Thursday, June 19, 2003

Democrats Pushed to the Margin

This from Porphyrogenitus:

One also has to pity the Democrats who are out there, flailing away, claiming that "this Administration is gutting Social Spending", when it enacted the largest increase in Federal education spending in history and is set to sign into law the biggest increase in Federal social spending since LBJ. They are clearly living in a romantic fantasy, a necessary (for them) delusion, dogmatically clung to like a wino clutching his last bottle, because all they have to offer to their constituencies anymore is fear. From the standpoint of ideas, the Democratic party is now an obsolescent curiosity, while the Republican Party is now, essentially, the party of the JFK tradition (not really the LBJ tradition; the Republican Party has not gone that far in embracing the welfare state). Ted Kennedy is claiming credit for the version that is going to pass, while Tom Daschle and his minions are crying about it. I mean, here's the Washington Times editorializing in favor of a Bill that has been stripped of it's most Libertarianite-Conservative provisions (or had them watered down to the point of cosmetic irrelevance) What does this mean?

Well, one thing it means is that, to a large degree, we can see why Democratic politicians are in near hysteria and trying to whip up the fervor of their base in a frenzied, almost maniacal fashion. What you're seeing there is panic: they're getting pressured and forced to the margins. But the most significant thing is that now America needs a (new) party of limited government. George W. Bush is completing the transformation of the Republican Party into the party of JFK's political legacy (as much as that will cause Democrats to wail and gnash their teeth): tax cuts to incentivize economic growth and prosperity, strong foreign policy and defense, and support for moderate "safety net" social spending programs and some (but not pervasive) regulation, generally activist government (but not Social Democracy).

In my opinion, Libertarianism goes way too far in the other direction all too often. But now that this is the Republican Party, there is room on the political spectrum for a party of limited government. This is not to say that there is room in the American political system for three major parties. Not at all.

And thus the hysteria of the Democrats.