|Women and Safety||America's Emerging Liberal Oligarchy|
by Christopher Chantrill
February 05, 2009 at 9:36 am
LAST WEEK America blew a raspberry at the House stimulus bill. The Wall Street Journal edit page reckoned it out at about 12 percent stimulus. What about the other 88 percent? It was mostly the usual liberal special-interest spending, 40 years of pent-up pet projects. Things looked so bad that the Journals other edit page, the liberal news side, decided to put out a calming analysis piece. Obama aides say this is a baseball game in its early innings, or a football game at halftime, Gerald F. Seib assured us.
Youd think the Democrats would do a better job of camouflaging their real agenda, given the effort they have put, starting with the 2006 mid-term elections, into wooing the middle class. According to pollster Alex Lundry, middle class is the number one positive thing that people associate with Democrats. But the stimulus bill proves that its not about the middle class. Its about the Democratic patronage state. Always was, always will be.
You wonder: what did the Obama people think they were doing allowing the House Democrats to come up with this monster? They must have understood that the great American middle class, the folks that dont have big credit-card balances, that dont have unaffordable mortgages, that do shell out for health insurance would expect President Obama to deliver on post-partisan and fast. Voters were told that the new administration of President Obama was going to put the corruption and the partisan wrangling of the Clinton-Bush years behind us and clean up government. But right now it looks like same-old-same-old. Now the president will be faced with a bunch of horse-trading if he hopes to get a fig-leaf of Republican support for the Democratic special-interest payoff bill.
How does this politics-as-usual affect the voters? According to Michael Barone, Republicans did dismally with black and young voters in 2008. In addition, the affluent suburbs have gone Democratic too. He uses that information to propose that Republicans should go upscale when looking for votes in the future. Forget downscale and Sarah Palin, he urges. Go where the votes are.
But Barones election data could be telling a different tale. You could just as well say that upscale voters were giving Barack Obama a try because they could afford to. They wanted to show that enlightened people like them were ready to elect an African American to the presidency. Combine that with a certain Pharisee attitude towards Christian conservatives and it was easy to vote for Obama.
That was then; this is now. If President Obama were to govern as just a politics-as-usual liberal, unable to break out of the identity politics of the Democratic party, those upscale voters could be voting Republican as soon as 2010. People with skills and a well-tended 401(k) can afford to take a risk or two, but not when it threatens their childrens futures.
A couple of weeks ago President Obama called for a new era of responsibility, a Responsibility Nation. Yet across the street last week in Rights Nation, House Democrats passed a huge bill that established new rights to health care that Americans could claim against their fellow citizens. Which message are Americans supposed to believe in?
Its not just a two message problem; its a Two America thing.
The vast majority of upscale Americans, particularly those that work in the non-union private sector, live a life that you never see on the MSM, and you never hear about from a liberal politician. They work in Ownership Nation where they are encouraged to own problems and solve them rather than squabble about who was to blame. Its different in the political world of government and unionized work-places. In political Blame Nation you get ahead by sticking the blame on the other guy before he gets a chance to blame you.
Most ordinary people work in Team America. They are trained to work in teams, competing according to the rules against other teams. Its different in the political world of government and unionized work-places. There youll find Gang America, where you stick together, go along to get along, to game the rules and loot the system.
What are upscale Americans to think when the leader of a political partythe one that gangs up on Ownership America to fund its endless programstells us work responsibly?
What are ordinary Americans to think when the leader of a political partythe one that blames greedy bankers for the mortgage meltdown and gets VIP Friends of Angelo loanswants America to work together like a team?
After twelve years of a Republican Congress and eight years of President Bush upscale voters were fed up with Republicans and ready for a change. They wanted hope, change, and serious attention to the nations problems. Since the September collapse of Lehman Brothers they have been expecting that the politicians who coo about hope, change, and the middle class would get serious and urgently fix the economy.
But when the new administration fumbles the ball on the first play of the game, Americans have a right to wonder what they voted for. Upscale Americans might want to call in their bets on a pleasing young man and might forget the snobbish attitudes they had about social conservatives. Upscale or downscale, cant Aspirational America just get along?
One thing is for sure. The Obama administration is starting out with plenty of rookie mistakes, rather like the presidency of another young Democrat sixteen years ago.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness...
But to make a man act [he must have]
the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove
or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action
But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie
that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison
At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing
[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm
Civil Societya complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churchesbuilds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust
In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, The Scientist as Rebel
Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says we should....
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
When we received Christ, Phil added, all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh
I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all.
In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion
We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.
E. G. West, Education and the State