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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Coming Crackup of the Democratic Party?

      The Coming Crackup of the Democratic Party?

No, I haven’t been drinking and as far as I can tell, I haven’t lost my mind (perhaps I’m not a good judge of that).  Yes, I know the Democrats are just coming off a huge election victory.  Nevertheless, I believe the Democratic Party is as unstable as Ozone.  You remember high school chemistry, don’t you?  Oxygen (O2) is stable, but Ozone (O3) is unstable and tends to break down into Oxygen. 

The Democratic Party is constructed differently than the Republican Party.  It is a party of special interest coalitions—unions, blacks, Hispanics, homosexuals, prairie radicals (the anti-war crowd), feminists, enviro-crazies, and assorted die-hard Democrats that haven’t noticed that their party is no longer the party of Harry Truman.  Their route to political success is satisfying the gimmie, gimmie, gimmie demands of these often conflicting constituencies.

The Republican Party, on the other hand, is focused on the individual and has a common philosophy of limited government, a strong national defense, maximum individual freedom, and a moral America.  (No, I’m not saying that all Democrats are immoral—but they do have a different standard of morals from the Ten Commandments.)  Yes, there are groups in the GOP who are more interested in one aspect of this vision than the other parts, but when led by a true conservative, they not only rally behind that individual, but work in a semblance of harmony together as they did when Ronald Reagan was President.

Accordingly, Ronald Reagan ran as a conservative and governed as a conservative and won twice with overwhelming majorities.  This is the Republican Party’s formula for victory and it works because it appeals to a majority of Americans, regardless of their race, education, financial status, age, or other unimportant characteristics.  It’s about a common philosophy, not about what one group or another can get out of government.  Conservatives believe in American exceptionalism and preserving the nation as the beacon of freedom and the land of opportunity.  It is an inherently stable political formula.

The truth is that the Democrats have always had trouble holding together their coalitions.  In 1948, George McGovern bolted the Democratic Party to work for and vote for Norman Thomas who ran for President on the Socialist Party ticket.  By the way, Thomas dissolved the Socialist Party after he recognized that all the planks of his Socialist platform had been adopted by the Democratic Party.  In fact, he said, "The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism, but under the name of liberalism, they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without ever knowing how it happened."  In this one case, I have to agree with Norman Thomas, but I’m getting off the topic.

In 1948, the Roosevelt coalition not only split to the left with George McGovern, but it also broke off to the right with Strom Thurmond heading up the Dixicrat Party ticket.  In 1968, the Democratic Party imploded with the anti-war prairie radicals attacking the Democratic President, Lyndon Johnson.

OK, so that’s old history.  What does it have to do with today?  Here’s the problem with being a far-left candidate for President supported by a patchwork quilt of weirdos and lefties:  You have to run to the right promising tax cuts, a strong national defense and strong support for the Second Amendment to win the election.  However, if you don’t govern far to the left, your coalition not only breaks up, it turns on you.  The far-left will tolerate running to the right and advocating tax cuts and a strong national defense in order to get their guy elected, but they won’t tolerate for a minute his failing to fulfill every wild, left-wing wish on their list.

If Obama goes far-left, he will run into opposition from within his own party (the so-called “blue dog” Democrats) and he will lose millions of Americans who will conclude they have been duped.  However, if he doesn’t govern far-left, his various special interest groups will turn on him.  What a pickle! 

If Obama doesn’t immediately pull out of Iraq—Whammo!  He will get pounded by the far-left.  If he does pull out of Iraq and undercut our victory there, he will lose the confidence of the majority of the American people.

If he doesn’t immediately close down Guantanamo—Whammo!  He will get slammed by the left!  If he does shut “Gitmo” down and terrorists are set free, he will get slammed by the American people.
If he doesn’t silence talk radio by re-imposing the inappropriately called “Fairness Doctrine,” he will get slammed again.  If he does shut down talk radio, he will lose more support.

If he doesn’t sign anti-gun legislation into law, he will be condemned by the left.  If he does sign anti-gun rights legislation, he will lose a critical element of his die-hard Democrat base.

If the economic plight of minorities doesn’t quickly improve under President Obama, he’ll be labeled a turncoat and worse.  If the general economy slides into a deep recession or a depression, he will own it.  This is not 1932.  The guy in office will carry the blame.

If he doesn’t sign protectionist legislation the unions want, they will abandon him.  If he does sign protectionist legislation similar to the disastrous Smoot-Hawley bill signed by Hoover, he will send the nation into a depression.

Here’s another small observation.  Big victories like Johnson in 1964 and Nixon in 1972 typically lead to overreaching and thus to political disaster.  Can a Chicago machine politician really run a scandal free administration?  Not likely.

For these reasons and others, I think the Obama Administration has big problems ahead.  Yes, they will tax and tax and spend and spend, but that will only drive the economy downward and alienate more of the folks who voted for him.  Yes, the Dems will probably pass some form of socialized medicine.  But there will be a heavy price to pay in four years, maybe even in two years.  In fact, don’t be surprised if the GOP does well in Virginia’s 2009 off-year election.

The Republicans may have their problems, but at least they have shining stars on the horizon who have a coherent conservative philosophy.  These stars include Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, among others. 

It will certainly be interesting to watch.  Getting elected President and being adored by the mainstream media is the easy part.  Now comes the hard part—governing.  President-elect Obama and all elected officials certainly need and deserve our prayers.

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