Two stickball teams show up to the same alley every day to play a game. Just about every day the red team beats the blue team by a couple of points. The red team’s groupies love it and are triumphalist most of the time. But every once in a while, the blue team kicks the red team’s ass by about 25 runs, just often enough to keep the blue teams groupies from losing interest in the game and/or rioting.
Despite their losing record, the blue players seem to be getting just as much free beer from the deli at the front of the alley as the red team.
This, of course, is a child of a Brooklyn father’s parable about the current political system.
I do believe there are a few Democrats that actually are motivated by catering to the middle class. I even believe there are a few that are motivated by taking care of the poor. But I am increasingly of the opinion that these are just tokens produced by our system which is set up for different results.
Unlike the Naderite/FireDogLake crowd, I know very well that there is a real difference between the parties. Democrats really are more liberal on social issues–or, at least they are unconcerned with kowtowing to the Evangelical Right enough to consider technocratic solutions to establishment versions of social issues. So, for example, DADT is repealed to let the military recruit more people. But gay marriage is a wedge issue that few Democrats will really get themselves dirty with. Not, anyway, enough to get in front on the issue.
The Democrats also are somewhat more liberal on some economic issues. Just a few. They are somewhat more likely to support progressive taxation. But they are not stalwarts on this issue.
Again and again, though, with other issues, they let the red team make the rules. It is Beltway dogma that every 5 years there is something that needs to be “fixed” with Social Security. People are always paying too much in taxes, even if the blue team wants to give more tax cuts to the middle class.
And the leadership of both parties seems to simply be unconcerned with the economic wasteland this country is becoming due to a fundamentalist faith in free trade that has been shown again and again in history to destroy strategically important indigenous industries.
The blue team seems to make their fans believe things they don’t seem interested in doing in practice. They don’t seem interested in demilitarizing the world. They don’t seem interested in solving our dependence on oil, foreign or domestic.
No, seems like the blue team is mostly just interested in finding new and more embarrassing ways to jerk themselves off to the glory of being “bipartisan” and “compromising” (read: surrendering).
Maybe the red team’s fans are really getting to them. Maybe the blue team just likes all the free beer they get and don’t want to rock the boat.