The crazies, the corporatists… and the Democrats. Drew Westen:
First, apologists for the president and the Democrats rightly claim that their hands are tied: the Republicans just won’t let them pass any legislation that might move the economy forward, so their only tools are ineffectual ones such as tax cuts and exhortations to the business community to invest.
But what this account leaves out is that this state of affairs is entirely of the Democrats’ creation. Had the White House and the supermajorities the president started out with for two years simply done what the voters asked them to do — and what the House actually did do with remarkable speed in 2009 — the Democrats’ hands would not be tied today.
Second, by running scared and adopting Republican talking points on economics, Democrats have created a self-fulfilling prophecy. Listening to the same pollster-industrial complex that advised them in 2002 to support George W. Bush’s trillion-dollar unfunded bloodbath in Iraq, Democrats have joined with Republicans in offering massive giveaways to millionaires and billionaires and then telling working and middle class Americans that the sky is falling and we (they) have to tighten our (their) belts. Democrats inside the tightened beltway (with the exception of a strong contingent in the House and a dozen or two Senators) appear to have become convinced by the new conventional wisdom in Washington, that Americans aren’t really concerned as much about jobs as they are about the deficit.
If you stop and think about it for a moment, that notion is absurd on the face of it. Is it really possible that Americans who have lost their jobs or fear losing them are more worried about an abstraction — the budget deficit in Washington — than about the realities of their lives — that they face a budget deficit around their own kitchen table at the end of every month when they’re trying to pay their rent or make their mortgage payment on their rapidly depreciating home?
That brings us to the third reason so many Democrats have created a third wing of the Republican Party: because they’re competing for the same corporate money, which leads them to support the same policies. The major difference between Republicans and Democrats is that virtually all of the Republicans are quite comfortable being bought because it fits their ideology, whereas most of the Democrats who are beholden to one industry or another are conflicted about it — but not conflicted enough to pass a fair elections bill when they had the chance last year that might have taken away some of the advantages of incumbency but restored integrity to our electoral system.
Americans need a choice again between two parties, not between two strains of Hoover Republicanism.