Thursday, August 25, 2005
The Real Reason for the Lack of Ideas in Liberalism
Stein [the Democratic strategist overseeing the effort] and his associates are fairly hard-headed in their assessment of the reasons behind the failure of Democrats and liberals to develop attractive ideas and proposals. Liberal groups, they say correctly, are organized mainly to protect an agenda that was enacted by Democratic majorities stretching back to the 1930s. They might have added that they are organized also around a few important Supreme Court decisions, primarily dealing with abortion and affirmative action. In any case, such a posture has made them reactive and reactionary rather than forward looking. As a consequence, they have not adjusted to new political and economic circumstances. This is, as noted, correct as far as it goes, except that it does not go very far in diagnosing what ails the liberals. They should remember, as many Americans do, that liberals had an opportunity to enact their agenda in the 1960s and 1970s, and almost wrecked the nation in the process. It was conservatives and Republicans who rescued the economy, won the Cold War, and saved the cities from crime, stagnation, and welfarism.