful act. What is the deal with his anti-Semitism? Why would you quote such a freak so extensively? And since when was figuring out a way to not get killed by the Nazis a bad thing? (Well, to Blankley it might be a bad thing, I suppose.
Dale, I thought you had more class than to quote this racist, anti-Semitic pig. I guess I was wrong.
And of course, you are completely out of touch with what is going on at the state level. A Democrat getting elected to the governship in Vigrinia? Two in a row?
Dale, your rant has all the hallmarks of a captain going down with the ship. The Dems won the ideological debate long ago. If they are the party of government, as you wingers claim, then the current debate between the GOP and the Dems is who is the better Democratic party - the GOP or the Dems. My money is on the Dems. Yours is on the borrow and spend and spend and spend GOP.
Yet, reactionary in that, while the nation has, over the past three decades shifted to the right, the Democrats have become the party of obstruction when faced with that movement.
In compliance with your new guidelines, you obviously don’t know the f*ck you are talking about.
Lets deconstruct your assertion that the nation has "shifted to the right" over the last three decades. This assertion is so wrong, so unconnected with reality, that I can assume only that you were under the influence when you made it.
Take homosexuality, for example. 30 years ago, gays hid in the shadows. Now, with the country going left, homosexuality has gained widespread acceptance. Take marijuana too. Many states now allow it for medical uses. 30 years ago, reefer madness was the order of the day. Take also divorce. Now, it is no big deal to be divorced. But 30 years ago, it mattered. The same could be said with respect to the following subjects:
The idea that the nation has somehow reverted to some right-wing, Archie Bunker type mentality is some kind of weird, winger fantasy. Wingers tend to believe that the nation consists only of Fox News watchers and evangelicals. This mentality has warped their brains, and led them to think that the winger philosophy is somehow embraced by the majority of the country.
I have ten fingers. I’m going to hazard a guess that I would not need all of them to count the times that you - or Tony Blankley - spent anytime dealing with the non-GOP constiuency. After all, living in or near San Diego doesn’t really expose one to persons other than those who can afford to live there.
But I do love San Diego. Try to run the 1/2 marathon there every chance I get. Although I do think the motto "America’s Greatest City" is a bit conceited.
The one where Bush’s SOTU is chock full of all the new federal spending he intends to fight for, i.e., the Dem one. Or the one where Bush thinks that purpose of the federal government is to engage in nation building in a far off land, i.e., the Dem one. Or the one where the dominant political party believes that the issue of whether a brain dead woman’s life support should be pulled is a federal issue. Wait, even Dems aren’t that intrusive.
"What plant do you live on" is a silly response. Inane. Typical right wing crap. Why don’t you explain why Bush’s spending proposals represent some real ideological break with the dominant Democratic paradigm.
While I agree that the Republican party is much closer to fracture than is the Democratic Party, I have to ask what’s wrong with the word "Jew"? If somebody is Jewish, they are a Jew. If they are not, they are a Gentile. I don’t recall that word ever being a slur. And managing to live through the Holocaust is a rather remarkable, laudable feat. I’m not sure where the slur comes in there, either.
You live in California. As the old saying says, as California goes, so goes the nation.
Are you sure you want to use California as an example, mk? Since 1982, California has had a Republican governor for all but 5 years. Those 5 years were whe Gray Davis held the office. The huge fiscal crisis that California’s been in started under Davis...a crisis which got him recalled.
Yeah, In your dreams maybe. Because dreams are often better than reality.
"What is your preference for the outcome of this year’s congressional elections: a Congress controlled by Republicans or a Congress controlled by Democrats?" Controlled by Republicans….38% Controlled by Democrats……47% Unsure……………………….15%
Anything but a decline.
And what’s all this harping about the Democrats applauding Bush’s SS reform failure. Seems to me, they’re only reflecting the wishes of the people.
"Based on what you have heard or read, in general, do you approve or disapprove of George W. Bush’s approach to addressing the Social Security system?" Approve…….29% Disapprove….62% Unsure……….9%
Social Security is in need of attention, that’s for sure. The same polling data also suggests that the people know it’s in trouble. You and other conservatives that wish to blame Democratic obstruction for Bush’s failures need to lay off the pipe for a while. Fact is, it is the President’s failure to convincingly address the Social Security nightmare that has stalled any reform.
He can’t even get his own Party on board… And it’s Democratic obstruction!?! You first need to look at the failures of the Republican Party before you can even start to blame the Democrats.
I know, I know… It was the Democrats who started this entitlement mentality, it’s the Democratic “What have you done for me lately” Party, the Democrats would be even worse at fixing SS… Yeah, yeah, yeah… Cry me a river. I thought that this Republican majority was supposed to fix all that. Guess not.
And the country is shifting to the Right, right?
"All in all, do you think things in the nation are generally headed in the right direction, or do you feel that things are off on the wrong track?" Right direction……31% Wrong track………57%
And yet to pogue and MK, I hereby make a bet... I will bet you $20 each that come November the Repubicans, Repugs or Rethugs, your choice control BOTH houses of Congress. Yes that’s right the GOP will win, I am even willing to hope we gain in the Senate.
Why, because the Democrat’s got nothing....They got Nancy Pelosi and "Corruption" and that’s going to go the way of Enron and Martha Stewart, "Oooops, you mean DEMOCRATS got money from Ken Lay, you mean Bill Clinton’s Administration OPIC ensured Enron offshore investments-BTW, I mean that as a criticism of OPIC and Federal "insurance" rather than Clinton per se-You mean Martha Stewart is a DEMOCRAT!?!?" And if Harry Raid gets the FBI "knock on the door" or when campaign contributions from Abramoff groups ae seen in DEMOCRATIC hands, too-BTW, MK people aren’t going to differentiate between Abromoff and his clients, you can tell yourself this, but it’s all "Payole"-then what will Democrats say of "Corruption."
Further, you don’t have the Media any more, now you guys have to contend with "Powerline" "QandO" "Drudge", "Instpundit" and the like. It’s not just Democrtaic talking points that get out into the public view any more.
The Democrats got John Murtha, Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy....What have the Democrat’s got? In ’94 the GOP had the corrupt Democrats to run against AND a positive program, Contract with America. What will Nancy and Harry create?
Bottom-Line: As grumpy as I am with my Party and as much as I’d like us to be on the offense with our own programs, the opposition is very weak, again. And a weak opponent will lead to GOP "victory."
Lastly, where we in 2002, "Bush’s gonna lose", where were we in ’04 "Bush is gonna lose" and simply saying it doesn’t make it true. The fact is the Democrats are NOT unified. The only progrmas that the Party could support would be the sort of programs that got them defeated in 1994. Realizing this, they spend their time complaining and carping about REpublicans, essentially a negative campaign. I don’t think that’s going to wash, guys.
I can give you as long a list of things wrong with the GOP as you like. But I never believed I would see a party as void of constructive energy and coherence as today’s Democrats. A pair of twos may not be a great poker hand, but it beats random garbage. The GOP will indeed more-or-less maintain in 2006.
About 2008, I am not so sure. My intuition is that, once the Democrat’s no longer have Bush hatred to motivate them, they will slump even further. Their bench is so weak, both because of their declining fortunes, and because the moonbat wing pounces on anyone who displays an iota of independence of thought.
But the GOP has shown they can screw up royally. The nomination of Bob Dole, for instance. And the moonbats may finally lose some influence. How many losing candidates does Kos have to back before anyone with brains starts using him as a reverse lodestone of the right thing to do?
The current situation is reaching a point of supersaturated instability. We’re overdue for major change in party alignments and philosophies. It looks like the current crop of pols will put it off for at least one more election, through simple inertia and inaction. But when the changes start coming, the situation is too complex for anyone to predict confidently what the outcome will be.
Closed circuit to MK - you really need to develop some balance. Your point that we live in a liberal world has an element of truth, but you use it to hyperbole.
For example, one of the great liberal ideas of the last one hundred years was the labor union. But that idea has peaked and declined, and is now almost irrelevant to the national conversation, because outside of the public sector, unions are inconsequential. Why? Because citizens discovered that, as bad as corporate management can be, they don’t compare to union leaders that are just as selfish but have no market discipline to restrain them.
Another example - the liberal idea that we needed to regulate everything in our economy concerning transportation - airlines, trucks, rail, etc. - has dissolved, and the economic benefits of jettisoning that regulation have been greater than anyone predicted.
And the great liberal ideas that are so deeply implemented in Europe are demonstrations of the flaws in those ideas. As those implications play out, it will serve as an object example here in the US. As the above cases indicate, reversals of failed ideas are not impossible. They may be repealed (as with transportation), or they may just fade to irrelevance (as with unions). The lesson to you should be that, just because you see your domestic ideology driving most of the debate right now does not mean that will continue. The demographics of Social Security and Medicare guarantee eventual change, and that maelstrom may bring down quite a few other liberal ideals along with it.
Besides, do you consider corporate welfare a liberal ideal? We can’t seem to get rid of it, and it was put in place by mostly Democratic politicians. Your liberal saints should not be considered perfect, even by their acolytes such as yourself.
with a little racism mixed in. Take, for example...
The comment he made was not anti-semitic. I find it interesting that those on the left who try to claim he is anti-semitic never use any other example. Why is that? Is it because no examples actually exist?
Ok I know it’s a side point, but the objection to the medicare prescription drug plan isn’t about whether or not it’s generous enough. It’s entirely seperate from "level of generosity". The objection to it is that we could have had the same coverage or better for FAR less money if the government had actually negotiated prices with the drug companies and used bulk purchasing power to actually get decent prices for the drugs. In other words the government let itself get ripped off.
Never mind that we could do even better to reduce drug prices by actually reforming the patent system and/or requiring that all patents derived from research using government funds be open and freely available for any company to use.
Twenty big ones, eh? What’s the spread? Because you’d have to give me points, or odds. I predicted that the Dem’s wouldn’t be able to fully capitalize on the “culture of corruption”.
But that wasn’t the point of my comment. Mr. Franks suggested that the Dem’s are on the decline. Looks to me that he’s wrong. Democrats may not be on the rise, but they’re not on the decline either. At worst, they’re holding firm. If you can’t come to that opinion from polling data, then how do you make your case? The voices in your head? BDS? Or Tony Blankley? (talk about talking points)
Mr. Franks does what any loyal ideologue does. He blames the opposition. (Hi, my name is Dale. And I’m a DemocratHater. Hi Dale)
And you’re right, Joe. Corruption will not register when it comes time to vote. It’s the proverbial “pox on both your houses”. But if the Dem’s gain any seats this coming November, it will be because the Republicans can’t control themselves, not because the Dem’s have no ideas. If the Republicans stuck to their fiscal conservatism, if they remained principled with smaller government, and if they would just shut-up and do their job, then they would indeed wipe out the Dem’s.
But it’s too late. Iacta alea est… at least for November, 2006
If the Republicans stuck to their fiscal conservatism, if they remained principled with smaller government, and if they would just shut-up and do their job, then they would indeed wipe out the Dem’s.
You know what, I disagree with this, to a degree. You DO remember the Government Shut-down of the Government, what in 1995 or ’96? Who got the blame? Who "owns" Social Security and Education as issues? My point is that IF the GOP tried what you recommend, they’d be out of power, too Poque.
’Cuz apparently the US population don’t want those things. They’ve been tired, even the somewhat anodye solution of simply limiting the Growth of the Federal budget. The don’t fly, now there are many Rational Choice/Economic Theories that can explain this, but the effect is clear...the US Populace, to be distinguished from Poque, doesn’t want it. OR they want it, UNTIL the Media and Nancy Pelosi or Bill Clinton or someone points out the "heartless Republicans" taking food from baies, widows, orphans and medicine from the sick and then people turn and so, "Don’t cut that you heartless beasts." The US Congress had trouble and in fact, IIRC, failed to remove budgeted moneys from for programs THAT WERE NOT BEING USED, that in fact had EXCESS funds, but they were programs for the poor and children and we couldn’t do that, so we didn’t.
Now I’m not John Derbyshire or one of the Doom and Gloom Conservatives, I think that mindset can change, but it will only change THRU TIME and not tomorrow or any time soon. So keep pushing for market solutions to problems, keep advocating shrinking government, by all means, but just don’t confuse YOUR priorities with the US voting public’s priorities.
Because right now, you sound like Pauline Kael, no one YOU KNOW WANTS A BIGGER FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, but that is not the same as saying that NO ONE wants a bigger Federal Government. And whilst I agree with YOU; I don’t confuse you and I with most folks who vote. And neither does the GOP in D.C.
The partisan fangs come out! And on a libertarian site no less.
One can cite the latest (mis-weighted) poll that Americans prefer a Democratic congress, a snapshot in time. Or one could cite the shift of Congressional majorities from 60+ years of Democrat control to Republican control.
I prefer to consider the last 10 years - not quite a couple generations but also not the last news cycle, somewhere in between - as evidence of the Democrat party in decline.