Posted by Peter W. Schramm
Michael Barone, in amere two pages, distills the Democrats problems. He says they have run out of gas, not only on issues of policy ("stuck in concrete" on Social Security), but they are, as TNRs Martin Peretz says, "bookless." Read it all.
And what polling data does Barone rely on to make his final judgment that Americans dont want government help on things that they care about? I thought it was still true that if you ask relatively specific questions about what government should be doing you get majorities in favor of government action - to keep health care costs down, or protect sensitive environmental areas, for example. But if you just ask vague questions about government programs, people are less likely to respond favorably.
If anything, its the Republicans who are too abstract, by railing against government and pronouncing themselves in favor of tax cuts in the abstract without engaging the publics preferences on specific government action.
The Social Security crisis reveals the problems with the welfare state and public opinion. On NPR today, they discussed how many (if not a majority) recognize that SS is going to run a deficit and go bust and thus some level of crisis exists. But, do they want to cut benefits? No. Do they want to pay more taxes for their cake? No. Do they want to reform the system? No. Just let them enjoy their benefits from the government without really paying for them and let future generations worry about the problem. The only real solution they would endorse? Tax the rich. The desire to have the government do everything for us and then pay no taxes is what got us into a $7 trillion debt in the first place.
Is it possible that the Democrats are victims of their own successes in the 60s and 70s? They have now spent their ideas and its the Republicans whove come out of the wilderness on the rising yang (to mix metaphors)?
Great piece by Michael Barone. He is spon-on about the Democrats. They are brain-dead, and likely to remain so. By far our most dangerous adversary in the party is Hillary, who is craftier and has a broader mental horizon than nearly all of its other leaders.
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