At Real Clear Politics, Sean Trende writes, “You only get to elect the first black President once, and governing a coalition of suburbanites, poor blacks, and upper class liberals isn’t easy. It is hard to keep that enthusiasm up. And with the Jacksonian wing of the party gone, if that enthusiasm dissipates, or if one of the coalition groups becomes disgruntled and starts to shuffle out the door, the party isn’t left with much”:
The historical base of the Democratic Party for two centuries has long been what Jay Cost and I call Jacksonians: Culturally conservative, hawkish, and populist whites located throughout the South and Border states. They began breaking away from Democrats in the 1950s and 1960s – their reaction to the Party’s embrace of unions, blacks and liberals is a story is so well known there’s no need to rehash it here.
But this group remained at least in play for the Democrats. Clinton inherited a coalition consisting of minorities, liberals, urban voters, and a decent remnant of Jacksonian voters in the Ohio River Valley and the South, who still preferred a moderate-to-conservative Democrat to a Republican. This coalition became a majority coalition when Clinton used a combination of fiscal conservatism and social moderation to bring suburban voters on board. This was a huge innovation for Democrats; suburbs like Nassau County, NY, Orange County, CA and Fairfax County, VA had fueled the rise of the Republican parties in those states. Clinton moved them substantially toward his side. This coalition allowed him to win by eight points in 1996; absent Perot and a last-minute fundraising scandal, he probably would have won by more.
Clinton intuited that suburban voters are, generally speaking, culturally cosmopolitan – they don’t like it when you call someone “macaca,” and aren’t crazy about the religious right. But they’re generally not particularly socially liberal either, and are fans of “law and order.” They like taxes low and appreciate economic growth, but like good schools and a clean environment. Having to balance a bunch of spending priorities with somewhat limited income in their daily lives, balanced budgets are the ultimate “good government” indicator for these voters.
Clinton delivered on all of these issues, keeping tax increases fairly small, and balancing the budget for much of his term. In so doing – and this is very important – he re-branded the Democrats as the party of fiscal responsibility, economic growth, moderate taxes, and smart government.
So much for that last idea, Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit writes: “Obama’s October Deficit LARGER Than Bush Deficit For ENTIRE YEAR of 2007”:
Meanwhile, Andy McCarthy writes that President Obama is playing to his radical leftwing base, not the center, with his decision to prosecute Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a New York-based civilian trial:
Today’s announcement that KSM and other top al-Qaeda terrorists will be transferred to Manhattan federal court for civilian trials neatly fits this hidden agenda. Nothing results in more disclosures of government intelligence than civilian trials. They are a banquet of information, not just at the discovery stage but in the trial process itself, where witnesses — intelligence sources — must expose themselves and their secrets.
Let’s take stock of where we are at this point. KSM and his confederates wanted to plead guilty and have their martyrs’ execution last December, when they were being handled by military commission. As I said at the time, we could and should have accommodated them. The Obama administration could still accommodate them. After all, the president has not pulled the plug on all military commissions: Holder is going to announce at least one commission trial (for Nashiri, the Cole bomber) today.
Moreover, KSM has no defense. He was under American indictment for terrorism for years before there ever was a 9/11, and he can’t help himself but brag about the atrocities he and his fellow barbarians have carried out.
So: We are now going to have a trial that never had to happen for defendants who have no defense. And when defendants have no defense for their own actions, there is only one thing for their lawyers to do: put the government on trial in hopes of getting the jury (and the media) spun up over government errors, abuses and incompetence. That is what is going to happen in the trial of KSM et al. It will be a soapbox for al-Qaeda’s case against America. Since that will be their “defense,” the defendants will demand every bit of information they can get about interrogations, renditions, secret prisons, undercover operations targeting Muslims and mosques, etc., and — depending on what judge catches the case — they are likely to be given a lot of it. The administration will be able to claim that the judge, not the administration, is responsible for the exposure of our defense secrets. And the circus will be played out for all to see — in the middle of the war. It will provide endless fodder for the transnational Left to press its case that actions taken in America’s defense are violations of international law that must be addressed by foreign courts. And the intelligence bounty will make our enemies more efficient at killing us.
Clinton’s first two years in office were nearly as bad as Obama’s first year has been; it was only the election of a center-right GOP to both houses of Congress that curbed his excesses. But at least he had actual executive experience as governor before winning the White House. Obama has had none, and his lack of experience, and inability to make decisions, is beginning to snowball against him, and badly.