In Which The Democrats Finally Get A Clue, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 20 2015 @ 7:25pm

A reader doesn’t pull punches:

Democrats are spineless cowards who did not dare to make this the theme of the last few election cycles. They would have won big. But instead they hid behind their Wall St donors and sat still.

Another is more even-handed:

Odd thing, isn’t it?  Since the midterms, Obama has been following his instincts, not the Congressional leadership that wanted to try to save Senate seats in deep red States, or the inside-the-Beltway CW that still thinks it’s 1984, that winning legacy media cycles is everything, and that Democrats must act like Republicans.  Would have been interesting to see what would have happened if he’d done this a year ago.

On the other hand, to move like this, maybe he needed an improving economy and a GOP hopelessly tied to its hardcore base.  Either the Republicans approve this basic plan, in which case Obama gets yet another major accomplishment, which will kill them with their Obama-hating base, or they stop it, which clearly puts them on the side of the super rich at the expense of every single middle-class American.  Maybe even the tools and lackeys who populate the panels of the Sunday talk shows will be able to understand just how shrewd this move us.

A few more readers sound off:

I think it’s important to note that this is not a Democratic redistribution of the wealth. This is a correction of 35 years of Republican redistribution policies.

For decades, the middle- and lower-classes have paid for the ever-shrinking percentage of taxes the wealthy pay with increases in state income and sales taxes (due to reduced federal outlays to states), increased fees for government services along with cuts to those same services. The GOP now wants to take the axe to Medicare and Social Security in the name of debt reduction, even though those programs are self-funded and do not affect the national debt. Future insolvencies in those programs can be easily corrected by raising the cap and making the super-wealthy pay their fair share, instead of just paying on the first $105,000 in income. If the super-wealthy cannot acquiesce to paying what is, for them, an easily manageable increase in taxes, they will end up losing more when economic unrest makes indulging their greed politically unpalatable and there is nothing left to steal from the 99%.

Another:

Can we dispense with the “meep, meep” comments?  This idea that the president has this grand diabolical plan, patiently laying in wait, scheming to overcome the opposition, and then striking out, grabbing the initiative, is an interesting one.  Perhaps he was laying in wait and biding his time when his policies caused the Democrats to get their asses handed to them in 2010.  Yes, losing all the state houses and governerships must be in this equation along with losing the Senate.  Next week President Obama will take out Tattalgia, Barzini, Strazi … all the heads of the Five Families.  Right after Connie’s kid gets baptised.

For all the talk about the Democratic Party’s demographic destiny, or the Republican presidential candidate to take 50%+ of the popular vote once over the past twenty years, the electoral success of the president is tied to timing and the complete and utter ineptitude of the opposition, not any Frank Underwood-like grand plan.  Despite six years in office, nearly five years of continued GDP growth, decreases in the unemployment rate, and so-called populist ideas, the president finds it nearly impossible to break the 50% approval rating barrier.

The US of A is still a right-of-center country, and culturally the president does not connect with the majority of Americans (I’ve always believed race is not the defining characteristic that the electorate finds divisive … name the last president to come from an urban/metropolitan area?), and the electorate doesn’t want overtly redistributive economic policies.

However, it is these cultural issues that hold the Republican Party back.  Every presidential primary it seems as if the Republican candidates are vying for the Forsythe County, Georgia school board instead of the Oval Office.  When the Republicans do nominate a relative social moderate, that candidate fits the stereotype of rich, out-of-touch white guy who is unable to draw sufficient votes from any of the Democrats’ core constituencies.  The Democratic party is still a coalition of competing interests, and if the Republicans would pull their heads out of their asses long enough to pluck just enough of those votes away they would be assured of victory.

The Hispanic-American population is more culturally conservative than the Democratic Party base.  The Asian-American population is more culturally and economically conservative than the Democratic Party base. One of George W. Bush’s lasting legacies, other than propelling the country into an avoidable war and being fiscally irresponsible, might be to undermine the ability of the party to grab those votes for the next several years by tainting his brother Jeb’s name and inhibiting him from carrying enough Hispanic-American and Asian-American votes to get into office.  Jeb was always the chosen one – to use the Godfather analogy, Michael to George’s Santino.

As for President Obama, his approval rating will probably creep up a few more points as gas prices stay low and the economy limps along.  Presidential approval ratings correlate to gas prices.  Now that the consumer has deleveraged from the household debt hangover, they have more disposable income.  Whoever is voted into office in 2016, Democrat or Republican, will find themselves in trouble in 2020 as the debt cycle sends us back into another recession after Americans once again charge up those credit cards, take out those HELOCs, and the federal government has to drastically reduce spending to cope with the federal debt.  Then we can start all over with inane arguments over how that president then in office “caused” that Recession.