Opinionated @ CFE

A Double Standard on the Base

Jan
21

Just so I’m clear: In the wake of electoral defeat, Republicans decide to do more to appease their base and Democrats start the meme that they’re “doubling down on crazy”. Now when Democrats are in the wake of electoral defeat, they decide the solution is to… do more to appear their base, yet this isn’t also “doubling down on crazy”? Help me understand the disconnect on this double standard. I really don’t get it.

2 Responses to A Double Standard on the Base

  1. It’s a matter of parsing the “intent” of voters (which admittedly is all conjecture and speculation… but the best we’ll ever have is conjecture and speculation, just like in economic policy).

    Polling implies that voters rejected the principles conservatives “doubled down on” in 2009, while approved — in 2008 — the principles Obama propelled.

    What you have now is Democratic leaders rolling back those promises, and running away from the ideals that (again, polling would suggest) got them the majority.

    Conservatives can tell themselves Brown is a sign voters are embracing the GOP, but they would be wrong. GOP brand still gets less than 20% approval, and Brown was pro-choice, union friendly, and has at least once or twice supported the closest thing we’ve had to universal health care in this country (MA health care). What this implies is that if there was any “meaning” in the MA special election, it wasn’t a voter embrace of GOP policy, but a rejection of Democratic procedure. Conservative voters shifted LEFT in supporting Brown… Independents and some Dems shifted too, but did they shift right? Doubtful. Most likely they shifted “pissed off” at Democrats for waffling, and taking 6 months to do even that.

    The only real change in public attitude in 2009 has been independents and Democrats, supportive of Democratic Party promises, losing faith that the Democratic Party will deliver. They don’t appear to be embracing the GOP, even despite that dissatisfaction. That is very different than the referendum independents served up for the GOP in 2008.

    If the Democrats are losing popularity because of their policy IDEALS, then yes, “doubling down” arguments would be a hypocrisy from those of us who warned the GOP not to do it in 2009. But if they are losing popularity because they aren’t LIVING UP to those ideals, then “doubling down” is smart strategy.

    So it all comes down to which of those two is really the case now. Are they taking a hit for trying to do too much, or are they taking a hit for not achieving what they set out to do?

  2. I would argue that it’s a little from each column. I’m very disappointed at the way Gitmo, Afghanistan, and civil liberties are being handled as well as the almost comedic lack of promised sunshine and transparency. I’m sure that a lot of voters, conservative and progressive alike, aren’t very happy that President Obama forgot that Candidate Obama promised a new direction on these things.

    On the flip side, there is a lot of populist anger about bailouts and stimuli galore that are often rightly perceived as handouts to entrenched business interests and favored special interest groups. The Democratic Party is starting to look just as corporatist as their Republican counterparts. (GM was basically taken from investors and given the the UAW; that looks really bad.) A lot of us are also terrified at the idea of starting up new ongoing spending programs in the midst of giant deficits. Emergency spending is one thing, spending that lasts generations is another.

    If Democrats are serious about being in control, they should be tackling the deficit, cutting off the corporate welfare, taking care of the ethics reforms that were promised almost 4 years ago (remember those?), and a host of other things that should be no-brainers and get wide support from the voters. As of right now, the “hope and change” is more like “business as usual”.

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