A Democratic triumph?

By John Frary | Jul 21, 2010

Mr. Peter Beinart, a professional, habitual and incurable liberal Democrat, admits that his party is going to take a licking in November, but dismisses mid-term elections as unimportant. He points out that "with the stimulus bill and health-care reform now law, and serious financial regulation [now passing the Senate], Democrats are witnessing the greatest run of policy success of my lifetime."

Success? Yes, but so far only in the tight little world of the political professional. Are these successes for the nation or just for one political party? There are millions of people out of work who have yet to experience any stimulus. There is no consensus among economists about the success or failure of the those measures, and the dividing line is not strictly between conservative-leaning and liberal-leaning economists.

Obamacare is at present a towering pile of paper whose contents and consequences are unknown to mortal man. I foresee multiple disasters. Others foresee a tsunami of benefits and blessings.. Events alone will resolve the issue. A conclusive evaluation is not possible at this point.

And let's remember the Iron Law of Unintended Consequences. No party or president can evade it. There are always consequences which are not intended and can't be foreseen, albeit there's no rule that says they can't sometimes be beneficial.

Consider, you have a pack of congresscritters who lack experience or education in the issues they confront concocting huge, sloppy laws they have not read that affect a $14 trillion economy operated by millions of businesses and 300 million individuals who have their own agendas. Anyone who seriously believes that the consequences of this legislation are foreseeable should consider emigrating to Cloud Cuckoo Land. He, or she, is not meant for the Real World.

Beinart lives in the cramped and closed-off world of partisan politics. It's real enough in its way, and he is not the sole inhabitant. There are plenty of Republicans in this world as well. I admit I've paid visits there myself from time to time. In this world policy success is measured only by legislative victories for "our side."

Beinart must have been born after Johnson's "Great Society" programs were enacted. These looked like huge policy successes at the time and some of them may be considered successful, but many utterly failed to achieve their ends. A large part of the monstrous national debt and ever-growing deficits can be traced to its massive entitlement expansion.. Even in the narrow world of partisan politics this proved a dubious success. SinceJohnson's term the Republicans have won seven presidential races, the Democrats four.

There remains one clear success in this cramped world of Democratic politics that Beinart can take satisfaction in. Johnson's programs set in train a huge expansion in the number of government employees and welfare dependents. These people today constitute the solid base of the Democratic Party.

They like to pretend that they are still the party of the "little guy," but electoral statistics show that they are primarily the party of government. The stimulus package and the health-care bill both promise to expand its base. If they can train the middle class in the habits of dependency by the health-care bill, the last barrier to the welfare state will collapse and it's full speed ahead to a lock on the electorate.

The Democratic Party will triumph as America declines.

Professor John Frary of Farmington is a former U.S. congressional candidate and retired history professor, a board member of Maine Taxpayers United and an associate editor of the International Military Encyclopedia. He can be reached at: jfrary8070@aol.com.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.