Democrats, Elections, and Ideas - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Democrats, Elections, and Ideas

Some Democrats have recently worried out loud about the growing strength of the far left wing of their party. They fear that the angry left is making Democrats unelectable. The victory of antiwar candidate Ned Lamont over incumbent Joe Lieberman in Connecticut’s senatorial primary didn’t help. Lamont won on a platform of retreat from war and appeasement of the unappeasable — under the trusty leadership of the UN.

Martin Peretz, editor-in-chief of the New Republic and a good liberal, wrote this: “The Lamont ascendancy, if that’s what it is, means nothing other than that the left is trying, and in places succeeding, to take back the Democratic Party. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Maxine Waters have stumped for Mr. Lamont….we have been here before. Ned Lamont is Karl Rove’s dream come true. If he, and others of his stripe, carry the day, the Democratic Party will lose the future, and deservedly.”

Democratic pollster Pat Caddell laments that Democrats are “eating their own” when “ninety days before a crucial election” the party deserts their once-acclaimed vice presidential candidate [Lieberman]. Lanny Davis, former special counsel to President Clinton, is appalled at the “hate and vitriol of bloggers on the liberal side of the aisle.” He described a lawyer friend who had campaigned for Lieberman and feared for his safety. Lanny is not happy with the Democrat left, either.

Conservatives and Republicans are happy to air these woeful predictions — Peretz and Davis on the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Caddell on Fox News — and to join in. Conservative TV and radio host Sean Hannity speaks of “the battle for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party.”

The critics have a valid point and Democrats may be once again ruining their chances. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that over the years, though Democrats may win or lose elections, much of the liberal Democratic ideology marches on toward wider and wider public acceptance. That ideology is broadly based on a non-interventionist foreign policy and an over-dependence on government at home — look around and see how much of it has taken root.

Take, for example the once unthinkable proposal for campaign finance reform. The McCain-Feingold bill was a real bipartisan effort and a terrible idea that has put people such as super-left George Soros and his Move On organization in a very strong position. Most Americans heard, and came to believe that “there is too much money in politics,” as if you could prevent it without doing anything about that which attracts the money — the endless pork, entitlements, protection, regulations and punishments mandated by our huge federal government. The real answer is less government, but most Americans bought the necessity for the Democrat model of regulations and restrictions and now we all live with it.

Victim feminism is on the wane but not before embedding some really bad ideas in our collective acceptance. Chief among them is the very liberal Democrat idea that healthy, free and prosperous American women are some sort of victims. Remember, victim feminists are liberals and liberals are Democrats and now we all take for granted gender preferences, the sexual harassment industry, women’s studies programs, the “glass ceiling,” and the rather insulting idea of “women’s issues.” There are few politicians who will not bow to the idea, hire someone to handle “women’s issues,” and never declare, “But wait! All issues are women’s issues!”

Our dismal public schools are run by Democrats and their friends in the teachers’ unions. But any serious effort to improve things — such as school choice — can’t gain enough support to take off against the entrenched status quo, and the public’s tolerance of mediocrity. Farm subsidies are much the same. Shockingly distorted from their origins in the New Deal, farm subsidies are so established as necessary in the public and political consensus that the GOP’s one effort to wean farmers off the dole was rescinded. By Republicans.

Democratic bad ideas have powerful allies. The media, the schools, the universities and the entertainment industry constantly feed these thoughts into the collective public mind. The recurring anti-war idea is on that track now. We are told that 67 percent of Americans are now against the war in Iraq — 67 percent! When it began, 72 percent of Americans supported the cause. Is that just because things are so difficult there? Or is it that most Americans do not understand the enemy and that it must be fought on many fronts, one of which is Iraq? Do they understand the consequences of quitting the fight? If they did, would they still oppose the war?

Whether Ned Lamont and the Democrats win or lose in November, the idea to quit Iraq and leave the job to “diplomacy” and the UN is out there. Like so many other bad ideas it is being planted into the public mind and this time, it’s a real killer. Let’s pray that it is soundly rejected.

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