Punitive Liberalism

If you watch old movies, read books from the first half of the 20th century, and are old enough to remember the early 1960s, you will recall that New Deal liberalism was a cheerful, optimistic creed, pro-American and working for economic prosperity.  After all, liberals from Franklin Roosevelt through Hubert Humphrey were progressives, which gave them confidence that things were getting better and better.  But after a certain point, liberals began to be filled with gloom and doom.  America must be punished for its sins; our neglect of the environment will incur apocalyptic judgment; economic prosperity weakens our moral fiber.  Conservatives used to sound that way, and did, before the sunny optimism of Ronald Reagan.

George Will discusses the shift to a “punitive liberalism” in a discussion of a book that sees the tipping point as  the assassination of John F. Kennedy, even though Lee Harvey Oswald was a Communist.  (I think the tipping point was the Vietnam War, but still. . . .) [Read more...]

Shutdown countdown

The federal government runs out of money at the end of the day today and will shut down tomorrow unless the House of Representatives and Senate can strike a deal to keep the money flowing.  Republicans, who control the House, are saying they won’t pass such a resolution unless Obamacare is delayed for a year.  (They earlier wanted to strip funding from it entirely.  Now they are settling for a delay.)  Democrats are refusing to back down from their signature health care legislation (a major part of which goes into effect tomorrow).

So now we are on the brink.  Tomorrow the government may shut down AND the Obamacare insurance exchange sign-ups begin.

What do you think will happen?  Do you predict a last-second compromise?  If the shutdown takes place, what impact will that have?  What impact would that have on the Republican Party? [Read more...]

Republicans as the new 1989 Democrats

Today’s Republican party is in exactly the same situation as the Democratic party of 1989 and making exactly the same excuses for why they can’t win a national presidential election.  This is the point made by two Democratic strategists who revisit an essay they wrote way back then, only this time they apply it to Republicans. [Read more...]

The two paths for Democrats

We talked about the two paths for Republicans.  Apparently there are also two paths opening up for Democrats.  Two columns in the Washington Post cite a growing schism in the Democratic Party between old-line pro-union economic liberals and big business Democrats who favor Wall Street.  What the two factions have in common is social liberalism (pro-abortion, pro-feminist, pro-gay, etc.), but the party’s former solidarity on economic issues is coming apart.  (Which may be the opposite of what is happening among Republicans, with the big business faction and the populists agreeing on economics but differing on social issues.) [Read more...]

Socially conservative but economically liberal

Luke Foster notes a new breed of Christian political activists.  They are social conservatives–pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-religious liberty–but they are liberal economically (wanting government programs that help the poor) and they are running as Democrats. [Read more...]

How the Democrats used FaceBook

The Washington Post is publishing excerpts from its reporter Dan Balz’s book on the last presidential election: Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America.  Monday’s installment was about how the Democrats’ sophisticated use of technology to target their message and get out the vote.  After the jump, an account of what the Democrats did with FaceBook. [Read more...]


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