Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Reality Arrives for the Democratic Party
Driftglass has already put the dots together, so start out with these two posts of his:
Here's the deal. When Mr. Booker popped off this past weekend about how Mr. Obama was being "nauseating" when he decided to attack Bain Capital head on, this was not a mistake. Nor did Mr. Booker recant his words on the Rachel Maddow show on Monday night. Certainly he did express support for much of Obama's agenda and record. Certainly he will remain a Democrat (unless progressive Democrats really decide to make a full blown issue of this, and force him to the "independent" place of mystery and confusion, where such folks as Joe Lieberman and Bernie Sanders now share crackers and milk and a footrub before bed).
But the Cory Booker problem puts the real Democratic Party, as it actually exists today, to the wall. On the one side--the Republican side--is the view that (as David Brooks says in his column cited by Driftglass), venture capitalism as practiced by Bain and many other businesses is actually an effective corrective medicine for what ails an economy. This means that no matter what the carnage when viewed in the particular, as Mr. Obama's advertising on the point does via interviews with people who lost their jobs via Bain Capital, in the broad overview, in the great sweep of history, and as Doris Lessing once said through the mouth of a big time gold mine exec. in South Africa, "well, you have to break some eggs to make an omlet."
The fact is, a large swathe of the Democratic Party also accepts this view. They are loath to disparage a segment of business, venture capitalism, which has made great donations to their coffers, and which continues to support candidates from both parties. Moreover, a large swathe of the Democratic Party pretty much agrees with the premise that successful business is a self-justifying thing, for society as a whole. Or, as Romney puts it in his usual inept way--anyone who makes money deserves commendation.
This evolution of the Democratic Party has been ongoing. It is marked, historically, by the defeat of Tom Harkin in 1992 by Bill Clinton, who was and is in many ways what used to be, long ago, called a Rockefeller Republican. There is, in fact, an agreement among a large center of the political "class," which includes both many Democrats and all Republicans. People who make money are to be commended. Period. As corollaries, such Democrats believe in things like "right to work" laws. (My state, North Carolina, has had such laws since the late 1950s, and through almost all of the period since we have had Democratic leadership. It makes no difference down here who's running the show.)
When Mr. Obama says that a President should be concerned with the welfare of all citizens, he is--by the lights of the vast, vague "independent" middle--saying something radical. This is why the Democratic Party is allowing Scott Walker, Republican Governor of Wisconsin, to maintain a 20/1 monetary advantage in the current campaign to unseat him and replace him with a moderate Democrat, the mayor of Milwaukee.
It looks like, when it comes to economic fealty, the Democratic Party may well leave it's own sitting President twisting slowly in the wind. Then we'll all be dependent on luck--can the GOP actually manage to be so crass and stupid as to drive away large majorities of women, black people, latinos, and various other minorities who are always under the boot when the GOP rules the United States. Or will they lure enough of these folks back into the voting booth, yet again.
Photo is from Goddard's masterpiece, La Chinoise, circa 1967, when things were clearer in some ways. While I try, usually, to see deeper into the flow of events than just the headlines of some local newspaper, there is this:
Fact is, when you takes the money you pretty much puts yourself in the corner. Or, as we say, Citizens United. La Chinoise could have occurred in an odd corner of 1984, come to think of it.
Meanwhile, one could go back and look at just what "private equity companies" do to be congratulated for. Here's an explanation, from an actual economics professor who teaches these days at the University of California (just sayin'):