Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

March 7, 2014

Dems now the guardians of status quo

A lot of people keep waiting for the Democratic Party to jump into the deep end. Pew Research Center pollster Andrew Kohut produced the latest installment in this vein with a Washington Post essay, “Are the Democrats Getting Too Liberal?”

I get it. Republicans have gone mad, so by some assumed but never fully articulated law of physics, Democrats must be primed to let their freak flag fly, too. Newtonian politics.

Democrats are unquestionably more liberal on gay rights and marijuana than they used to be. Who isn’t? Current congressional Democratic leaders Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are more liberal than such predecessors as Senator Robert Byrd and House Speaker Tip O’Neill. President Barack Obama is more liberal (OK, barely) than President Bill Clinton. But we are still a long way from the Weather Underground.

Kohut raised the specter of liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren or, implausibly, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio taking the reins of the party. Meanwhile, a Pew poll released this week finds liberal Democrats “are especially likely to associate positive traits with Hillary Clinton,” which suggests something other than fertile terrain for radicalism.

There is ample evidence the Democratic Party is rusty, uninventive and stuck on reflexive policy positions — such as minimum wage increases — that seem weak in the face of economic conditions that are clobbering the working class, draining the middle class and, as it happens, vastly enriching the rival party’s donor base. Still, there is no evidence Democrats are — or are about to become — ideologically unhinged.

There are reasons for that beyond searing institutional memories of the 1968 Democratic National Convention or the 1984 presidential campaign. Perhaps most important is that the Democratic donor base has something very much in common with the Republican donor base: wealth. And one remarkably common trait among those who have prospered under present conditions is an abiding belief in the virtues of the status quo. (Conservative billionaires yearning for freedom from taxes and regulation might be described as seeking a status quo plus.)

Text Only
Opinion
  • Close the tax loophole that sends US corporations overseas Since we last overhauled our federal tax code, in 1986, countries around the world have lowered their tax rates, leaving the United States with the highest corporate tax rate in the developed word. At the same time, the system has become full of inef

    July 29, 2014

  • Israel and the U.S.: Whose survival instinct is stronger? There’s something darkly coincidental in the fact that the latest weapon to be deployed against the survival instinct of both Israel and the United States is an alleged “heartlessness” when it comes to children. The people of Israel are castigated in

    July 29, 2014

  • College cost isn't big problem for poor students To judge by this summer’s banner policy proposals, the most important question for higher-education reform right now is giving students easier access to loans. But evidence from Canada suggests those changes won’t address the greater need: Getting mo

    July 29, 2014

  • Ducks, geese a blessing I would like to respond to the “Geese and ducks causing problems in Veterans Park” article that was published in the Mt. Vernon Register-News on July 16, 2014. I must share that I do understand that at times there have been a great number of the Cana

    July 29, 2014

  • Money not always the answer I really have to stop and think sometimes. I challenge my thought processes when I write these columns. I am having a hard time with this one. It appears to me that every time a governmental agency or any of the entities that spend other people’s mon

    July 29, 2014

  • Teachers unions' destructive behavior You can always count on the national teachers unions to behave badly at their annual conventions, and they certainly didn’t let us down this month. In doing so, however, they let down many of their members, along with students who are working hard to

    July 26, 2014

  • Workers of the world, curb your ambitions A group of Democrats introduced legislation this week to protect low-paid shift workers from last-minute changes in their schedules. The idea fits into an intriguing category of economic activism: Not trying to lift low-paid workers out of poverty, n

    July 26, 2014

  • State of the reunion ‘Katy! It’s been so long! How’ve you been?”My God, she’s gained so much weight I didn’t recognize her. It’s a good thing we’re all wearing nametags. I thought it was some distant cousin past due with triplets.“Bob! Long time, no see.”No hair, either.

    July 26, 2014

  • Fear indifference ‘Perhaps the Catholic church would volunteer to pony up some cash for the illegals’ care then? Hmm?”“Pope should stay out of it. Matter of civil laws, not church laws.”“Thinking that the pope should want the illegals to go to Argentina to get better

    July 25, 2014

  • A push for felon voting rights If advocates have their way, voting rights could be a new reality for the nation’s incarcerated.Full voting rights for felons is as hot a topic in Washington as voting rights in reverse pushed by voter-ID-tickled Republicans. But with new legislation

    July 25, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks