No, not yet, not so long as it has the run of government and the programs it created to keep itself in power.
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“Public sector liberalism” represents the logical terminus for a movement that began in an effort to redraw the boundaries of government action in order to bring industrial capitalism to heel and grew in tandem with the expansion of government.
This evolution has produced an unprecedented conflict between the two major political parties with one rooted in the public sector and the other in the private sector.
In the past, political parties were coalitions of private interests seeking influence over government so as to facilitate their growth and expansion within the private economy. This was true of early party conflicts that pitted commerce versus agriculture, or later ones pitting free labor against slavery or business against organized labor. The conflict today between Democrats and Republicans increasingly puts public sector unions and beneficiaries of public programs against the middle-class taxpayer and business interests large and small. In states where public spending is high and public sector unions are strong, as in California, New York, and Illinois, Democrats have seized control; where the public sector is weak or not politically organized, as is the case across the South and Southwest, Republicans have greater strength. This configuration, when added up across the nation, has produced electoral standoffs between red and blue states that have been decided by a handful of swing states that do not fit readily into either camp.
How this standoff is resolved between popular conservatism and public sector liberalism is a legitimate subject for debate and speculation. It is obvious, however, that liberalism can only prosper if it can continue to build coalitions through public spending, public borrowing, and publicly guaranteed credit. These are the resources that underwrite their institutional advantages. Should those resources dry up, as they are now doing as a consequence of the long recession, liberalism will unwind as a political force as public programs are cut, public employees are let go, and retirement arrangements with public sector unions are renegotiated. In some public sector states, such outcomes now appear inevitable. Conservatives are in a position to hasten this process along by refusing to approve the spending, borrowing, and federal bailouts that will be required to keep public sector liberalism afloat, though at the price of being blamed for the pain and suffering associated with its collapse. But this is undoubtedly a price worth paying to guide the nation through an adjustment that will otherwise take place later and under circumstances far less to anyone’s liking.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online