"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Friday, January 07, 2005

Advice for Democrats

Peggy Noonan has an excellent article in yesterday's Opinion Journal on what she thinks the Democrats must do to regain majority-party status. Her suggestion, which I am quite certain will be ignored, is that the Democrats should move to the right of the Republicans on selected issues such as local property taxes, public tobacco use, homeland security, and immigration. I am convinced that she is right, and have said so in the past on this site and in the American Spectator and elsewhere.

The Republicans have made themselves the party of the middle classes, and the Democrats have allowed their party to split into two camps of the privileged and the underdogs. This process has been in place since the 1968 presidential campaign and has only been overcome when the Republicans have stumbled, which they have obligingly done on occasion. The Democrats are in a terribly precarious position today because of the potential loss of support among their base if they should try to pursue a more middle-class appeal. I believe, however, with Peggy Noonan, that such a strategy is their only hope for improvement.

I further believe that a significant portion of the middle class would happily vote for any Democrat who could credibly run as a classical Christian humanist liberal, one who seeks to maximize both order and liberty, with an emphasis on creating an economically and socially dynamic "opportunity society."

Unfortunately, there seems to be very few people in the Democrat Party who would be both inclined to do so and have a history that would make such an approach believable. Hence, change within the party is going to have to come from the ground up, and the Democrats' fortunes may wane further before they wax again, if ever.

1 comment:

Jay D. Homnick said...

It's still before midday, so reading this makes me a morning Noonanite.

Noonan is an amazing writer, of course, although like many such, she flattens her talent in writing columns, presumably in the belief that her style might eclipse her substance. Ask the great Hunter Baker if I do that and he will laugh, saying 'Certainly not'. Then ask him whether my substance gets obscured as a result and he will say... actually, I'm not sure just what he will say. Here, I'll turn around and promise not to eavesdrop: now ask him.

Back to Noonan. Very much recommended to read What I Saw At The Revolution, her account of her days as a Reagan speechwriter. Also her bio of Reagan, done more recently.

Perhaps her most memorable idea in the realm of political analysis is the one that cannot be quoted directly in a column. It is her idea (in her second book, name eluding me this moment) that the Democratic Party, or the modern liberal in general, believes that the highest political value is the "right to f***".

Enough for now. Perhaps more later.