Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Democratic Electoral Revolution?

Markos Moulitsas, of Daily Kos fame, has a new essay up at Newsweek, "We Say We Want A Revolution":
On Nov. 4, Barack Obama will be elected as the next president of the United States. The real excitement won't come from watching that foregone conclusion come to pass. No, the big question is, will Democrats nationwide simply "win" the night—or will they deliver an electoral drubbing so thorough that it signals the utter rejection of conservative ideology and kills the notion that America is a "center-right" country?
The theme of the essay is a kinder, gentler version of a series of Kos posts with the recurring message of "Break Their Backs," which includes this menacing tone:
This isn't about winning. It's about destroying the conservative movement, and their dangerous incompetence has given us an historic opportunity to deliver a killing blow.
Destroying? Killing?

This man's not nice, which is why I'm glad that this year - in the event of an Obama election - will represent a temporary diversion from the longer-term foundations of the nation as the very center-right polity that Moultisas so detests.

Notice how Kos saves his demonizing language for the mouth-foaming partisans at his blog (not Newsweek readers). There's good reason for that: Most Americans do not abide by the kind of rank polarization and demonization that is standard fare among the far left-wing netroots.

Indeed, in the event of an Obama presidency, the Democrats will need to find a way to suppress the most radical elements of their coalition, so as not to alienate the broader electorate, which is generally conservative,
as Jon Meacham explains:

It is easy—for some, even tempting—to detect the dawn of a new progressive era in the autumn of Barack Obama's campaign for the presidency....

But history, as John Adams once said of facts, is a stubborn thing, and it tells us that Democratic presidents from FDR to JFK to LBJ to Carter to Clinton usually wind up moving farther right than they thought they ever would, or they pay for their continued liberalism at the polls. Should Obama win, he will have to govern a nation that is more instinctively conservative than it is liberal—a perennial reality that past Democratic presidents have ignored at their peril. A party founded by Andrew Jackson on the principle that "the majority is to govern" has long found itself flummoxed by the failure of that majority to see the virtues of the Democrats and the vices of the Republicans.

The pattern has deep roots. FDR had a longish run (from 1933 to 1937), but he lost significant ground in the 1938 midterm elections and again in the largely forgotten wartime midterms of 1942. After he defeated Barry Goldwater in 1964, LBJ had only two years of great success (Ronald Reagan won the California governorship in 1966) before Vietnam, and the white backlash helped elect Richard Nixon in 1968. Jimmy Carter lasted only a term, and Bill Clinton's Democrats were crushed in the 1994 elections. The subsequent success of his presidency had as much to do with reforming welfare and managing the prosperity of the technology boom as it did with advancing traditional Democratic causes.

Republican presidents, too, are frequently pulled from the right to the center....

So are we a centrist country, or a right-of-center one? I think the latter, because the mean to which most Americans revert tends to be more conservative than liberal. According to the NEWSWEEK Poll, nearly twice as many people call themselves conservatives as liberals (40 percent to 20 percent), and Republicans have dominated presidential politics—in many ways the most personal, visceral vote we cast—for 40 years. Since 1968, Democrats have won only three of 10 general elections (1976, 1992 and 1996), and in those years they were led by Southern Baptist nominees who ran away from the liberal label. "Is this a center-right country? Yes, compared to Europe or Canada it's obviously much more conservative," says Adrian Wooldridge, coauthor of "The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America" and Washington bureau chief of the London-based Economist. "There's a much higher tolerance for inequality, much greater cultural conservatism, a higher incarceration rate, legalized handguns and greater distrust of the state."

This "tolerance for inequality" and distrust of the state" - as well as all the other elements of American conservatism - are exactly the foundations of American society that the Kos revolution hopes to overturn. In foreign affairs, the Kosocrats seek the destruction of Israel and Kos himself said he wanted to see American private contractors in Iraq dead and on the cover of every newspaper in the country.

I'm convinced that Kos and his netroots-brethren are radically out of the mainstream of American society.

More importantly, I'm convinced that Barack Obama - who has welcomed the support and has even
openly cooperated with Daily Kos - is also well outside the mainstream of the American political culture, and an Obama administration will push an extreme-liberal policy agenda of tax hikes, spending windfalls, economic stimulus, spread-the-wealth redistributionism, universal health care, infrastructure investment, fairness doctrine, global warming legislation, restrictions on gun rights, abortion on demand, embryonic stem cells, foreign importation of prescription drugs, union card-check voting, trade protectionism, precipitous Iraq withdrawal, ban on domestic wiretapping, opposition to mandatory prison sentences for sex offenders, sex-education for kindergartners, race-based affirmative action, expanded welfare entitlements, radical education pedagogy, and enemy appeasement diplomacy with no preconditions (and more).

This is a policy agenda not of the America I know, and come the revolution, I'll be relentlessly fighting in resistance to the
Kospierre-Obama program of domestic and internationalism radical-leftism.