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Democrats: End of the Big Push Entitlements: What Difference Does It Make?

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Politics Isn't Just Tactics

by Christopher Chantrill
April 30, 2013 at 12:00 am


MANY OF THE commenters on my article last week on “Democrats: End of the Big Push” took me to task for underestimating the ruthlessness of the Democrats.

Maybe I do underestimate them. But here is something to back up my point. A well-known Democratic activist recently said this:

Planned Parenthood is not going anywhere. It’s not going anywhere today. It’s not going anywhere tomorrow.

For some reason, his remarks seemed eerily familiar to me. As in this speech given 50 years ago in 1963:

In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.

Hey, Barry! How this line to pull in the bitter clingers: “Planned Parenthood today, Planned Parenthood tomorrow, Planned Parenthood forever!”

People adopt aggressive tactics and “eliminationist rhetoric” when their cause is in trouble.

So the aggressive tactics of the angry liberals means nothing. What does mean something is that Democrats are failing on strategy.

The first and most obvious case is Obamacare. The basic problem with universal health care as a political issue is that the middle class in the US already has health insurance. Twenty years ago, HillaryCare went down the tubes as soon as the American people, courtesy of Harry and Louise, realized that they were going to pay the bill for extending health insurance to the poor.

There is a law about entitlements that explains what happened to Hillarycare. It is Kristol’s Law, after fabled neoconservative Irving Kristol. If you want to help the poor, he wrote, you must deal in the middle class. But HillaryCare couldn’t do that, and so it went down to defeat.

You could tell, when Obamacare rolled out, that the Democrats thought that they had learned their lesson. This time the Dems lied through their teeth about keeping your doctor, and costs going down instead of up, and they paid off the insurance companies to prevent a rerun of Harry and Louise.

Yes. They got their tactics right this time. They pushed the 2,000 page bill through Congress before a single person had read it, and without a single Republican vote in the House of Representatives. In fact there was bipartisan opposition as Speaker Pelosi hand-picked the Democratic members from marginal districts to vote against the bill. Tactically, it was brilliant. Strategically, it stank.

Do you see the huge strategic mistakes? First of all, there’s the basic Kristol Law problem, that the Dems lied about, and may get hung around their necks for the next generation. Americans already have health insurance. Then there is the partisan vote problem. On Social Security and Medicare all those years ago the Dems were careful to make sure that they got Republican votes to make the new law bipartisan. But since Obamacare passed on a partisan vote Republicans can declare open season on it.

Then there is the stimulus and the basic economic policy of the Obama administration. After the biggest financial crash in our lifetime the Dems decided on taxing and spending and inflating as usual. The liberal chimeras of universal health care and green energy were more important than jobs for unemployed Americans.

None of this is meant to underestimate the huge advantage, tactically and strategically, that Democrats get from the “state controlled media” and the state-owned education system and the idiot liberalism of Hollywood.

And even that is nothing compared to the problem at the level of the master cultural narrative, dominant since Marx in the 1840s, that there exists a basic conflict between the interests of middle-class businessmen and the working class.

Hey, it worked for the Marxists; they got to rule half the world, for a while.

Today, of course, the master cultural narrative has morphed into the poisonous doctrine that the Republican Party and the white middle class are racists, sexists, homophobes that have it in for blacks, Hispanics, women, and gays.

You can see why. Liberals only get to stay on as the ruling class when they set the American people at each others’ throats.

Never mind about tactics. Don’t even get too tied up in strategy. Just solve the problem of the master cultural narrative, and you can get ready for a golden age of conservative cooperation.

So, geniuses, how about figuring out a way to divide liberals from their marginalized liberal clients, just like Marx divided the workers from the masters? How about abortion that’s been a 100-year liberal war on minority babies? Or the failing schools that amount to a war on minority kids? Or Obamacare’s war on women and young adults?

Get to own the master cultural narrative and the tactics will take care of itself.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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What Liberals Think About Conservatives

[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. “Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists,” she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican

US Life in 1842

Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism

Taking Responsibility

[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050

Society and State

For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008

Socialism equals Animism

Imagining that all order is the result of design, socialists conclude that order must be improvable by better design of some superior mind.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values

Responsible Self

[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.

Religion, Property, and Family

But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family. Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit

Racial Discrimination

[T]he way “to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,” Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District


A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ’merely relative’, is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy

Physics, Religion, and Psychology

Paul Dirac: “When I was talking with Lemaître about [the expanding universe] and feeling stimulated by the grandeur of the picture that he has given us, I told him that I thought cosmology was the branch of science that lies closest to religion. However [Georges] Lemaître [Catholic priest, physicist, and inventor of the Big Bang Theory] did not agree with me. After thinking it over he suggested psychology as lying closest to religion.”
John Farrell, “The Creation Myth”


Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization

presented by Christopher Chantrill

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