January 05, 2005

Damn Yankees

Browsing around over at the 2 Blowhards, I came across a link to this article by Micheal Lind in the American Prospect. (You may remember that Lind made a media splash as a supposed conservative who "outed" the intellecual bankruptcy of the Right and, for a while, became the darling of the Left. Jonah, for what it's worth, can't stand him. Nonetheless, it's interesting to read what he has to say about the Left's problems.)

Lind's thesis is that political parties in the United States that have become too enamoured of and enslaved by the Puritan-based New England political culture - reformism, intellectual elitism and anti-militarism - have a bad habit of fading into oblivion and goes on to suggest that if the Donks don't break away from this trap soon, they'll be next.

Political history is much more Steve-O's line of country than mine, and while I believe there's a great deal to what the article says, I'd love to get Steve's thoughts on Lind's historical analysis.

Lind goes on to say that talking down to the rest of the country or engaging in faux-populism (both of which tactics were tried by the Kerry Campaign) simply isn't going to work and that the only way for the Donk Blue-Noses to save themselves is to identify and ally themselves with a more moderate political faction, most favorably one based in the Midwest.

While I think Lind's general strategic sense is probably right, his exploration of the details reveals that he really doesn't get it yet and that his solution may, in fact, be impossible. For example, he talks about a Democratic embrace of the "ownership society" concept (which he inexplicably says the Republicans have "co-opted") but in the very next breath, as it were, says the Donks should continue to push for a system of progressive taxation. Uh, Michael - you try handing people a porfolio and a mortgage and then offering to raise their taxes and see how many votes you pull in. My guess is not many.

UPDATE: Jim Geraghty points out some potential electoral problems with Lind's strategy.

Posted by Robert at January 5, 2005 08:58 AM
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