If you're hollow, you can't understand someone else's base
Posted by aogWednesday, 22 August 2007 at 20:32 TrackBack Ping URL

I have been working on a long post about the recent immigration reform debacle, which I will likely never finish1. One theme was how so many leading lights of the GOP could be not only so wrong but so oblivious to being wrong.

Yet isn’t that less bizarre than the situation the leading lights of the Democratic Party find themselves in now, where what’s bad for America is good for the Democratic Party2? That seems an even more remarkably obtuse bit of politics.

An opposition party (oddly, one that controls Congress, but let us not focus on foam on the incoming wave) will naturally tend to disparage the efforts and results of the governing party. One needs to temper that with a bit of reality, though, so as not to get in exactly this kind of situation. No governing is perfect, so there will always be real failures to capitalize on, making it not pay to focus on non-existent ones.

Why didn’t the Democratic Party do that? Two reasons —

One is the excessive historicity of the party, being dominated by figures who came of age decades ago. While the GOP has had really some massive turn over, think of who the real power brokers in the Democratic Party are and how long they’ve been there. They can’t give up the shiboleths that brought them to power, even if such things no longer make sense.

Second is that most of the good points of attack on President Bush are things that the Democratic party leadership is psychologically incapable of attacking. Most of them involve admitting that Socialism is a failure and market economies are the future. The DLC tried that and despite winning the Presidency for 8 years are being written out of party politics. The rest tend to be things the Democratic Party is even worse about than the GOP, such as government spending, taxes, and corruption3.

So they can’t let go and can’t go forward. No wonder they’re so enamored of theories that don’t require adaptation to changing conditions.


1 It’s the footnotes / documentation that are killing me.

2 So, for example, here’s a few list of links I have accumulated on this subject.

3 See Orrin’s Judd excellent list for details.

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