Krugman Says Democrats Need To Be More Like Bush!

2 comments December 27th, 2007at 07:19pm Posted by Eli

And I agree with him!

Here’s a thought for progressives: Bush isn’t the problem. And the next president should not try to be the anti-Bush.

No, I haven’t lost my mind. I’m not saying that we should look kindly on the Worst President Ever…. Nor am I suggesting that we should forgive and forget; I very much hope that the next president will open the records and let the full story of the Bush era’s outrages be told.

But Bush will soon be gone. What progressives should be focused on now is taking on the political movement that brought Bush to power. In short, what we need right now isn’t Bush bashing – what we need is partisanship.

(…)

[I]f you look at peoples’ views on actual issues, as opposed to labels, the electorate’s growing liberalism is unmistakable. Don’t take my word for it; look at the massive report Pew released earlier this year on trends in “political attitudes and core values.” Pew found “increased public support for the social safety net, signs of growing public concern about income inequality, and a diminished appetite for assertive national security policies.” Meanwhile, nothing’s the matter with Kansas: People are ever less inclined to support conservative views on moral values – and have become dramatically more liberal on racial issues.

And it’s not just opinion polls: Last year, the newly liberal mindset of the electorate was reflected in actual votes, too. Yes, some of the Democrats newly elected last year were relatively conservative. But others, including James Webb of Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana, have staked out strikingly progressive positions on economic issues.

The question, however, is whether Democrats will take advantage of America’s new liberalism. To do that, they have to be ready to forcefully make the case that progressive goals are right and conservatives are wrong. They also need to be ready to fight some very nasty political battles.

And that’s where the continuing focus of many people on Bush, rather than the movement he represents, has become a problem.

A year ago, Michael Tomasky wrote a perceptive piece titled “Obama the anti-Bush,” in which he described Barack Obama’s appeal: After the bitter partisanship of the Bush years, Tomasky argued, voters are attracted to “someone who speaks of his frustration with our polarized politics and his fervent desire to transcend the red-blue divide.” People in the news media, in particular, long for an end to the polarization and partisanship of the Bush years – a fact that probably explains the highly favorable coverage Obama has received.

But any attempt to change America’s direction, to implement a real progressive agenda, will necessarily be highly polarizing. Proposals for universal health care, in particular, are sure to face a firestorm of partisan opposition. And fundamental change can’t be accomplished by a politician who shuns partisanship.

(…)

So, here’s my worry: Democrats, with the encouragement of people in the news media who seek bipartisanship for its own sake, may fall into the trap of trying to be anti-Bushes – of trying to transcend partisanship, seeking some middle ground between the parties.

That middle ground doesn’t exist – and if Democrats try to find it, they’ll squander a huge opportunity. Right now, the stars are aligned for a major change in America’s direction. If the Democrats play nice, that opportunity may soon be gone.

Amen to that. I’m worried that if Obama is elected president, there will come a day when the Republicans demand that all liberals be imprisoned – and the next day, President Obama will proudly announce that he has brokered a Grand Compromise, in which only half of all liberals will be imprisoned.

The Democrats must remember that the halfway mark between sane and insane is still pretty crazy. Otherwise, the Republicans will get everything they want, simply by always demanding twice as much. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen much evidence that the Democratic leadership realizes that compromising with lunatics is not a winning strategy.

(h/t Caro Kay)

Entry Filed under: Bush,Democrats,Politics

2 Comments

  • 1. Diane  |  December 27th, 2007 at 8:08 pm

    The Democrats must remember that the halfway mark between sane and insane is still pretty crazy. Otherwise, the Republicans will get everything they want, simply by always demanding twice as much. Unfortunately, I havenít seen much evidence that the Democratic leadership realizes that compromising with lunatics is not a winning strategy.

    If that isn’t the most perceptive comment comment on a day like today, I don’t know what is.

    Well done, Eli.

  • 2. Cujo359  |  December 28th, 2007 at 12:09 am

    Krugman usually makes sense, and this is no exception. Partisanship isn’t a dirty word – partisanship for its own sake is the problem. Genuine disagreements are what free speech and representative democracy are about.

    It’s about time the Democratic Party establishment figured that out.


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