August 12, 2016

Democrats think: "Regardless of how poorly Democrats perform on inequality matters, they will never be as awful as those crazy Republicans."

But, according to Thomas Frank in "Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?":
People do find other places to go, of course — they stay home, they join the Tea Party, whatever. But my purpose here is to scrutinize the tacit Democratic boast about always being better than those crazy Republicans. In truth, what Bill Clinton accomplished were things that no Republican could have done....

That a Democrat might be the one to pick apart the safety net is a violation of this basic brand identity, but by the very structure of the system it is extremely difficult to hold the party accountable for such a deed. This, in turn, is why only a Democrat was able to do that job and get away with it. Only a Democrat was capable of getting bank deregulation passed; only a Democrat could have rammed NAFTA through Congress; and only a Democrat would be capable of privatizing Social Security, as George W. Bush found out in 2005....

To judge by what he actually accomplished, Bill Clinton was not the lesser of two evils, as people on the left always say about Democrats at election time; he was the greater of the two. What he did as president was beyond the reach of even the most diabolical Republican....
Those crazy Republicans.... This is another post that gets my tag: the mental illness meme. Watch out for that crazy guy over there. Watch out for who's getting called crazy.

31 comments:

readering said...

I think Frank was being sarcastic.

The Cracker Emcee said...

OTOH, only a Republican could have enacted the liberal policies that Nixon did. Imagine a liberal, hating Nixon for four decades only to end up voting for a far more corrupt, far more incompetent version of him. Time the Avenger.

Achilles said...

Which party was the last party, while controlling the house, senate, and presidency to pass a new entitlement?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Yeah, but, you know, GWB pushed & passed Medicare part D, so the inverse works, too.

n.n said...

Democrats' [class] diversity policies precede them.

YoungHegelian said...

You want to greatly reduce inequality? Raze those bi-coastal metropolises to the ground! That's where the greatest income inequalities are.

And those bi-coastal metropolises? Solidly Democratic.

I really think that income inequality (as opposed to just poverty -- not a lot of inequality in West Virginia hollers -- everyone's poor!) is very much a feature of the nature of urban life rather than a function of a national political system. Even in the Soviet Union the classic cities in the west (Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev) were wealthier than the folks in the outback.

Unknown said...

Whaaaat? Conservatives have no sense of humor?

tim maguire said...

Surprisingly inciteful. Democrats are far worse than Republicans for the simple reason that they can be. They are constrained by none of the checks and balances that keep the Republicans from doing anyhing dramatic.

Clayton Hennesey said...

We medicalize your errors, Comrade, when we no longer have the means to repudiate them intellectually or when we no longer have to.

Bruce Hayden said...

The funny thing about the Dems and inequality is that they are the party of big govt, and big govt is one of the biggest causes of inequality. What metro area has had the biggest growth during the last 8 years of Obama? DC, of course. A lot of people making a lot of money, some as govt employees, but many more probably leeching off the largess being spooned out by the Administration. If you get tight enough with Dem politicians, and help them financially (e.g. In raising campaign contributions, etc), they give you big govt contracts. Who got all those Green Energy loan guarantees? Dem contributors and family members. But how much of that trickled out into the poor Black areas of DC? Not much. Much of the city is still the low income hell hole it has long been. It isn't just DC though. The middle class has fled Dem run city after Dem run big city. Detroit. Baltimore. Oakland. Etc. Businesses wont move in, but are fleeing along with the middle class, leaving far mor inequality than most of the rest of the country because they are more likely these days to get robbed or burned out than to find decent employees. Part of the problem is that the Dems have maintained power in these cities for many decades, often more than a half century, by using govt patronage and jobs as payment for votes. But the govt jobs that for generations helped many minorities (esp Blacks) into the middle class are disappearing, along with the businesses that have fled, thanks to the Dem politicians trading unfulfillable pension promises for votes. And, then to cap it off, the Dems have enabled the BLM movement that essentially resulted in more looting and burning of the remaining businesses in their communities. What do they have left? Welfare, a lot of kids without fathers failing to graduate from high school, violence and death. Thank you, Democrats.

Crazy Jane said...

The damaging thing about current talk of inequality is the assumption that the poor are so helpless that that they are incapable of improving their situation without the blandishments of government. JD Vance's new book, "HIllbilly Elegy," speaks movingly of his painful childhood in a poor and dysfunctional family and the few people and institutions (chiefly the Marine Corps) that
helped him build a different future for himself. His insights seem more informed than those of government policy experts because they are more personal. Worth a read.

Unknown said...

A lot of people making a lot of money, some as govt employees, but many more probably leeching off the largess being spooned out by the Administration.

But Bruce, (to an extent) you repeat yourself. Maybe shifts, and the House of Cards may not stand, but the government is certainly growing, and who do you think is getting those jobs?

Writ Small said...

This suggests a small reason to be optimistic about a Hillary win. If the "only Nixon can go to China" conservative successes of the Newt / Clinton 1990's era can be repeated, the country could start to crawl out of the rotten Obama economic growth years.

There are only two problems. One, Republicans must control Congress for this to happen. If Trump loses in a landslide and the House and Senate go blue, too, we will get a repeat of the early Obama years instead. Two, there must be political pressure from the conservative side to push Hillary. In the 1990's, Reaganism still reigned supreme, and so Newt was able to mobilize popular support. Remember when Clinton declared "the era of big government is over?" Pushing the new president Clinton in the right direction will require Republicans making the conservative case to everyone and not just talking and fighting among themselves.

Unknown said...

Writ, Hillary Clinton's election would mean the end of America as a free country. It really won't matter anymore. Enjoy it, should it come about.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

Redistributive change without robust abortion rites and Posterity prevention (e.g. sexual revolution) policies produces trickle-up poverty. Democrats' [class] diversity schemes (i.e. "skin-color" oriented discrimination) exacerbates the decay and accelerates progressive corruption.

That said, the use of public or private smoothing functions only work in the short term with a focus on rehabilitation and revitalization. The arbitrary, unilateral increase of "minimum wage" to compensate for progressive debt acts to further devalue capital and labor. As for Obamacare, the health penalty tax has been insufficient to compensate for the cost of "preexisting" conditions, illegal immigration, excessive immigration, refugee crises, transgender/crossover treatments (e.g. corruption of healthy tissue), and other shared costs.

Sebastian said...

@readering: "I think Frank was being sarcastic." Hey, but I didn't hear it that way.

NAFTA, welfare reform = more than diabolical: sounds like a liberal Dem being dead serious . . .

Mountain Maven said...

The gop Congress did all that and Clinton claimed credit

readering said...

Sebastian. I meant the crazy republicans line. He serious about the policy criticisms. But as Mountain Maven notes, it was a combo of Clinton and gop Congress for welfare reform (not Nafta--Democratic Congress and bipartisan vote).

Bruce Hayden said...

@unknown - I would predict that at least majority, and probably many more, of those benefitting from the growth of the federal govt in DC are Democrats. Sure, at one time, the upper middle class was solidly Republican. But that hasn't been the case in years. The Dem party has the very rich and the poor, with the middle tending Republican. But govt employees, in particular, tend to be Democrats, probably because Dems push for larger govt, and larger govt means more and better paid govt employees.

One place this doesn't completely hold up is with lobbyists, because their access tends to strongly correlate with their party affiliation. DeLay made that explicit, and has been the case since. Apparently, lobbyists often wear tokens of their party affiliation, such as cuff links or ties. But, I expect that even there, a lot of the Republican lobbyists are Never Trumpers.

HT said...

He's right. And this is common and yet not so common knowledge.

But add this:

only Democrats are privatizing public schools.

James Pawlak said...

What is the unbiased opinion about Hillary Clinton's symptoms of neurological damange?

readering said...

The neurological damage canard is one reason Clinton won't duck debates with the Donald (not that she ever would anyway). On stage she'll put the conspiracy theory to bed (to be replaced of course with others).

Mike said...

The neurological damage canard is one reason Clinton won't duck debates with the Donald (not that she ever would anyway). On stage she'll put the conspiracy theory to bed (to be replaced of course with others).

What?

I don't know about any conspiracy theory, but I do know Bill Clinton claimed Hillary had a small stroke, there are at least two falls in the last few years and those special corrective goggles she wore to the Benghazi hearings were a big clue. Is a theory that weaves those facts into a believable narrative necessarily a conspiracy theory just because it's about the most secretive weirdo to ever run for president?

readering said...

Mike, don't try to take Nixon's claim to fame away from him.

Unknown said...

Readering, why do you fight the obvious so hard? Just for the love of the fight? Or because if she were really disabled or incapacitated, as I believe she may be and to some degree certainly is, it would be hard for you to vote for her or expect others to vote for her?

readering said...

Between those choices, can't decide. Short circuit?

Unknown said...

Why do you think a non-answer is an answer? What if she beats Trump, and you've had your fun and rag on your opponents, and then on inauguration day she has a stroke or something right there on the podium? Or a month in at the first crisis?

It's a serious question and you don't want to deal with it because you're afraid. I don't blame you for being a coward, but it is cowardice on your part, and on the parts of those who will not consider the question.

readering said...

I prefer Kaine to Clinton. But don't expect to see him take over because I believe Clinton's eminent doctors over the Drudge-followers.

Andrew Pardue said...

This is the best argument for voting Trump since most of the DC establishment would be willing accomplices of Hillary where as they would fight Trump every inch of the way.

Unknown said...

Would you please name the eminent doctors? I heard one suggestion that the eminent doctor who signed off on Hillary's health had not actually treated her but relied upon the representations of others.

Just look at her, man, she's a walking corpse!

As for Kaine, I suppose that's honest of you, but I certainly don't think that he's been suitably vetted and proofed on that basis.