Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Good article on long-term opportunities for the Dems

Sam Smith of the Progressive Review lays the case here for why the GOP lock is not nearly as bad as it seems. He blames Democratic misfortune largely on what he calls the "Vichy Democrats" of D.C. who try to position themselves as GOP-lite (responsible Republicans) instead of populists. When both parties sound about the same, swing voters don't see a difference -- because the "Vichy Democrats" work hard to erase any significant difference between the parties. That is a poor strategy.

In the base GOP states, income is below-average. That's an opportunity for populists to earn votes. Anyway, check out the article.

23 comments:

FightforJustice said...

Is it populist to advocate gay marriage? How about opposing a ban on protestors burning Old Glory? Or banning handguns and prosecuting a man who shoots a home invader? Or amnesty for 11 million illegal aliens? All great populist issues for Dems to make inroads in the Solid South?!?

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

The populist issue is raising wages. Democrats do this. Republicans don't. Everything else you mention looks cultural to me -- except for amnesty, which is as much a GOP Big Business issue as it is a Democratic Latino issue.

Lazerlou said...

Dan, you were the one siding with Hilary about how to appeal apologetically to the middle right on abortion not long ago. Something about stressing how abortions are unfortunate sad events, the frequency of which should be minimized through policy. What happened to a woman's right to control and do with her own body as she chooses, without apology?

Fightforjustice. Nice misnomer. Would be justice to make an exception to the first amendment for the flag? Even if popluar sentiment said so. And most dems I know do not advocate for gay marriage, just equal rights for all. And Banning handguns is popular anywhere such bans matter, like cities, where people actually have to live and work together. You know all the cities that produce all the wealth that allow hicks in red states to sell their agricultural products? And Amnesty for aliens is a republican idea to help keep wages down and exploitation up.

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

Lou, I think the Dems' best issue is economic populism. The cultural stuff is not as compelling to as many people. And I don't agree with the call for abortion without apology. I don't agree with the strategy or the policy. We should minimize abortions. That's why we should expose the anti-family planning agenda as pro-abortion.

Anonymous said...

All right, I'm going to continue to try to help the Progressives. Dan wrote: "the Dems' best issue is economic populism. The cultural stuff is not as compelling to as many people." That's just plain wrong. And worse it's Marxist and patronizing at the same time. The toothless masses understand the choice between a higher minimum wage and preventing gay marriage. The latter is obviously more important to them according to the LAST THREE ELECTION CYCLES. For Christ's sake, there's "Nothing The Matter With Kansas" - they're just religious people and vote accordingly. You're saying to them: "Ignore your faith and we'll give you more government cheese." The only way out of the wilderness for Democrats is to credibly offer people BOTH (see re. Hillary Clinton's endless ramblings about her "deep faith" etc.). Economic populism? IT'S NOT 1930! - CF

N. Y. Krause said...

Lazerlou, I can't defend fightforjustice in terms of justice. But in terms of populism, clearly prohibited flag burning is quite popular. Restricting immigration is quite popular. Equal rights for gays are unpopular. These are all populist issues.

Conclusion: populism is a crock.

Lazerlou said...

Dan, that you should be arguing this, in he most pragmatic, politically expedient way is depressing. What ever happened to women's rights? I don't like abortions either, but I'm not going to campaign on the issue, no matter how born of popular, exploitable religious ignorance. I'm never going to advocated for government sponored morality. I'm never going to give in to the Republican domination of the conversation in the first place.
Lets not talk abortion Dan, you are right, lets talk economic populism. Let's talk economic justice. Can we talk about the distribution of wealth? (That CF should equate basic economic justice with Marxism demonstrates his ignorance of the philisophical foundations of caplitalism). Dealing with causes is a whole lot more effective than trying to deal with the noisy symptoms of econimic injustice and social alienation, like abortion. Let's talk adequate and equal eductaion, including frank and scientific sex education. That way you deal with the causes of the need to use sex so casually and without reasoned consideration. There is a lot wrong with Kansas. They are uneducated and religious. Religion is destroying the world. It is a poor substitute for rationality. Its like the fucking enlightenment never happened. Evolution is just a theory. A Zygote has rights. Some times, a lot of the time, the masses are way off. It simply is not the role of the government to interfere with the bodily autonomy of women or any citizen, even should you find what they are doing with their bodies immoral. When you start talking like them, you've already lost the argument Dan.

Lazerlou said...

Pandering to the religious freaks, no matter how many of them there are, makes you as bad as those disgusting political whores on capitol hill. Do you ever want to be considered in the same light as Delay and Frist? The Shaivo thing is the most disgusting abuse of congressional power I have ever seen. Even a non U of C lawyer could tell you giving jurisdiction to the fed courts would change nothing. Its not like fed courts get to make their own law, as I think Frist and Bush and the rest of the slime thought. Its like nobody sees that we are at war. We've been blinded with baseball and the braindead.

FightforJustice said...

LLou writes, "It simply is not the role of the government to interfere with the bodily autonomy of women or any citizen, even should you find what they are doing with their bodies immoral."

It sounds as if Lou favors legalization of all drugs and prostitution. Are those more Democrat populist issues?

n. y. krause said...

Lazerlou's aggressive anti-religionism is creepy. I'm sure the Republicans would love it if he were granted prime-time speaking time at every Democratic convention in the future.

Lazerlou said...

Lou does favor the legalization of prostitution, even though it is immoral. There are few costs that are externalized on the rest of society with prostitution. One might argue STDs could rise to a level where extrnalized costs warrant government regulation. Pot yes, hard drugs, not yet, not until people could handle it and severe costs on ther rest of us (hospital resources, addiction) could be avoided.

I love that people who believe in thousands of years old cults, who think they have the right to impose their irrational authority on others, are not the creepy ones in your book Krause. But I am the creepy one. The educated guy who studied physics, who recognizes that the enlightment happened and can see that people are being kept in a state of control and manipulation throughout the world by irrational lies about higher powers. Look around Krause. Religion is the #1 instrument of opression andthe #1 source of violence around the world. We were attacked becasue some religious fundamentalists fear the rationalizing effects of wealth building and social progress. You should be anti-religion too. Be spiritual, not religious.Make your own traditions.

Obviously, I'm no populist. An elitest really. That doesn't mean westill shouldn't be talking about economic justice and equality with the lower and middle class (we can skip the prostitution talk). They keep you drunk with religion and sex and tv.

Jeff Wegerson said...

Hard drugs like alcohol and tobacco, the ones that kill the most, create the most violence and/or are the most addictive. Those hard drugs, right?

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

CF -- the cultural issues that Dems have an advantage on (tolerance, forward-thinking equality) are not as compelling as the cultural issues that the GOP has an advantage on (tradition, ritual, obedience to authority) to swing voters, in my view. And it's not 1630 either -- religion isn't the first issue for most voters. Remember Clinton's campaign phrase: It's the economy, stupid? That's another way of saying focus on economic populism, which is another way of saying -- better jobs, higher wages for most of us. And raise taxes from 35% to 39% on income earned over $300K, because they can afford it and because that finances smart investment in the economy which makes everybody better off. Populism doesn't mean "what's popular" or Britney Spears would be a populist performer. It means (at least in this context on this blog. . . .) economic policies to benefit most people. Republican policies are anti-populist, because they benefit the few (wealthy people) at the expense of the many (everybody else). Democratic politices benefit the many at the marginal expense of the few. And LazerLour, you may have a deep abiding faith in the enlightenment, but you come across as a bit of a robot. The enlightenment doesn't tell us when rights vest in an embryo (first trimester? third trimester? viability?). There's nothing depressing about recognizing that we should minimize abortions. Sounds like you agree with that. So what's your beef?

Lazerlou said...

D, the enlightenment did link rights to consciousness, the ability to be self-setermiative, and identity. There is a reason why children have limited rights in our legal system. But we are talking the most basic right to life, and that life does not begin until one is born, or arguably until one is viable. And I'm quite sure whatever right a viable fetus might have to life does not trump the right a fully grown and conscious woman has to control her own body and her own future. I don't have a beef. I just don't like this plan to use their language and play their game to get votes. We need to focus on education and standard of living for the poor.

As for Mr. Wegerson's astute observation, perhaps the amount of collective resources we expend on battling violence and addiction related to alcohol and tobacco could be a nice measure of what should and shouldn't be tolerated as legal drugs. The costs of legal alcohol and tobacco sales are bad, yes, but I promise they are nothing compared to the social costs of making crack or heroin legal.

Anonymous said...

Dan,
If you want to win 43% of the vote, by all means follow Clinton's focus on economic populism. Religious voters have always been there, they just weren't organized so many went for Perot in 1992 and most stayed home in 1996. If those people only cared about government handouts, Clinton would've won a Reaganesque landslide in 1996. The issue that brought them to the polls (and put Bush II in the White House) was the seeming decline in religious morality (not "tolerance and forward-looking thinking", which I thank you for adding to my lexicon of Orwellian liberal spin). Also, you need to keep in mind that Bush's tax cuts helped the lower classes - they just helped the rich even more. Which gets me back to my original point: you need to offer more than promises of government largess paid for by the "rich". Huge majorities of people (not just religious nuts) are against gay marriage and partial birth abortion, etc. You won't reach these people with New Deal programs and tales of economic doom and gloom. - CF

N. Y. Krause said...

Dan, you seemed to have redefined "populist" to make it completely subjective. You have it as whatever benefits most people. This would apply to any well-intentioned person's views. I would say that free market capitalism is what benefits most people, so I suppose that makes me a populist now, too. This kind of "populism" is a word devoid of meaning.

By the way, Lazerlou, the social costs of making crack and heroin illegal are enormous.

MDS said...

"Lazerlou's aggressive anti-religionism is creepy."

What's creepy about it? Many of the most powerful people in our country consider imposing their religion on the rest of us their most important goal. That's a serious problem and should be faced head on. The truly creepy thing is that someone as libertarian as you, Mr. Krause, finds the mere suggestion of criticizing religion off limits.

Lazerlou said...

Yes, we Jews believe life doesn't start until three days after birth. Do I have a right to impose the moral ramifications of that view on others? If so, not only should abortin be legal, infanticide should be legal so long as it occured withing three days of birth. Obviously this is an aburd idea, but I hope it illustrates a point about the dangers of imposing one particular morality through the operation of government. And yes CF, master of the obvious, drugs being illegal result in significant social costs, probably more net costs that if they were legal, as best I can tell. However, I fear those costs would be so severely concentrated in the inner cities should crack and heroin become legal, that considerations of individual dignity would trump any utilitarian cost benefit analysis done on society as a whole. cheap hard drugs would destroy the live of the poor in a disproportionate way. There would need to be some serious taxes to deter use. The Posner-Becker blog has a good discussion going right now.
http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/

Anonymous said...

For one thing, in the U.S. we have the concept of "separation between church and state", one of the upshots of which is that it is unnecessary to criticize religion in order to criticize religious control of the government. On the other hand, I'm not sure why it's worse to impose religious ideas on everybody than to impose any other ideas. Some people think it's wrong for the unborn to be aborted. Other people think it's wrong to employ people for less than a minimum wage. What's the difference?

Lazerlou's legalize-but-tax plan sounds like typical pseudo-liberal tomfoolery. Funny that you worry about the costs of legalization being concentrated in the inner cities. Isn't that where the costs of the illegalization are concentrated? Looking at the proportion of young black men who are incarcerated for drug-related offenses, one gets that impression. High taxes will only necessitate people being thrown in jail for selling on the black market. Still, anything's better than the current drug war.

-n. y. krause

Lazerlou said...

Krause, in the U.S. we have the Establishment Clause and the Free Excercise Clause. "Separation of Church and State" is nowhere to be found in the Constitution. Even the House Chaplain could have told you that.
You are missing the point about costs. Of course there are costs to drug use in the inner city, but right now there is a drug war going on, where farmers in Columbia are being napalmed, where drug smugglers kill each other, where police resources are being diverted to stop production and flow, where human mules are being used to smuggle. Most if not all of these severe costs would be elimintaed if drugs were legalized. We spend hundreds of millions on the drug war. The problem would be that drugs would get cheaper. That means more use. So whatever costs are beingincurred n the inner city, if drugs were legalized and prices went down, you'd have a huge shift in cost to the users, from the war. That is why you need taxes to inflate prices (the problem is then the balck market that will arise)

To call this pseudo-liberal is nothing short of stupid. These are the ideas of Gary Becker and Richard Posner for God's sake. Do you know who they are? They are the intellectual foundation of laissez faire economic conservitavism. The guys who believe in baby selling, you know? So check your ignorance before you start labelling so quickly.

n. y. krause said...

Lazerlou,

The Establishment Clause and the Free Excercise Clause are part of the U.S. Constitution, but "separation of church and state" is a venerable part of American tradition. The term was coined and endorsed by Thomas Jefferson, who had a lot to do with inspiring (although not with writing) the Bill of Rights.

On the drug issue, I don't think you and I are really that far apart. We both want to dismantle the current insane Drug War apparatus. I don't think one can assume that, just because something comes out of the mouth of a conservative economist, that it is itself economically conservative (even Milton Friedman proposd a Negative Income Tax, for crying out loud). I know a fair bit about laissez faire economics, and I don't have a very high opinion of Becker and Posner, although Becker, at least, is a lot better than the average. Their support for this sort of pseudo-liberal tomfoolery is a good example of their flaws.

n. y. krause said...

Lazerlou,

The Establishment Clause and the Free Excercise Clause are part of the U.S. Constitution, but "separation of church and state" is a venerable part of American tradition. The term was coined and endorsed by Thomas Jefferson, who had a lot to do with inspiring (although not with writing) the Bill of Rights.

On the drug issue, I don't think you and I are really that far apart. We both want to dismantle the current insane Drug War apparatus. I don't think one can assume that, just because something comes out of the mouth of a conservative economist, that it is itself economically conservative (even Milton Friedman proposd a Negative Income Tax, for crying out loud). I know a fair bit about laissez faire economics, and I don't have a very high opinion of Becker and Posner, although Becker, at least, is a lot better than the average. Their support for this sort of pseudo-liberal tomfoolery is a good example of their flaws.

Lazerlou said...

Krause,
I forgot to explain the difference between abortion and minimum wage issues. The difference is the abortion issue cannot be resolved with reason. For someone to argue that an embryo has life, they must ultimately appeal to arguments involving faith. Arguments NOT founded in reason, arguments that appeal to religious morality that cannot be empircally supported or verified. Minimum wage is an ethical issue (along with being a moral one), one that can be supported by reason and empirical evidence. There is much more than faith on which to base one's arguments for or against minimum wage. Now do you see the difference? Issues dealing strictly with morality are the stuff of religion. Issues that have ethical foundations are the stuff of democracy.