Roger L. Simon

Will the Democratic Party Destroy Us All?

What is wrong with the Democratic Party?

I used to be a Democrat — for decades. Was it always this bad? Was I that blind?

Well, maybe. But the situation now is drastic. The United States of America has never been in worse shape — foreign or domestic — not since the Civil War anyway. We are en route to being a pathetic, powerless, overblown Greece, but unlike Greece there is no one who can bail us out. We’re too big. We’ll bring everyone else down with us — those left anyway — in an economic Samson Option.

Yet to the Democrats — and their bizarrely compliant media — it’s business as usual. According to such solons of big journalism as CNN’s John King, the Dems main aim is and should be retaking the Congress with the same methods they have used for years  — blocking spending cuts, accusing Republicans of excessive greed, and catering to unions and reactionary race-based interests groups.

Hello, Planet Earth. I understand power politics up to a point. In some ways it may even be useful. But this is ridiculous.

Why can’t these people wake up? Don’t they have children, grandchildren? Don’t they realize we are going broke? The evidence is everywhere — from Michigan to Madrid. Keynesian economics — the welfare state itself — has become completely inoperative, morphed into a Ponzi scheme by an aging population.

You can pretend that’s not true. You can put your fingers in your ears and wait for it all to go away. You can recite the mantra about taxing the rich until you drop, blame Bush until he’s a figment of our memory more distant than William Henry Harrison, or pledge your allegiance to Gaia while circling the globe in a solar-powered Lear jet. But the reality remains.

(By the way, if you taxed the rich at a hundred percent, it would only push back our bankruptcy from entitlement programs a year, possibly two.)

So what exactly is wrong with the Democratic Party and its constituents? I know change is difficult, that breaking with old ideas — as the Maoists would say — can be painful, and that few of us like to admit we were wrong, but do we have to wait for bread lines?

So what’s the explanation? Why is it that, in these times, there is nothing less liberal than a “liberal,” less progressive than a “progressive”? Why do they and their party adhere to an ideology so shopworn and stultified — forget about tie-dyes and bell bottoms — they should all be running around in jodhpurs and crinolines?

What explains this political party of lemmings?

I don’t buy the Cloward-Piven argument. Sure, there are some who would like to bring this country down economically so they can rebuild it as some sclerotic socialist utopia replete with Young Pioneer camps and pompous people’s art in the subways (and no food in the stores), but most are not even imaginative enough for that.

I think there are three things at work — habit, fear of change, and pure, unbridled, screw-the-rest-of-us, self-interest. And the ones who focus on the latter — the powerful and self-interested  — rely on the habit and the fear of change on the part of the others — plus a soupçon of patronage — to hold the whole tawdry ball of wax together.

Of course this patronage system is deteriorating rapidly. It cannot continue in its present manner without bringing on that economic Samson Option.

So the Democrats are at a crossroads. Will they face reality?

I sincerely doubt it. Not with ultra-conventional Obama in the White House. This is not a man who takes risks. This is not a man who has demonstrated the slightest interest in genuine change other than the rhetorical kind. And big change — giant change — we need.

Michele Bachmann was entirely correct when she excoriated him for failing blacks and Hispanics. But that’s the tip of the proverbial ice berg. His party has failed, more importantly exploited, those minorities for years, decades really. The proof is in their execrable results.

Now they are going after the rest of us. And the sad thing is they may succeed. Because it’s going to take all of America to pull us back again, to get us back to work and revive our spirit. And the Democratic Party is doing the opposite.