Politics Isn't Just Tactics
Many of the commenters on my article last week on "Democrats: End of the Big Push" took me to task for underestimating the ruthlessness of the Democrats.
Maybe I do underestimate them. But here is something to back up my point. A well-known Democratic activist recently said this:
Planned Parenthood is not going anywhere. It's not going anywhere today. It's not going anywhere tomorrow.
For some reason, his remarks seemed eerily familiar to me. As in this speech given 50 years ago in 1963:
In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.
Hey, Barry! How this line to pull in the bitter clingers: "Planned Parenthood today, Planned Parenthood tomorrow, Planned Parenthood forever!"
People adopt aggressive tactics and "eliminationist rhetoric" when their cause is in trouble.
So the aggressive tactics of the angry liberals means nothing. What does mean something is that Democrats are failing on strategy.
The first and most obvious case is ObamaCare. The basic problem with universal health care as a political issue is that the middle class in the U.S. already has health insurance. Twenty years ago, HillaryCare went down the tubes as soon as the American people, courtesy of Harry and Louise, realized that they were going to pay the bill for extending health insurance to the poor.
There is a law about entitlements that explains what happened to HillaryCare. It is Kristol's Law, after fabled neoconservative Irving Kristol. If you want to help the poor, he wrote, you must deal in the middle class. But HillaryCare couldn't do that, and so it went down to defeat.
You could tell, when ObamaCare rolled out, that the Democrats thought that they had learned their lesson. This time the Dems lied through their teeth about keeping your doctor, and costs going down instead of up, and they paid off the insurance companies to prevent a rerun of Harry and Louise.
Yes. They got their tactics right this time. They pushed the 2,000 page bill through Congress before a single person had read it, and without a single Republican vote in the House of Representatives. In fact there was bipartisan opposition as Speaker Pelosi hand-picked the Democratic members from marginal districts to vote against the bill. Tactically, it was brilliant. Strategically, it stank.
Do you see the huge strategic mistakes? First of all, there's the basic Kristol Law problem, that the Dems lied about, and may get hung around their necks for the next generation. Americans already have health insurance. Then there is the partisan vote problem. On Social Security and Medicare all those years ago the Dems were careful to make sure that they got Republican votes to make the new law bipartisan. But since ObamaCare passed on a partisan vote Republicans can declare open season on it.
Then there is the stimulus and the basic economic policy of the Obama administration. After the biggest financial crash in our lifetime, the Dems decided on taxing and spending and inflating as usual. The liberal chimeras of universal health care and green energy were more important than jobs for unemployed Americans.
None of this is meant to underestimate the huge advantage, tactically and strategically, that Democrats get from the "state-controlled media" and the state-owned education system and the idiot liberalism of Hollywood.
And even that is nothing compared to the problem at the level of the master cultural narrative, dominant since Marx in the 1840s, that there exists a basic conflict between the interests of middle-class businessmen and the working class.
Hey, it worked for the Marxists; they got to rule half the world, for a while.
Today, of course, the master cultural narrative has morphed into the poisonous doctrine that the Republican Party and the white middle class are racists, sexists, and homophobes that have it in for blacks, Hispanics, women, and gays.
You can see why. Liberals only get to stay on as the ruling class when they set the American people at each others' throats.
Never mind about tactics. Don't even get too tied up in strategy. Just solve the problem of the master cultural narrative, and you can get ready for a golden age of conservative cooperation.
So, geniuses, how about figuring out a way to divide liberals from their marginalized liberal clients, just like Marx divided the workers from the masters? How about abortion that's been a 100-year liberal war on minority babies? Or the failing schools that amount to a war on minority kids? Or Obamacare's war on women and young adults?
Get to own the master cultural narrative and the tactics will take care of itself.
Christopher Chantrill (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his usgovernmentspending.com and also usgovernmentdebt.us. At americanmanifesto.org he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism. Get his Road to the Middle Class.