Friday, February 10, 2006

What Makes Someone a "Democrat"? or....with Democrats Like These, Who Needs Republicans ?

I was just reading the NYT online when I came across this article referring to Michael Bloomberg as a "democrat" in Republican clothing. While I've given up being conned by any notion that either of the bourgeois political parties actually represents the interests of the working class, it does seem to me that this article provides us with a good way to talk about what the Democrats once were and what they've become. The issues that the author of the Bloomberg article describes that make Bloomie a "Democrat" are gun control, stem cell research, more generous public school funding than George Pataki, and endorsing Democrat in a state senate race. With the exception of school funding, these issues are mighty particular - and cultural ones - on which to define party lines. Even in the age of Jackson, the one of the primary constituencies of the Democratic party was white organized labor. Since the 1930s rise of the CIO and the New Deal, you can add Black urban workers to that constituency, and after 1964, you can add African Americans more generally.
Bloomberg's behavior towards municipal and other workers marks him as an arch-conservative plutocrat, and in my opinion, that's more important than Stem Cells as a dividing line. If being a democrat only means opposing the evangelical right wing (stem cells), then being a Democrat today means being slightly to the right of those termed "Rockefeller Republicans."


Anonymous said...

But we need Republicans, like Ann Coulter for instance:

"I think our motto should be, post-9/11, raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences."

When asked to describe the most difficult moral decision she'd made during her career, Coutler responded "There was one time when I had a shot at Clinton."

Campus Progress

Anonymous said...

Letter to the American Left by Bernard Henri Levy (via DKos)

"Nothing made a more lasting impression during my journey through America than the semi-comatose state in which I found the American left....

...supporters of Senator Hillary Clinton who, when I questioned them on how exactly they planned to wage the battle of ideas, casually replied they had to win the battle of money first, and who, when I persisted in asking what the money was meant for, what projects it would fuel, responded like fundraising automatons gone mad: "to raise more money"

Anonymous said...

caliberal You bet your sweet ass we fight at DKos:

"There is one thing that stands out for me, in the media and within the ranks of leadership there are stirrings of talk of the liberal base of the party. We aren't often talked of in gracious terms or polite terms or welcoming terms but we, as true liberals, are being talked about as a force to be reckoned with. I find that extremely encouraging. We are a thorn in their sides which, to my mind's eye, means we are doing our jobs.

The things that really matter in life are often the things we have to fight the hardest for. That's as true today as it has always been. I'm pissed off as Hell with this party of ours, I want it to be so much more, so much better, I want it to remember what its values and principles are so we can all hold our heads up high because we are Democrats, dammit, we are proud Democrats. I want to feel that deep inside my soul once again."