May 9, 2007

Desperation Of The Left

Yesterday I linked to an EJ Dionne column which analyzed the loss of Segolene Royal in France as an indicator of an overall problem with the Left among Western nations. Dionne correctly linked the rightward move in France with similar shifts in eastern Europe, Sweden, Germany, and even Britain, where the Tories won in local elections. He advised the international Left that the movement needed to recast its vision rather than just rely on tactical changes in the future.

The Left isn't listening to Dionne -- in fact, they don't even acknowledge a problem exists. In today's Guardian, Jonathan Freedland tells readers to disregard the Royal debacle, because the Left is experiencing a "global awakening":

Europeans speak of the Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-American model as a synonym for turbo-charged, take-no-prisoners capitalism. Yet there are some signs, tentative for now but noticeable all the same, that movement is under way even in the US, inside the belly of the capitalist beast. They come partly in reaction to the ever worsening state of inequality in that country. You can pick your stat, ranging from the claim that just two men - Bill Gates and Warren Buffett - have as much money between them as 30% of the entire American people, to the findings by a federal reserve study that the top 10% of Americans now own 70% of the country's wealth, while the top 5% own more than everyone else put together. ...

America's politicians have begun to notice. The Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards speaks of the "two Americas". Barack Obama tells audiences that not only is caring for the poor an American tradition, but that "those with money, those with influence, those with control over how resources are allocated in our society, are very protective of their interests, and they can rationalise infinitely the reasons why they should have more money and power than anyone else". Most striking was the Democrats' response to Bush's last state of the union address, given by Senator Jim Webb. He invoked the early years of the last century. "America was then, as now, drifting apart along class lines," he said, deploying the c-word that is now all but barred from British political discourse. Recalling the robber barons who were "unapologetically raking in a huge percentage of the national wealth", Webb gave this charged warning from history: "The dispossessed workers at the bottom were threatening revolt."

I hate to break it to Freedland, but the Democrats have used class warfare for decades -- at least since Lyndon Johnson, and more accurately back to FDR. They have long championed the reallocation of wealth by force of government in the guise of entitlement programs. That strategy stopped working for them at the end of the Carter administration, and played a large part of why they lost the Congressional majority in 1994. They didn't win it back on the promise of more entitlement programs, but on the Iraq war and the fact that Republicans couldn't restrain themselves from being just as avaricious as Democrats.

The only Democratic president since Carter made the mistake in his first term of taking this nonsense from Freedland seriously. Bill Clinton, with the campaign song "Dont Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" still ringing in his ears, decided to nationalize health care and put Hillary in charge of it. That lost the Democrats control of Congress, and that lesson still resonates today.

Freedland makes a number of dubious assumptions in this article. First off, he give John Edwards far more weight than he deserves. The Two Americas talk didn't do him any good in 2004, and it's not getting him much farther in 2008, especially after he built the huge mansion in between campaigns. Barack Obama has given some lip service to Edwards' class warfare ideals, but has mostly tried to remain focused on traditional liberal themes rather than the kind of Leftist populism Freedland describes. In one passage, he describes Zbigniew Brzezinski as a "cold war hawk" who is "no leftist", both of which would come as a huge surprise to anyone who recalls the feckless foreign policy of the Carter administration, which Brzezinksi helped author.

It's a classic case of spin, or perhaps an even better example of self-delusion. Socialism and the Left have run Europe for decades, and the Europeans have finally discovered that societies which build nanny states and obsess over multiculturalism wind up like -- well, like France. Balkanization and economic stagnation are the inevitable result of Leftist policies, which is why the Left is in retreat, even as its apologists claim victory from defeat.

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Comments (5)

Posted by Rovin [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 9, 2007 10:56 AM

The Washington Post ran a defensive story put out by her campaign staff that borders on hilarious. The context attempts to distance any similarities to the Clinton and her defeated counterpart in France, Ségolène Royal.

"But as presidential candidate Ségolène Royal was defeated by a conservative man who had been France's chief law enforcement officer, the Clinton campaign was quick to dismiss comparisons between their candidate and her Socialist counterpart across the Atlantic. "Other than the fact that they are both women, they don't have much in common," said Howard Wolfson, Clinton's communications director."

One has to wonder what the story would look like had Clinton's "Socialist counterpart" won a victory in a such a torned up society that the French are struggling with today. How many spin cycle settings are there on Clintons publicity machine? The very liberal and socialist policies that France has embraced under Chirac would have certainly continued under Royal. And the similarities to what Clinton's America would be, show many comparisons to that of Royal and Chirac. Tax-payer funded national health care ring any bells? Royal and Clinton have both embraced the centrist/Third Way policies that are only a form of appeasement that has produced nothing but failures.

"In the 1920s, Ludwig von Mises, considered by many to be the most important and consistent capitalist theorist, attacked the "middle way" of mixing capitalism and socialism. In his book Liberalism Mises wrote, "There is simply no other choice than this: either to abstain from interference in the free play of the market, or to delegate the entire management of production and distribution to the government. Either capitalism or socialism: there exists no middle way."

LINKED and Trackbacked

Posted by Carol_Herman [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 9, 2007 11:23 AM

Professionals. Be they prostitutes or politicians. Are used to "think" while their on their backs.

So, take a pause. Think that the "insiders" use the information they get from "someone else's experiences," to know how to FLEECE THEIR CUSTOMERS, all the better!

Royal thought she'd be a shoo in. She's GORGIOUS. A knockout beauty for a politician. (Would also do fine running a frolicking house.) She has it all, if all it takes is a love affair a camera has with bone structure.

ANd, she lost where her rival was a JEW. In FRANCE! They don't "do" revolutions very often; but when they do it calls for "neck-snapping" attention to be paid.

And, Sarkozy was not ENCUMBERED BY HIS MOUTH! Where, in the USA, politicians are more frightened of miss-peaking, than just about anywhere, or anything else. More horrifying, even, than calling our the wrong woman's name; when you're having an intimate moment with "da wife."

So, if there's a lesson to learn? Don't be afraid to speak up. VOTERS are listening. And, they're not swallowing the pap that's distilled by the media and press.

Such interesting developments should be a joy to behold.

Yet? Something's going on, here; and it's like a whole sliding slope of an iceberg, all under the water. What currents will they yield, ahead?

I think by now the media knows it can't lift Hillary's hips up any higher.

While pelosi, with her own set of hips, is actually the lead horse to follow.

The other day, Drudge put up the headline that Harry Reid turned down his invite to "dine with the Queen." Believe it or not; that's very oddball for DC.

So, yes. There's now two divided camps. Fighting. And, it's possible that Bush, NOT being a condendah, can still hurt the GOP; more than just about anything.

Think of it this way. Every time you hear the word "surge" ... it's not about Iraq, now, at all. But the voters who've fallen off Bush bandwagon.

Do you know why? Angry voters will take it out on somebody! And, you're dreaming if you don't see the target the GOP makes in this department.

You see France as "liberal.' And, that's why there was a change.

But what if the left and right labels are meaningless? The country folk are still angry, ya know? And, you do have problems, if you can't convince the majority of voters that you're not an insane bunch of religious nutters, hell bent on giving prostitutes legitimacy, for instance. While cancelling out other laws that are perfectly legal.

One thing fer sher. Royal did NOT lose because of her looks. Or even her gender. Her party's agenda did her in.

The most amazing stampedes are when voters leave your party in droves. ANd, you don't even hear a single hoof beat disclosing their departure.

Once gone, though, better doors on your barn won't help ya. Or as they say in Yiddish: Zul gurnicht helfen.

Posted by Anthony (Los Angeles) [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 9, 2007 11:34 AM

...the Democrats have used class warfare for decades -- at least since Lyndon Johnson, and more accurately back to FDR.

Even before that. The Democrats have had what we would call a left-wing populist bent since at least the late 19th century. William Jennings Bryan ran for president three times on a class-warfare populist ticket, a movement from which the modern Progressives grew.

And why is it the Left gets to claim the word "progressive?" If anything, they're reactionaries, desperately clinging to outmoded theories that have been shown not to work.

Posted by johnpearson [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 9, 2007 1:14 PM

"You can pick your stat, ranging from the claim that just two men - Bill Gates and Warren Buffett - have as much money between them as 30% of the entire American people, to the findings by a federal reserve study that the top 10% of Americans now own 70% of the country's wealth, while the top 5% own more than everyone else put together."

Got some strange math going on here. Gates and Buffett have about 100 billion between them. That means the other 300 million Americans have an average net worth of $1000? This guy needs to stop hanging out in Amsterdam "coffee shops".
Dude, the average American living in poverty has approx. the same standard of living as a middle class European.

Posted by jaeger51 [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 9, 2007 7:50 PM

If it wasnt for the constant propaganda by the so called straight media, the left in this country would be gone already, or at least reduced to a fringe group with no more real chance of being elected than the KKK or the American Nazi Party. Hard to sell ideas that don't work, if they are described accurately.