“Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.” Thomas Jefferson in a letter to his nephew Peter Carr, August 10, 1787.
The Democrats gathering in Charlotte this week are united behind President Obama but more than a little nervous about their November prospects. The thrill of 2008 is gone, replaced by an almost grim determination. The party of hope and change has become the party of grind-it-out, slug-it-out, and hope to win.
This isn't the way it was supposed to be. The Obama Presidency was going to usher in a new era of long-term Democratic dominance, and the circumstances to make it happen were on their side. Democrats took power in a recession they could pin on Republicans, knowing they could take credit for the inevitable economic recovery and ride that to re-election. Young people went for them 2 to 1 and might have been loyal for decades. It all might have worked had they made the economy their priority.
But this misjudges the modern Democratic Party. Four years ago in Denver, the country deserved to know that the Democrats who would really be running the country in 2009 would be named Henry Waxman, John Dingell, John Conyers, David Obey, George Miller, Barney Frank and James Oberstar. Those were—and mostly still are—the liberal barons of the House.
They weren't about to let a crisis go to waste, and so they went about using their accidentally large majorities to drive through a generation of pent-up liberal legislation. Mr. Obama famously let them write the stimulus and health-care bills. Republicans were helpless to stop them for two years. Liberals got nearly everything they wanted—which is what may be their ultimate undoing.
Democrats of the Obama era are united by cultural liberalism, but above all else they agree on the goal of expanding the reach of government. The Democratic Leadership Council, the centrist idea shop of the Clinton years, is declining. The vanguard of ideas for the Obama White House is the George Soros’ Center for American Progress, which churns out proposals for government to mediate every sphere of economic life.
In this view, the entire American economy is a giant market failure — except perhaps Silicon Valley. Health-care costs can be controlled by dictating prices and medical practice. The climate can be controlled by putting coal out of business and subsidizing wind, solar and ethanol. Wall Street can be controlled by more rules and hanging the occasional banker in the public square as an example.
Most important, government spending can conjure private growth by "investing" in whatever seems like a good idea. So taxes must rise and rise again to pay for these "investments."
The same priorities prevail, by the way, in the rare states like California where Democrats still dominate. While a wave of GOP Governors elected in 2010 have been reforming government, Democrats in Illinois, Maryland, Connecticut and California are bent on protecting every corner of government they can. The first three have raised taxes enormously, and Jerry Brown is desperate to get voter approval in November so he can raise the top income-tax rate in California to 13.3%.
There are very few Chris Christie Democrats. The closest might be Andrew Cuomo in New York, but his productive first year has given way to status-quo accommodations to unions on school and pension reform and a tax increase. This reflects today's Democratic coalition, which is dominated by affluent cultural liberals, voters who depend on government, and especially public-employee unions.
Here and there in the hinterlands, you can see a glimpse of new Democratic thinking. Gloria Romero in California wants to reduce the power of teachers unions, and Treasurer Gina Raimondo dared to rein in public pension benefits in Rhode Island. Even President Obama sometimes sounds like a reformer on education, until election years when he resorts to proposing more federal spending to hire more teachers.
But those reform voices won't be anywhere in evidence in Charlotte, where the message will be four more years of more of the same. The main theme is to preserve the government that Democrats have expanded. Democrats made a generational bet in 2009-2010 that the country was ready to be yanked sharply to the left, and they know that nearly all of their grand ambitions will be undone if Mr. Obama loses.
Yet the liberal masterminds who dominate the party believe that if Mr. Obama wins, however narrowly, their gamble will have been a great success. They may have lost the House in 2010, and perhaps they'll lose the Senate this year, but those can be won back.
Meanwhile, ObamaCare won't be repealed, its subsidies will start to flow in 2014, and then another huge chunk of the private economy and voting public will be dependent on the government for decades to come. Nancy Pelosi will take her bows as an icon of the entitlement state.
Thus the frowning resolve to grind out a victory by whatever means possible. It's hardly an optimistic vision and it's far from commanding the oceans, but if Democrats win, what you've seen is what you'll get.
After the ugly scene that played out on the floor of the Democratic National Convention Wednesday, during which the Democratic Party amended their platform to reinstate “God” and mention that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, CNN’s Anderson Cooper went to DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for her reaction to the entire ordeal. But after she spoke, Cooper determined she was living in an “alternate universe.”
CNN’s Brianna Keilar asked Wasserman Schultz on the convention floor how she felt as one of “the most prominent Jewish lawmakers” when she learned that any mention of Jerusalem being the capital of Israel was struck from the Democratic platform.
Wasserman Schultz said a “technical oversight” led to the omission, adding that the platform was amended to reflect President Obama’s personal views and the views of the Democratic party. Conveniently, the DNC chair said a “technical oversight” also led to all references to “God” being left out of the platform.
“The bottom line is we’ve taken steps, we’ve amended it, President Obama felt it was important to reflect his personal view and it’s done. And we’re moving forward and continuing this convention,” she said, adding that she is very proud of the president’s record on supporting Israel.
But that wasn’t what sent Cooper into a tizzy. Even though video of the platform amendment vote shows a chaotic scene, many people booing and hollering in protest, Wasserman Schultz argued that “there wasn’t any discord” during the vote.
After watching the interview from the CNN studio, the always fair Cooper said: “I mean, that’s an alternate universe.”
Cooper reminded his audience that it was Wasserman Schultz who attacked Mitt Romney’s campaign because “it is the candidate who sets the platform, who designs and writes the platform. It wasn’t true when she was saying it two weeks ago — but now isn’t it fair if she claimed that about the Republican platform to claim that about the Democratic platform?”
“From a reality standpoint, you can defend it, as the head of the DNC, but to say flat out there was no discord is just not true,” Cooper added.
Then there is the constant clamor of “Pro Choice” by the Democrats. The official Democratic Party platform “strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay,” Reason TV reminds us.
Anyone who watched day one of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., knows this isn’t just some strongly-worded political talk. The Democrat Party has gone all-in on the whole “pro-choice” thing.
But Reason TV wanted to know more about the party and its platform. Just what do they mean when they say “choice”?
What they found was a little puzzling. What they found were members of a party who strongly support “choice” — unless it involves food, light bulbs, right-to-work legislation or school choice:
If only these morons could see how stupid and hypocritical they look. What about the choice to not have to foot the bill for other people's abortions? Where is the 'choice' if the government forces every citizen to pay at the point of a bayonet?
For a few moments, I thought I was watching a casting call for a Federico Fellini film. After all, who in his right mind could possibly think that putting hundreds of mentally unbalanced people in a room with hundreds of violent, racist and just plain stupid people would ever be a good idea? Indeed, the soft-underbelly types who are normally relegated to episodes of “The Jerry Springer Show” are like members of the classics department at Cambridge University in comparison to the tinfoil-hat brigadiers marching across the screen at the Dependency National Committee’s (DNC’s) convention.
What I was seeing was far more disturbing than any reality TV show episode could ever hope to be. And yet, it was far more real. The quadrennial Democratic National Convention is in full swing in Charlotte, N.C. Even the so-called “Occupy” vermin have escaped their parents’ basements, packed up their bongs and their brass knuckles, and headed for the heart of the Tar Heel State.
Eva Longoria, who was previously important as a cast member on “Desperate Housewives,” is serving as one of Barack Obama’s campaign co-chairs. She isn’t particularly bright, but she’s cute enough to wipe that image of Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz out of your mind. Unfortunately, she’s the only eye candy among the usual collection of crooks, criminals and liars who make up the rest of the Democratic elite who are pounding the rostrum in Charlotte.
Among them (presented in no particular order, because they all pretty much share a brain anyway):
Richard Trumka, Mary Kay Henry and Bob King: The top thugs at the violent Democratic “labor unions” — respectively, the AFL-CIO; the Service Employees International Union (SEIU); and International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW). They will presumably offer tips on beating the crap out of non-liberals without leaving noticeable marks. King will present fire safety tips for those poor rental car companies who are stuck with Chevy Volts.
Former President Jimmy Carter: The Bumpkin from Plains appeared via video address. I assume there were too many Jews in the room for the famously anti-Semitic Carter. It’s also possible that he was barred from physical attendance for fear that older voters might focus on the remarkable similarities between Carter and Barry, his successor as “Worst President Ever.”
Massachusetts Senate Candidate Elizabeth Warren: That’s right, “Faux-cahontas” herself. I don’t give a damn about this eggheaded cretin. I just like how “Faux-cahontas” looks when I type it. I also like “Lie-awatha,” but it’s not getting as much traction. But, hey, check out her rockin’ cheekbones!
Former Republican Governor of Florida Charlie Crist: He’s actually listed that way on the speakers list. Because nothing says “Beat the Republicans!” like a scrub who got cut from the GOP roster.
The heads of national abortion-pushers NARAL and Planned Parenthood: The bad news is they’ll be pushing the Democratic plan to force taxpayers to fund abortions. The good news is, if they’re in North Carolina, then babies elsewhere are a little safer.
Fake Congressional witness and all-around party girl Sandra Fluke: She once again begged for governmental assistance in covering her condom and abortion costs. If you think about who she is, then paying her not to have kids isn’t really a terrible idea.
Apparently, a couple of first siblings have been tracked down and booked for appearances. One of them is not Obama’s half-brother. I guess a free trip to Charlotte isn’t worth leaving the relative safety of a hut in a Third World hellhole.
Of course, Obama himself will speak. He is the “reason for the season.” His speech will no doubt be the usual rehashing of the tired finger-pointing, excuse-making and general dishonesty that have pretty much defined his term. There’s always the possibility that the teleprompter will malfunction — in which case, hilarity will ensue almost immediately. It would be a welcome respite from the sort of creepy fascism they’re peddling to the minions. One promotional YouTube video even notes “the government is the only thing we all belong to.”
It’s worth noting that all attendees are required to show photo IDs to get in — a terrible crime against those poor illegal aliens who otherwise might have caught a glimpse of their heroic enabler. I’m sure the Democrats will make it up to them with free van rides to the polls in November.
And then there’s Valerie Jarrett tossing out a writer for The American Conservative asking about President Barack Obama’s drone strike policy. Oh, the tolerance and advocates of free speech these Democrats are.
Enough of this freak show already.