Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The parent gap

In this week’s TAE Online column, I take a look at one aspect of Will Marshall’s proposal to "Raid the Red Zone."

Discussions - 11 Comments

Joe, I agree with your analysis...both Whitehead and Marshall are talking about "window dressing" in reference to appealing to parental values. V-chips and "market-free" zones just aren’t going to make the cut. Parents are concerned about cultural malaise and endoctrination in that high holy place (for the Left), the public school.

If I were a Democrat strategist, I would gradually return to economic issues. Good jobs, fair wages, and the social safety net...these issues resonate with a massive swath of Americans, and they remain faithful to the original "progressive" message. Given that both parties are now dominated by highly-educated elites (who benefit in the short-term from cheap prices and cheaper labor), I doubt anyone will return to populist rhetoric (except Pat Buchanan).

Let me add, however, that whoever does return to populism will probably win. Good jobs, fair wages, protected borders, restricted immigration, muscular defense...these are political winners. Regardless of whatever their "focus groups" and "surveys" say, the people who actually show up to the polls would elect a populist leader in a heartbeat. "Window dressing" (e.g., the flag burning amendment) just doesn’t cut it anymore.

keep deluding yourself. i got 2% of the vote.


When has the class warfare angle worked in national politics? Heck, its tough to get it to work locally.

The problem with running on Good jobs, fair wages, and the social safety net is that almost all Americans have already acheived those goals.

Factor in the $2 billion lost to waste in the Katrina effort and you may not find the public nearly as sympathetic as you hope when you state the guvmint needs to help those in need.

I wish I could give credit to the person who penned it recently, but the Democrats (liberals, progressives, whatever) are having trouble with new ideas because they’ve really already accomplished a good deal of what they set out to do forty years ago. Other issues still largely unsettled (and big enough to move votes), the Democrats have picked the side, directly or by oppositional politics, that Americans just don’t support. Namely, they’re sitting on the wrong side of the taxes question and national security.

Now, before you trot out this poll or that poll, I have something to say. Americans have a strong history of deferring to presidents when presidents go in front of the nation and state that military action is needed. Heck, we (myself included) supported our operations into Bosnia and Kosovo. I was a bit more invested in those operations because I deployed both times, but the nation supports the commander in chief if he calls for action against external threats. That a war has gradually turned unpopular in a democracy should surprise no one who studies history (Civil War was wildly unpopular from start to finish, for example, but no less worthy of a fight).

In the end, Democrats have a weakened national security platform because a good deal of the base is just too unpredictable to put forth a cohesive attitude (for lack of a better term) from election cycle to election cycle.

Finally, what some call "window dressing," others call kitchen table issues. You don’t think families discuss issues like that? Don’t you think parents look at issues, such as falg burning, as ways to teach children right or wrong (whichever side you’re on)? Perhaps coming from Penna., the issue resonates more. Penna. has a significant veteran population (10% or thereabouts of the total population, not just the total adult population) and the issue draws polling support matters to voters. Other window dressing issues get support because they draw the attention from voters.

What I’m trying to say is that the "window dressing" issues are often more about ethos than the matters of economics or politics. That’s why they resonate. If the nation is addressing issues that strike to the core of your character, the nation is "just like you." The issues are often easily defined, but don’t confuse that with "simple minded."

They are issues that everyone can talk about. The other issues (workforce development, national security, etc.) can be talked about, but folks are often cynical enough to know that promises of sunshine and chocolates are bought by compromises and caveats.

I better sign off now before I start my second chapter.

In my opinion the Democrats poorly frame the economic problems. They are "into" envy, but that’s not the major problem. It’s a matter of economic structure, and that problem is related to an economic model that undercuts gains by our poorer citizens.

Yea, Pat only got 2%, but that’s because he had lots of other "baggage." I notice that this country elected slimy Bill Clinton TWICE...and both times on economic issues. Go ahead and delude YOURSELF...if Al Gore had been a little less tone-deaf (and more human) the Dems might still control the White House.

Actually, it makes me sad that so many people on the Right apparently fit the Leftist stereotype of "the Right." Instead of the "let them eat cake" mentally, how about some solutions to the problem?

Solutions to what problem(s), dain?

What’s your point? Pat Buchanan and Bill Clinton have polar opposite views on economics. The people rejected Pat and voted for Bill. How does any of this support your "populists will win" motif?

Both Bill and Pat spoke for programs that would help the little guy, and they voted for Bill because he was 1) younger, 2) smoother, and 3) not perceived as a Nazi (some of Pat’s comments have been..well...a bit extreme). I would also add that Bill’s party was not hostile to him -- the GOP was definitely hostile to Pat.

What are the problems? How about the fact that over 50% of Americans haven’t had a real pay raise in 30 years? How about the fact that the medical insurance systems and the pension systems are breaking down? If the market is so great it needs to deal with the whole person, not just the 8-to-5 robot the company doesn’t mind paying for.

Still delusional. Buchanan and Clinton have nothing in common.

Saying it doesn’t make it so.

No kidding. That was my point.

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