Reinventing Liberal Policy

What we’ve always tried to do here is challenge a failed liberalism. Failed in the sense that it has failed to win. Most, but not all, of the Democratic Party’s failures over the years stem from packaging less than issues, but they have been dead wrong on a few major issues, as has the liberal intelligentsia.

You see, the political power behind liberal ideas is not proportionate to its support. Why is this? It’s because too many people at the bottom of the economic ladder see liberals spending a lot of energy on interest groups that don’t help them, or so they think. In other words, I think I’ve fully come around to Thomas Frank’s position in What’s The Matter With Kansas.

The fracturing of the New Deal coalition occurred long ago. It’s not an error to correlate that fracture with the inclusion of blacks. The self-spiting enablers of the conservatives see that it’s rough all over, and they aren’t getting any help so why should anyone else? I’ll vote for people who stand up for my church or what property rights I do have.

It’s hard for educated, bookish people to fathom, but the truth is, fancy ideas on both sides of the spectrum will never carry the day–not in a democracy.

In order to realign that political power–the sheer number of people suffering economically–with the majority views requires something major that helps everyone. For a long time, I’ve felt that that should be universal health care.

It would let people work more freely, and let employers off the hook for the responsibility. It would probably also cost a lot less and let employers raise wages. People would see that government can work, and can work for everyone. As the old lady said, don’t let the government meddle with my Medicare.

Medicare is extremely popular and extremely efficient. It would restore the concept of government as a possibility in the minds of many kitchen table voters.

And getting those voters to vote in their own interest again is what it will take for another true realignment.

Because Hillary Clinton has now failed twice to bring us universal health care, Obama must reengineer his faulty health care plan to be truly universal, with subsidies for the poor.

Conservatism is like a cancer. You can cut out the big tumors, like the presidency, or even the control of congress, but as long as the small cells fester throughout the body, the tumors will reappear. It is often only when the body is dying does it accept radical enough treatment to eliminate the smaller cancers.

That means we have to put abortions, identity politics, gay marriage, and even some environmental issues to the side for a moment. If we don’t, we will never prevail on those issues, because the cancer will still exist, and will rise up to stop those issues from progressing again.

But it also means the Republicans must put tax cuts and frivolous wars on the side as well.

All of this may sound a little radical at this point, but if you look at what the economy is about to deliver to us, I have a feeling this won’t sound so strange in 2009.