I was going to write or express the wish that Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) resign for the good of the party, but on second thought the Democratic party will survive quite well with or without his resignation. I want him to resign for the good of the country. Corruption is no longer a small growth in America it is a cancer that has spread wide and deep. Corruption is so common place in American business and politics that it seems like it is simply accepted as part of daily life. Getting rid of Rep. Jefferson wouldn’t solve the problem, but would rid us of one of the most obvious examples.
Are Democrats self destructive or their own best critics? I’ve read so many articles at this point with the Democrats have to run on ideas and not just against the greed and incompetence of conservatives they’ve become a blur. What brings this on? This post at Tapped, SWM ISO BIG IDEAS
Responding to the handful of pundits who are finally tired of the new ideas meme and have pointed out its vapidity, they write that the Democratic Party is “listening to the worried words of pundits and political professionals who counsel Democrats to avoid offering any vision or direction for the country — to instead simply wait for voters to so tire of Republican mismanagement that they will turn to more “competent” Democrats to administer a conservative state.”
Ah yes, because the nation’s chattering class has been so quick to honor the Democratic Party’s lack of grand concepts. Head, meet wall. Cherny and Baer go on to retell a version of American history wherein “the bravest conservative thinkers took on the GOP establishment and its most plodding, popular voices. They developed a series of ideas — supply-side economics, Social Security privatization, faith-based social policy and so on — that reshaped the American political landscape. It took decades for their ideas to make it into the mainstream, but — for better or worse — American politics today is played out on the terrain laid down by these thinkers.” It’s as if the Southern realignment never happened, or was really about some entitlement state rider tucked away in the Civil Rights Act.
Ezra Klein gets it right, but I see the Democrats chastisement of Democrats on the grand ideas game as hypocritical. Let’s take Social Security privatization. That is not a conservative idea. That was simply a reaction to a Democratic solution to a social problem. The deep thinkers of conservatism hated Social Security for years and still do, but the vast majority of Americans know that as a civilized culture we need a social security program. So conservatives were faced with a dilemma, get rid of social security and suffer near death as a party or portray social security as an economic liability that could only be saved if we put it in the hands of Wall Street. The public watched two narratives unfold. One was the Enron, Tyco, WorldCom dramas and the other was the Bush sells pitch to hand your retirement over to the Ken Lays of the world. The idea of privatization didn’t die, the reactionary conservative shell game died. Buying a lark is not an idea. Besides being illegal, faith based initiative give aways have been more of a disaster then programs like food stamps have ever been. Again faith based programs were not an idea, they were a reaction against a Democratic idea that worked. One of the reasons that conservatives seethe at the memory of FDR is that the ideas of that era were eternal ideas. The only so-called ideas that conservatives have had are on examination simply a reaction against those programs that FDR knew were necessary for a modern non-rural economy of specialization to survive. While both sides have, as politicians have a tendency to do, used some hyperbole to defend their positions, Democrats have not lied to the American people about the need for a social safety net. Conservatives still talk about that safety net like it is 1970 and so-called entitlements are out of control. Programs that have never been more them 4 percent of the budget at their height are certainly not out of control. Now there was a big idea, if America doesn’t put conservatives in charge, welfare queens will be over running the country. Ok maybe one big conservative idea did work, the dumping down of political discourse. Conservatives don’t solve problems, they point fingers and make unfounded accusations grounded in personal prejudices and a multitude of fears. The terrorists will get you if you don’t let us torture, the economy will fail if you don’t let us make the rich richer, the socialists will take over if labor has too much power, we can’t compete if we look out for the environment; those are not ideas, solutions or even rational discourse it is an odd mix of arrogance, fear, and a deep belief in rigid hierarchies of unearned privilege and power. Issues are not problems to be solved, but an opportunity to demonize.
Environmentalism waxes and wanes in importance in American politics, but it appears to be on the upswing now. Membership in the Sierra Club is up by about a third, to 800,000, in four years, and Gallup polling data show that the number of Americans who say they worry about the environment “a great deal” or “a fair amount” increased from 62 to 77 percent between 2004 and 2006.
Let’s hope it is more then a fad this time.
mousemusings has a good roundup of posts about how if conservatives are the only ones to trust to battle terrorism how come they not only have so little to show for it, but terrorism is actually getting worse. Which doesn’t speak well for the stay the course crowd. The debate about terrorism is something Democrats should welcome for the next two election cycles, the statistics don’t lie and this may be one time where the traditional liberal faith in the facts winning out may pay off.
DOORMAN: Whoah, whoah, whoah. (rises and turns to Jerry) May I help you?
JERRY: (indicates with his thumb) Yeah, I’m just going up to see Elaine Benes.
DOORMAN: (unfriendly smile) Benes? (moves toward Jerry) No-one here by that
JERRY: Oh, she’s uh, she’s house-sitting for Mr. Pitt.
DOORMAN: Oh. House-sitting, mmm.
DOORMAN: What’re you, the boyfriend? Here for a… quickie?
JERRY: Can I just go up?
DOORMAN: Oh, I get it. Why waste time making small talk with the doorman? I
should just shut up and do my job, opening the door for you.
JERRY: How ’bout those Knicks?
DOORMAN: Oh, I see. On the sports page…
DOORMAN: …What makes you think I wasn’t reading the Wall Street page? Oh, I
know, because I’m the uneducated doorman.
from the script for the Seinfeld episode The Doorman written by Tom Gammill & Max Pross