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2005: The Splintering of the Democratic Party
A Publius Essay | 3 February 2005 | Publius

Posted on 02/03/2005 9:04:20 AM PST by Publius

The year 2005 will mark the 72nd anniversary of the New Deal, the seminal event of the modern Democratic Party. Democratic policies and rhetoric all hail from that era of Big Government protecting the American people from Big Business. As long as the party held to its roots in economic equality, it prospered. When it marched boldly into the quicksand of social change, it alienated the Great Middle of American politics and lost its way.

Now the signs are all in place for another great Democratic debacle, but with one major difference. This time, the Democrats are headed for the ash heap of American political history.

New England is where American political parties go to die. In 1814 Alexander Hamilton, guiding light of the Federalist Party, had been dead for a decade. While Hamilton would have argued vehemently against a new war with Britain, preferring instead to resolve differences through diplomacy, he was astute enough to understand that certain arguments stop at the water’s edge. When the ragtag remnants of the Federalist Party, then holed up in New England, organized the Hartford Convention to discuss secession, Hamilton must have turned somersaults in his grave. Once Andrew Jackson routed a British invasion at New Orleans, the Federalist position smacked of treason, and the ragtag remnant was annihilated in the next election.

In the 1850's, with founder Henry Clay dead, the Whigs lost their way over slavery. While even the Great Compromiser might have found it impossible to square this particular political circle, the temporizing of the Whigs made them toothless in the face of people who were absolutely sure of what they believed. It took only a few electoral cycles for the Whigs to be replaced by the Republicans.

The Roots of the Democrats’ Dilemma

In 1964 Lyndon Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater in a popular and electoral vote blowout. One thing that can be disastrous for a political party is for it to get everything it wants. Following the election, the Democrats felt they had decisively won the argument, and Goldwater’s defeat cleared the way for the enactment of Johnson’s Great Society programs. Medicare and the war on poverty quickly became law, although poverty clearly won over time. The Democrats had achieved the goals set during the Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy years. What was left?

In the late Sixties the Democrats made the error of turning to social change – in that era it meant race – and promptly alienated a key group of voters later to be known as Reagan Democrats. Ethnic blue collar Democrats were liberal on economic issues and had agreed that the situation in the South was intolerable, but there was no such consensus on de facto segregation in the North. When the courts went beyond the law and ordered busing to promote racial balance, the future Reagan Democrats became angry. Thanks to the rising tide of Black Nationalism and the violence of urban insurrections, sympathy with the problems of black America began to wane.

In the Seventies the Democrats invested their energy in promoting social change via the courts, this time in the area of sexual liberation. At bottom, liberals were trying to change the social attitudes of Americans by judicial fiat – to infuse them with the proper revolutionary fervor – and they failed to see that the resistance of the Great Middle was but a desire to de-politicize the affairs of daily life. As a rule, social attitudes change at their own natural speed and do not require a political party to push them along. The Democrats forgot this and ceded the Great Middle to others.

As Reagan shifted the Great Middle to the right, the Democrats spent the Eighties in a state of shock and denial. Looking at the Democratic Party, Americans saw a collective of America’s misfits and malcontents, and the result was disastrous. The Democrats had jumped on the bandwagon of social change and had forgotten the economic issues that had made them the majority party. The institutional party had become totally disorganized and obsessed with process while the nominating electorate was dominated by left-wing ideologues. Upset and bewildered, the Reagan Democrats made a new home in the Republican Party.

After the Dukakis debacle in 1988, Mark Russell posed the question, "Why do we expect our generals to be serious men and our brain surgeons to be serious men, but we expect our presidents to be game show hosts?" In 1992 the Great Game Show Host slouched onto the scene. Bill Clinton emphasized economic issues and fudged the social foolishness that had gotten his party into so much trouble in the past. Clinton’s pitch was simple: “Guys, we can take a stand for our beliefs and go down in flames, or we can go back to basics and win.”

Once elected, however, Clinton discovered that in running for office from the center, he lacked the political capital to enact any genuine liberal programs. His first major expenditure of political capital was NAFTA, a Republican initiative. A few months into his presidency, Clinton realized with horror that he had become an “Eisenhower Democrat”. Having sold the party to the lobbyists of K Street to raise enough money to compete with the Republicans, Clinton had robbed his party of its soul. The left wing ideologues took note but kept silent lest they lose the perks and privileges of power. Their day would come, they thought.

Congressional Democrats, ideologically at odds with the president, felt they had the luxury of not marching in step with Clinton and didn't fear him the way they would have feared an experienced operator like Lyndon Johnson. Thus, his health insurance initiative crashed and burned, and Republicans went in for the kill. The post-Watergate reforms had the effect of locking the Congress of 1974 in place for twenty years, but Clinton's failure to produce the promised changes brought in a Republican Congress for the first time in forty years.

Internally, the two parties are very different. The Democrats function like a federation of state parties while the Republicans have always been a top-down organization. This gives the Democrats an edge when they don't control the Executive. Republicans, without the Executive, seem lost. They need a leader to snap them to attention and send them marching in step. Newt Gingrich took that role and made his troops the force of change in the Nineties, but in provoking a government shutdown Gingrich failed to understand the role of entitlements in the American psyche. People had come to expect certain things from their government, and they didn't want anything to get between them and their government checks.

Having lurched too far to the left with “Hillary Care”, Clinton positioned himself as close to the Great Middle as he could. Unwilling to show the ruthlessness required in politics, the Republicans nominated Bob Dole even when it was obvious months before the convention that he couldn't win. Frustrated by their inability to defeat the slickest president in modern times, the Republicans grasped at a straw held in the mouth of a White House intern.

In retrospect Rush Limbaugh was right. Neither Congress nor the American people would countenance the removal of a president for offenses related to illicit sex. To most Americans in the Nineties, Bill Clinton’s behavior was not outside the mainstream. By couching the 1998 election as a referendum on impeachment, Gingrich misread the situation.

Talk to ardent partisans about the 2000 election, and you’ll get two very different versions of reality.

A Republican will tell you that the networks called Florida early and suppressed Republican turnout not only in Florida, but nationwide. Some will accuse the networks of collusion with the DNC in attempting to steal the election for Al Gore. A partisan Florida Supreme Court attempted to keep the theft in motion, but the US Supreme Court honored the Constitution and stopped it in its tracks.

A Democrat will tell you that Al Gore won the national popular vote and the vote in Florida. Bush was selected illegally by a partisan US Supreme Court when his father called in some IOU’s. The election was stolen, plain and simple. Bush lost and took up residence in Al Gore’s big white house.

But the events of September 11, 2001 changed everything.

War, Disconnection and Marginalization

The Republicans were now in power in time of war. With Afghanistan out of the way and Iraq on the table, the Democrats found themselves in a quandary.

The Democratic Party had played a key role in the creation of the United Nations, and there was a strong belief that being a responsible player on the world stage meant not engaging in unilateral action, but working through the UN to gain the support of world opinion. This is the origin of the “global test”. Had not Jack Kennedy gone to the UN first during the Cuban Missile Crisis? With most of our traditional European allies opposing regime change in Iraq, Democrats were split on whether to authorize an invasion. The initial success of that invasion coupled with the guerilla war that followed furthered splits in the party. The perception of lukewarm support of the war effort on the part of Democrats led to losses in the election of 2002, and the party’s left-wing nominating electorate was on the warpath for peace.

At the center of this difficulty is a problem unique to liberals – a willingness to accept the adversary’s viewpoint if it puts their country in a bad light. Liberals call it “being objective”, but it is really a lack of faith in America and a lack of faith in traditional American ideals. While fine in peacetime, it is deadly in war.

At their core, these ideals are not American, but “UNeesian”, to invent a word. To UNeesians, patriotism is a vice. To UNeesians, America doesn’t have the right to lead because its hands are dirty, courtesy of slavery, Vietnam or some other flaw in its past. To UNeesians, America, like Israel, is a source of evil in the world.

In time of war, social issues take a backseat. One of the key UNeesian objections to the war in the Middle East is the belief that the money should be spent on something else. Spend it on government-run health insurance, government-run schools or government-run Amtrak, but don’t spend it on war. That’s immoral. Spend it on social change. But there comes a time when people become weary of social change and want stability, particularly freedom from attack by foreign religious fanatics.

Nothing bothers UNeesians more than a muscular United States working to mold the world into a place reflective of its traditional values. To UNeesians, these traditional American values are suspect. They remember Vietnam, but not World War II. And when they root for the enemy, as many of them did in the case of Iraq, they step over the line crossed by the ragtag remnants of the Federalist Party in 1814.

Trapped by Ideology

In 2004 the Democratic Party could have run against the Republicans from the right, a technique used successfully by Jack Kennedy. This would have meant taking the war against terrorism to a new level, to include racial profiling and securing our borders. Ordinary Americans not associated with Big Business would have jumped to join a party willing to militarize and seal the borders. This would have led to a stand in favor of economic nationalism, which would have brought many of Patrick Buchanan’s troops into the party.

But the Democrats instead argued that terrorism was a nuisance and that the US should apply a “global test” to military action, thus giving Europe and the UN a veto over America’s defense. From its “Democratic wing” came a hint that America got what it deserved on September 11. Economic nationalism, racial profiling and sealing the borders went against the grain of the party’s UNessian values. Further, without that vast army of illegal immigrants in the nation’s workforce, the declining birthrate would put the sacred programs of the welfare state in actuarial jeopardy.

Socially, the Democrats pushed for a continuation of the sexual revolution when people were tired of being confronted by sex every time they turned on the TV. After forty years of sexual liberation, people wanted a break from overt sex, particularly from the same sex variety. A key issue for Democrats in 2004 was the recognition of gay marriage – by fiat via the courts – which is not a priority for the vast majority of Americans who are not gay. This has led to the beginnings of an exodus from the party by Hispanics and blacks.

For an economic program, the party has not changed its stance in forty years, arguing for programs that even Lyndon Johnson could not push through Congress. When looking at an economic platform, the Democratic Party can suggest only more socialism. They succeeded in getting a new entitlement – prescription drugs for the elderly – and they still hope for some form of government-run health insurance, but the party has failed to answer the question, “Do you want the people who run Amtrak to take out your appendix?” When it comes to economic ideas, even the Mainstream Media admitted 25 years ago that it was the Republicans who had all the good ideas.

The Future of the Democrats

The New Deal coalition has been fraying ever since George Wallace cracked the Democratic Party in 1968 over race. Failure to defend the country and manage the economy has haunted the party at each election. Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton defeated Republican incumbents only because of a failing economy.

In 2004, the Democrats nominated a New Englander who was deep in his party’s mainstream but was out of step with the rest of the country. In “reporting for duty”, John Kerry hoped to elide his party’s ideological marginalization, but since his defeat the rest of the party has stridently spoken out, raising disturbing questions:

Much of this conflict has played out in the race for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee, soon to be Howard Dean, another New Englander. Clinton’s decision to sell his party out to the Grifters of K Street still rankles. But Dean’s belief in going directly to the people via the Internet would have credence only if the “Deaniacs” were more connected to the mainstream. Dean’s supporters on the Internet, however, are among the most radical people in the Democratic Party. This will only exacerbate the differences between the party’s factions.

Today’s Democratic Party is made up of K Street Grifters, government workers, the remnants of the union movement, UNeesians, political correctness fanatics, Greens, homosexuals, liberal women and blacks. As Michael Barone has pointed out, blacks are the glue that holds the party together. But as they join the Great Middle, make some money and move into a nicer neighborhood, black Americans start thinking like Republicans, even if they can’t say so publicly. Bill Cosby speaks for many middle class blacks who are tired of the antics of their poorer brethren in the cities.

This hodgepodge of factions is not geared to occupying the same political party.

These factions have only one thing in common – an insatiable appetite for more government, an appetite not shared by the majority of the American people.

Endgame

On occasion in American history, concepts like Left and Right become blurred, parties run out of steam and ideas, and a wing of one party wraps around a wing of the other party. Sometimes one party will even splinter. Then the two parties re-form when a new issue arises. The Nineties, like the 1850’s, represents a time when one party ran out of steam and ideas, and everybody noticed it.

The Democratic Party is now restricted to America’s cities and to the suburbs of certain states. It is almost absent from America’s heartland. Its values are out of step with the Great Middle. It has forgotten its economic roots and become lost in the swamps of social change once again, vehement in its insistence on forcing that change down the throats of a reluctant nation.

The center cannot hold.

The Democratic Party will splinter like the Whigs. Soon there will be at least three parties on the left: the Green Party, the Labor Party and the Reparations Party. The Grifters of K Street will merely change their spots, as many of them have done since the 2002 election, and switch allegiance to the Republicans now that they control the federal faucet. Americans once represented reasonably well by the old Democratic Party, like Zell Miller, will reluctantly pull up stakes and find a new political home.

It will be another twenty years before a new set of issues emerges that permits a true second party to coalesce. The Republicans may well be running the store for decades.


TOPICS: Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2005review; democrats; essay; history; kerrydefeat; lostdems; parties; publius; publiusessay; republicans; splintering
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My first Publius Essay in many months.
1 posted on 02/03/2005 9:04:20 AM PST by Publius
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To: Alamo-Girl; Congressman Billybob; x; Billthedrill; Cicero; RobRoy

Ping.


2 posted on 02/03/2005 9:05:16 AM PST by Publius (The people of a democracy choose the government they want, and they ought to get it good and hard.)
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To: Publius

^


3 posted on 02/03/2005 9:07:04 AM PST by rdb3 (The wife asked how I slept last night. I said, "How do I know? I was asleep!")
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To: Publius

Bump to me.


4 posted on 02/03/2005 9:13:56 AM PST by TASMANIANRED (Certified cause of Post Traumatic Redhead Syndrome)
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To: Libertina; Jim Robinson

Ping.


5 posted on 02/03/2005 9:22:57 AM PST by Publius (The people of a democracy choose the government they want, and they ought to get it good and hard.)
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To: wolf24

Ping


6 posted on 02/03/2005 9:24:09 AM PST by wolf24
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To: Publius

Publius, I commend you for a job well done. It actually held my interest and would spark all sorts of side commentaries by my liberal friends.

Nicely done!


7 posted on 02/03/2005 9:27:30 AM PST by RobRoy (I like you. You remind me of myself when I was young and stupid.)
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To: Publius

Excellent analysis,

Thanks!


8 posted on 02/03/2005 9:30:19 AM PST by roaddog727 (The marginal propensity to save is 1 minus the marginal propensity to consume.)
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To: Publius

Great insight here


9 posted on 02/03/2005 9:30:23 AM PST by yeetch! (Happy Holidays!)
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To: Publius
The crux of the matter:

Are Democrats Americans or UNeesians?
Are they citizens of America or citizens of the world?
Do they truly believe that Bush is Hitler and that this country is no better than Nazi Germany?
Are they seriously considering emigrating to Canada? Or France?
Whose side are they on, anyway?

The answer to these questions is straightforward:

Their words are poison and their actions are treasonous. They are not merely betrayers of America and all that it stands for, they are also traitors to humanity.

It's time we started treating them as such.

10 posted on 02/03/2005 9:32:12 AM PST by Noumenon (The Left's dedication to the destruction of a free society makes them unfit to live in that society.)
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To: RobRoy

Print it off and pass it on to your liberal friends. Here in Seattle, we can't seem to run out of liberals!


11 posted on 02/03/2005 9:32:26 AM PST by Publius (The people of a democracy choose the government they want, and they ought to get it good and hard.)
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To: Publius

Excellent and on point.


12 posted on 02/03/2005 9:33:27 AM PST by TXBSAFH (Never underestimate the power of human stupidity--Robert Heinlein)
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To: Noumenon

Is it time yet for that "stout, hempen rope" you've talked about in the past? (At least it's a useful way of using hemp.)


13 posted on 02/03/2005 9:33:59 AM PST by Publius (The people of a democracy choose the government they want, and they ought to get it good and hard.)
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To: Publius
Now the signs are all in place for another great Democratic debacle, but with one major difference. This time, the Democrats are headed for the ash heap of American political history.

Not according to "Time". I just read an article predicting, yet again, the fall of the GOP.

14 posted on 02/03/2005 9:34:41 AM PST by KC_Conspirator (This space outsourced to India)
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To: Publius

Bump for lunchtime read...


15 posted on 02/03/2005 9:36:43 AM PST by eureka! (It will not be safe to vote Democrat for a long, long, time...)
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To: Publius

I hang out on a couple of liberal sites. I will be posting it there. Thanks.


16 posted on 02/03/2005 9:39:56 AM PST by RobRoy (I like you. You remind me of myself when I was young and stupid.)
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To: KC_Conspirator

"Time" is just whistling past the graveyard. The last time the party on top splintered was 1912, when TR took the early progressives out of the party. We have nothing like that movement going on now.


17 posted on 02/03/2005 9:43:36 AM PST by Publius (The people of a democracy choose the government they want, and they ought to get it good and hard.)
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To: RobRoy

Post it at DU. That will get their bile flowing -- along with their drool.


18 posted on 02/03/2005 9:44:23 AM PST by Publius (The people of a democracy choose the government they want, and they ought to get it good and hard.)
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To: KC_Conspirator

Thanks, many of my thoughts have been in the same direction, now they have been written.
Stiff hempen is needing some use.


19 posted on 02/03/2005 9:46:36 AM PST by iopscusa (El Vaquero)
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To: Publius
Great essay. I don't quite agree on all of it. I would argue that social change did not alienate middle America. Its been going on for quite sometime and started rolling after WWII when more blacks entered the work place and Truamn desegregated the military.

I also think that leftist democrats have taken over the party and alienated mainstream America; from gay marraiage to reparations.

20 posted on 02/03/2005 9:47:07 AM PST by KC_Conspirator (This space outsourced to India)
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To: Publius
This is a great essay and I agree with most of your points here, but I think we need to be really careful in writing out the death certificate of the Democratic party prematurely.

It's a foregone conclusion at this point in time that the Democrats have no chance of winning at the national level campaigning on their true agenda; America is a slightly right-of-center country and has been for quite some time. However, the Clintons are proving themselves to be far smarter than I had given them credit for before. They fully understand that if they're to succeed they need to lie their way into power, and that campaign is already beginning in earnest. And they don't need to fool the entire country, they only need to fool a relatively small percentage of the people in order to pull it off.

In the end I don't think she'll be able to pull it off, but it's entirely within the realm of possibility that she could, and there are a lot of things that could still go wrong for us if we're not careful. It would be a big mistake for us to begin underestimating our opponents, because not all of them are as buffoonish as Ted Kennedy and Barbara Boxer.

21 posted on 02/03/2005 9:47:34 AM PST by jpl (Islam is a religion of peace, as in "Rest in Peace".)
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To: Publius

What makes the New England connecton so toxic is that New England is the most European part of America. That is the theme with Kerry and Dean. An open desire to turn America into a part of Europe. With its bicycles and pre-automobile street grid and laid back ways and static economy and abundance of cultivated entertainments and disinclination by the Red Sox to do something as gauche as winning, Boston feels something like Frankfurt.

Another party is coming. The Perot economic nationalist/protectionist cultural conservative constituency is still out there. And it seethes every time it hears Bush talk about "jobs Americans won't do". And it will take from both Dems and Repubs.


22 posted on 02/03/2005 9:47:35 AM PST by Sam the Sham
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To: jpl

Hillary is running to recreate the Perot movement. And it is still out there waiting for a leader.

Clinton sold them out over NAFTA and Kerry had the economic nationalism of someone with a rich European wife and 7 mansions. They are waiting to be led.


23 posted on 02/03/2005 9:49:21 AM PST by Sam the Sham
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To: KC_Conspirator
Re-read this sentence:

As a rule, social attitudes change at their own natural speed and do not require a political party to push them along.

Social change has been going non-stop ever since the Black Death took down feudalism. Even the Marxists agree on that one. Social change eventually takes down entire institutions, such as monarchy.

But unless a social situation is truly oppressive, like slavery, people resent those who would force social change they aren't ready for. That's why gay marriage has people so upset.

24 posted on 02/03/2005 9:56:00 AM PST by Publius (The people of a democracy choose the government they want, and they ought to get it good and hard.)
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To: Publius

Great essay. Thank you.


25 posted on 02/03/2005 9:56:20 AM PST by NetValue (Be a democrat; oppose, subvert, obstruct and sabotage progress in America)
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To: Publius
Nice essay, but I have to disagree about the cause of the Reagan Democrats. I think the split in the Democratic Party in the 60's happened over Vietnam. The Scoop Jackson Democrats, later dubbed "neocons" came over to our camp. The deal was cemented in the 70's when the Dims became pro-aborts, which began the great realignment of evangelicals and conservative Catholics and Jews, who had been part of the Roosevelt coalition, over to our side. Few Democrats left the party over race, however - even George Wallace went back to the party.

Given the multiple boxes the Dims have locked themselves into, I don't see how they get back in the majority any time soon.

26 posted on 02/03/2005 9:56:43 AM PST by colorado tanker (The People Have Spoken)
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To: Sam the Sham
Yep, pro-abort and anti-gun. That's a winning ticket.(/sarcasm)
27 posted on 02/03/2005 9:57:47 AM PST by Dane ( anyone who believes hillary would do something to stop illegal immigration is believing gibberish)
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To: Publius
2005: The Splintering of the Democratic Party

Did you misspell "sphinctering?"

28 posted on 02/03/2005 10:00:08 AM PST by N. Theknow (Yust an old salty seadog, pumpin' up da birden.)
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To: Publius
I think that the biggest practical hurdle for the 'Rats going forward is the Senate. In two close elections the 'Rats carried 19 or 20 states. They have conceded the entire South, old Border States and Rockies. They only have 45 Senators (Jeffords is a de facto 'Rat) because of some older officeholders in solid Republican States like the Dakotas. Over time, they will lose more seats. Even if they manage to win the White House and the House, they have no real chance at the Senate anytime soon. Without the Senate, it's hard to get anything done.

The only place 'Rats have accomplished anything remotely liberal since 1976 and the infamous 94th Congress is in the Courts. Legislatively, they have been dead for thirty years.

29 posted on 02/03/2005 10:00:22 AM PST by You Dirty Rats (Mindless BushBot)
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To: Dane

When was Perot the Texan anti-gun ?

And isn't the Democratic party running from gun control as an issue ?

Pro-abort ? Most of the country is of two minds. They accept the right to life argument on moral grounds but the NARAL argument on socioeconomic grounds. It's not all black and white. If it were one side would have won already.

Try making sense.


30 posted on 02/03/2005 10:01:14 AM PST by Sam the Sham
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To: jpl
However, the Clintons are proving themselves to be far smarter than I had given them credit for before. They fully understand that if they're to succeed they need to lie their way into power, and that campaign is already beginning in earnest. And they don't need to fool the entire country, they only need to fool a relatively small percentage of the people in order to pull it off.

Concur. But She lacks the political instincts to pull it off, possessing a tin ear for opinions not shared by Herself. She has no patience with people less brilliant than Herself.

This is why there has been discussion in Congress about a constitutional amendment that would open the way for Arnold to run for president -- but would also repeal the 22nd Amendment and give Bill another shot at the top. Congressional Democrats don't share Her exalted opinion of Herself and think Bill has a better chance of regaining power for the party.

The key to why a splintering is so likely is that the Deaniacs are so far out of the mainstream that they will drive moderates away in droves. Zell Miller merely said he was still a Democrat, but one who was supporting Bush. The next defectors will not make that distinction.

31 posted on 02/03/2005 10:02:00 AM PST by Publius (The people of a democracy choose the government they want, and they ought to get it good and hard.)
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To: Publius

^


32 posted on 02/03/2005 10:02:04 AM PST by King Prout (Remember John Adam!)
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To: Publius
I would prefer to call it "The Sphinctering of the Democratic Party!
33 posted on 02/03/2005 10:05:54 AM PST by RetroWarrior ("We count it death to falter, not to die")
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To: Publius
A wonderful essay. I enjoyed it throughly. Thanks for writing and posting it.

It remains to be seen whether many of your predictions and analysis are spot on, but they are thoughtfully arrived upon and I'm book-marking it.

34 posted on 02/03/2005 10:12:01 AM PST by Protagoras (Putting government in charge of morality is like putting pedophiles in charge of children.)
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To: Clemenza

Ping.


35 posted on 02/03/2005 10:13:21 AM PST by Publius (The people of a democracy choose the government they want, and they ought to get it good and hard.)
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To: Sam the Sham
When was Perot the Texan anti-gun ?

And when was your new hero, hillary, pro-2nd amendment. She isn't, oh BTW, Perot's wife was on the board of Texas planned parenthood.

Try making sense.

Uh I ain't the one trying to sell the snake oil that hillary is the new conservative savior.

36 posted on 02/03/2005 10:14:39 AM PST by Dane ( anyone who believes hillary would do something to stop illegal immigration is believing gibberish)
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To: Publius

Excellent writing, Mr. Publius. Very educational and helpful for this granny who's never really studied politics, just knows integrity matters, and is means is.
Thanks.


37 posted on 02/03/2005 10:29:58 AM PST by GrannyAnnie (as right as I can be)
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To: Publius

Fill us in on their responses.


38 posted on 02/03/2005 10:50:44 AM PST by Prophet in the wilderness (PSALM 53 : 1 The ( FOOL ) hath said in his heart , There is no GOD .)
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To: Publius

You mean Teddy Roosevelt cleaned house of the " Progressives " or did he take them with him ?


39 posted on 02/03/2005 10:52:14 AM PST by Prophet in the wilderness (PSALM 53 : 1 The ( FOOL ) hath said in his heart , There is no GOD .)
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To: Prophet in the wilderness

TR took the Progressives with him when he bolted the Republican Party in 1912. Once the Bull Moose Party showed that it was a flash in the pan and the Republicans nominated Harding in 1920, the Progressives settled in with the Democrats.


40 posted on 02/03/2005 10:55:16 AM PST by Publius (The people of a democracy choose the government they want, and they ought to get it good and hard.)
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To: Publius
In the late Sixties the Democrats made the error of turning to social change – in that era it meant race – and promptly alienated a key group of voters later to be known as Reagan Democrats. Ethnic blue collar Democrats were liberal on economic issues and had agreed that the situation in the South was intolerable, but there was no such consensus on de facto segregation in the North. When the courts went beyond the law and ordered busing to promote racial balance, the future Reagan Democrats became angry. Thanks to the rising tide of Black Nationalism and the violence of urban insurrections, sympathy with the problems of black America began to wane.

There is some truth in there, but it was more the cultural revolution of the 1960s than race that drove such voters away from the Democrats. The later economic malaise also had a lot to do with the making of Reagan Democrats. It's certainly true that the races were more divided in the 1960s and 1970s than today, but a lot of the tension over busing had to do with the autocratic, top-down imposition of the thing. Attitudes might have been different had things been done differently. Divisions between the parties, though, weren't quite so clear on this issue: it was Nixon who brought in many of the quotas and affirmative action programs that he campaigned against.

On occasion in American history, concepts like Left and Right become blurred, parties run out of steam and ideas, and a wing of one party wraps around a wing of the other party. Sometimes one party will even splinter. Then the two parties re-form when a new issue arises. The Nineties, like the 1850’s, represents a time when one party ran out of steam and ideas, and everybody noticed it.

True, though it's not always easy to know who was right and who was left. We've taken our cue from the Cold War, and now that it's over and the struggles over communism don't dominate political debates, it's always not so easy to see who's who and what's what in terms of ideology. Prior to that the conflicts of the Progressive era or the New Deal provided frameworks for sorting things out ideologically. Where Theodore Roosevelt saw Hamilton as a far-sighted progressive, Franklin Roosevelt deplored Hamilton and preferred Jefferson. We're in a similar period of sorting things out now so questions about what Washington or Hamilton, Jefferson or Jackson, Lincoln or TR were ideologically aren't as easy to answer as they once were.

The Democratic Party is now restricted to America’s cities and to the suburbs of certain states. It is almost absent from America’s heartland. Its values are out of step with the Great Middle. It has forgotten its economic roots and become lost in the swamps of social change once again, vehement in its insistence on forcing that change down the throats of a reluctant nation.

True, the Democrats are very out of touch on social issues, but how different are states that they carried like Minnesota or Michigan from Iowa or Ohio, which the lost? The strange thing was their thinking that Kerry could actually win. 49% of the vote against a wartime President and for someone who was so obviously a regional candidate with little national appeal wasn't a terrible showing.

You may be right about the Democrats dying or turning into something very different, but this last election wasn't enough proof. It was unique in pitting a liberal from the most liberal part of the country with a conservative from one of the most conservative parts. Neither Bush I v. Dukakis or Reagan v. Mondale or Nixon v. Kennedy was anywhere near as clearcut a contest of regional loyalties. The big test will come when they nominate someone from outside the Northeast.

Yet there was also something typical about the election as well: from 1860 to 1932 the Democrats were locked into the South, and the Republicans controlled the rest of the country, so far as Presidential elections were concerned. Who won depended on swing states like New York and Illinois, Indiana and New Jersey. After forty years of Democratic domination (1932-1972) and a Republican era (1972-1992) we may have come full circle to a system characterized by Democrat control of one region (the two coasts) and Republican dominance in the rest of the country. In a way, it's a return to where we were in 1880 or 1920.

41 posted on 02/03/2005 11:01:18 AM PST by x
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To: Dane

Apparently you are locked into the past.

Gun control as an issue is gone. Ended. Finished. It is an issue on which urban Democrats have accepted that they are outvoted by the rest of the country.

Abortion ? A quarter of the electorate is NARAL all the way. Another quarter is Right to Life all the way. In the middle, flux. Stasis. A lot of hypocrisy, too. That is because, as I taught you, people talk right-to-life but when their own kid gets pregnant they want that socioeconomic escape hatch of abortion.

In 1992 Perot didn't get the hard core Right to Life vote. But he was still the frontrunner in early spring. Bush lost because he was reduced to the Right to Life vote. So there is plenty of room for another Perot party. After all, they won in 92 because most of Perot's supporters broke for them after Perot dropped out of the race. When Perot dropped out Clinton moved from third of three to first of two.


42 posted on 02/03/2005 11:09:22 AM PST by Sam the Sham
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To: x

Let's not lose sight of the fact that Iraq was a mess and the absence of WMD's led to many people feeling lied to. Without these factors Bush would have won in a landslide.


43 posted on 02/03/2005 11:11:03 AM PST by Sam the Sham
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To: Publius
But, what difference between the " Progressives " of Teddy's day and the
Progressives of today in the Democratic party ?
I always liked and admired Teddy Roosevelt , but, only knew him as a REPUBLICAN .
I liked his character , and he was a president that America needed at that time.
Can you expound for us here on FR , in your educational background and insights in how you became so politically insightful in politics ?
What were the forces that shaped your knowledge, and understanding of politics ? was it a collage education ? reading over the years ? studying ? are you a writer for a news paper column ? or editorial ? Take care
44 posted on 02/03/2005 11:11:44 AM PST by Prophet in the wilderness (PSALM 53 : 1 The ( FOOL ) hath said in his heart , There is no GOD .)
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To: Prophet in the wilderness
I leafletted for Goldwater in New Jersey back when I was in high school. I've been a political junkie and history buff ever since.

No, I don't do this for a living. I work a regular job like everybody else.

Click on "Publius", and it will take you to my FReeper home page.

45 posted on 02/03/2005 11:15:10 AM PST by Publius (The people of a democracy choose the government they want, and they ought to get it good and hard.)
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To: Publius

Pliny would be proud.

One foot note. A very powerful faction with nowhere else to go is the Plaintiff's bar. War against them has been formally declared.


46 posted on 02/03/2005 11:22:20 AM PST by bert (Freedom trumps Peace.)
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To: Publius
I am not to much of knowledge of Barry Gold water, only in, that Reagan was sort of his clone later in 1980 , is that true of Regan ? basically Reagan adopted his views and beliefs of Goldwater.
Thank GOD for Moreen Reagan ( she was the main force in Ronald Reagan's life that changed his ideology to turn Republican ) just think ? if Reagan would have never " SAW THE LIGHT " and become a Republican ? Thank GOD he did.
47 posted on 02/03/2005 11:26:21 AM PST by Prophet in the wilderness (PSALM 53 : 1 The ( FOOL ) hath said in his heart , There is no GOD .)
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To: Sam the Sham
In 1992 Perot didn't get the hard core Right to Life vote. But he was still the frontrunner in early spring. Bush lost because he was reduced to the Right to Life vote. So there is plenty of room for another Perot party. After all, they won in 92 because most of Perot's supporters broke for them after Perot dropped out of the race. When Perot dropped out Clinton moved from third of three to first of two

Huh? Perot didn't join the race until late Spring 92 and then dropped out, when he said that clinton was gaining momentum, and then Bush came back into the lead, and all of the sudden perot got back in and was on CNN saying "Larry"(this is before FR, Fox News, and the internet blogs, BTW).

But that doesn't really matter, since that is all water under the bridge, and the country has a person who you despise in office, GW Bush.

Dude I think you all in hillary's basement are misinformed and delusional if you all think you can bring back a second coming of perot like candidate, especially with the gift of the invention Al Gore gave us all, the internet.

48 posted on 02/03/2005 11:27:34 AM PST by Dane ( anyone who believes hillary would do something to stop illegal immigration is believing gibberish)
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To: Publius
Excellent essay and I agree with it. In my opinion I think the Democratic Party really started moving to the hard Left in 1972 when the party radicals succeeded in changing the rules and made it mandatory for the delegates to that year's convention in Miami be quotas. So many Blacks, so many women, etc., etc.. When the Hard Left took over starting that year that was when the long Delcine and downfall started. As evidenced now in that there very few, if any, Democratic Conservatives left in Congress, they have all been shown the door.
I have said all along that if the Democrats in 2004 had nominated someone like Zell Miller, who could take the south and other areas he would be in the White House right now and Bush out.
But the Democrats have moved so far out of the mainstream they could and would never nominate a Southern Conservative or any Democratic Conservative or Center Right candidate for National Office.
They cannot and will not change and will continue to blame others, etc. for their own mistakes and missteps. They will not ever accept the fact that to be competitive again they have to change and move Center Right not stay Hard Left. They aren't even Center Left anymore, they are just totally out of it and Dean as the new DNC Chair will embody this perfectly.
49 posted on 02/03/2005 11:29:03 AM PST by Captain Peter Blood
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To: Dane

I know you must find it threatening to be reminded that your sort of 'free trade at all costs', OBL ideology has the financing of the K street hustlers but not the support of most Americans. That is why NAFTA was disastrous for the New Democrats because it drove away Joe Sixpack and Kerry lost because an economic nationalist agenda could have easily swept the suffering Rust Belt.

And you fail as ever to see the salient point. Perot was leading in the polls until he dropped out of the race. And not because of fear of Clinton because Clinton remained third of three. Because he just plain didn't want it bad enough. After all, people who run for president these days have been running their entire lives. When he reentered the race he saw that most of his support had gone to Clinton after Sistah Souljah. His agenda of economic nationalism is a winner. Every voice of elite opinion, all editorial boards of all major publications, every mainstream economist, all living ex-Presidents supported NAFTA. But it still barely passed because Joe Sixpack smelled a rat. After illegals, after outsourcing, after obscene trade deficits the ground has shifted. Maybe "free trade" is just textbook theory and textbooks need to be adjusted. Ricardo's point about England not trying to create a protected, subsidized wine industry was one thing. Watching your capacity to make advanced industrial goods migrate overseas is another.


50 posted on 02/03/2005 11:46:37 AM PST by Sam the Sham
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