Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The new stupid party

According to our friend James W. Ceaser, Democrats have become the new stupid party, a sobriquet once reserved for Republicans. Among other things, Ceaser offers a tour of the current Democratic horizon, finding numerous wonkish ten-point plans, a lonely big thinker or two, a few bobo billionaires, and lots of anti-intellectual virtual thugs overly fond of invective. To be sure, there are many smart and clever Democrats, but they seem to be allergic to broad and deep thinking.

Discussions - 6 Comments

hum...James Ceaser always says something interesting.

OK, I'll buy it, but is this the key to Democratic electoral success last year? The population has no clear idea what is intended for the nation by that party and therefore votes the bums in? I live in Ohio and the whole state seemed to switch parties in that election. If this had just been a matter of Ohio, I might not be so concerned. Are Republicans not now in disarray? Having coherent theorists is all very well and good, but if the politicians of a party are all over the place..., but if that incoherence was a winner for the Democrats, then Republicans are in great shape for the next election.

I gotta like anyone who sticks it to the bobo millionaires. But what theory do the Republicans have now that the neocon "natural right" approach isn't working for them right now? Dare I say that American politics is now stupidity run amok everywhere? Jim is one talented and enjoyable writer...

I agree that, on this dimension, Republicans aren't much better than Democrats, at least to the degree that they're not one brand or another of conservative. The real contrast that Jim C. could or should draw is between liberals and conservatives. And the real question we should ask is whether conservatives (oddly yet arguably more serious about "theory" than liberals) have any influence in the Republican Party. No one could seriously have argued that, after Newt Gingrich, Congressional Republicans took conservative theory all that seriously.

Joe Knippenberg wrote: "No one could seriously have argued that, after Newt Gingrich, Congressional Republicans took conservative theory all that seriously."

I think that's exactly right. The pursuit and impeachment of Clinton seemed the high-water mark; from there it was essentially the erosion of what had once been.

The advent of 9/11 delayed the fall. Had that not occurred, the Republicans would surely have lost the Congress in 2002, or 2004 at the latest. Bush's win in 2004 was far closer than it should have been.

The storehouse of ideas is one thing, the gentle movement of the country in the direction of self-interest being another. Conservatives can't convincingly offer an electoral message that appeals to naked selfishness; liberals make a practice of it. That is why I believe that country is moving to a near-permanent Democrat majority. That is why I shake my head in wonder that some would argue that a fire-breathing social conservative might possibly win the White House in 2008. The chances of that are practically zero as most of America focuses on what the government is going to give or do for them.

The only dynamic I see changing this is another attack, this one worse than the last. But such a thing might be this country's undoing, depending on the severity.

I hope that it is just my pessimism getting the better of me. But I doubt it.

Don, people can't stand the Democrats, either. Perhaps it is a matter of self-interest so that the Democrats are perceived to be failing because they can't give everything away fast enough? Yet that's not what I read on blogs or hear from my neighbors. People don't know what they want from government right now. Well, some people do, and it is just what you say, but most people do not. People are looking for their principles to be expressed by the available candidates, and are not hearing anything but those guys (and I include Hillary in "guys") saying what they think the electorate wants to hear. There is great cynicism out here. It is possible that even a principled candidate could not be taken seriously. America is sorting itself out right now and that is not pretty.

Yes, an attack would focus the collective mind powerfully. It is horrible to hope for.

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