Saturday, August 03, 2013

Separating Democrats' Body from Head

[The movie “Elysium” begins with an overhead] of future sprawling slums and urban ruin. . .identified as belonging to Los Angeles in 2154. Most of the beleaguered inhabitants seem to speak Spanish and do menial labor if they do anything at all, while good health care is very difficult to come by. 

By contrast, hovering far above Earth and appearing like a five-spoked wheel in the sky is Elysium, an enormous space station where the rich live in a stress-free country club environment enhanced by marvelous technology that can cure any ailment, meaning that life can theoretically go on indefinitely. 

Dude. . . that is not Los Angeles in the year 2154, that is Los Angeles today. . . . drive down Wilshire or Melrose. In just a couple of miles those famous boulevards turn from a gorgeous, mile-high, palm tree-lined gilded city . . . to shit-hole city: urban sprawl, graffiti, crime, filth, and grinding poverty. . . In a city that on paper should be a Liberal Utopia, if you want your life expectancy to drop 20 years, you need only find a place to live just a few miles from Hollywood.

--John Nolte, “Big Hollywood”

Nolte totally captures the unintended irony of Matt Damon’s latest pic, which is supposed to be about a Republican-created dystopia, but actually portrays today's liberal Hollywood Hills, where Damon and pals sit by “shimmering pools, sipping drinks, and using million dollar bills to wipe away socialist tears borne of the horror show playing out below them.”

It’s a California of high unemployment, terrible government schools, families unable to afford decent housing, stuck with Medicaid unless they are illegals with no health care at all, as detached liberals choke off job creation in the name of environment protection.

Candidate Obama once told us, “We need a president who will look out for the interests of hardworking families, not just their big campaign donors and corporate allies.” And how’s that working out?

President Obama now tells us, “I’ve got a little over 1,200 days left in office. I care about one thing and one thing only, and that’s how to use every minute of the 1,276 days remaining in my term to make this country work for working Americans again.” Do you follow that? Obama is counting the days until he can collect millions in book royalties and speaking fees, while spouting the same “prosperity is just around the corner” rhetoric he’s fed the nation for the last five years.

As the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan observed:
the Obama White House, always keen to increase the reach and power of government, also seems profoundly disinterested in good governing. It is strange. The long-term project of liberalism involves encouraging the idea of faith in government as a bringer or guarantor of greater justice. But who needs more government if government works so very badly, and is in its operations unjust? This White House is careless with the reputation of government. They are a campaigning organization, not a governing one.
Noonan is onto a profound truth. Liberals, the party of good government, deliver shockingly bad government. What they do to compensate is hunt for issues, any issue, that will change the subject from government failure and raise the specter of something even worse if Republicans take over.

“FOX News” star Bill O'Reilly says:
the grievance industry [wants] to divide the country along racial lines [a]nd they may be succeeding. A recent Wall Street Journal poll asked the folks about the state of race relations in the USA: 52% say they are very good or fairly good; 44% say fairly bad or very bad. But in January of 2010, the number was 72% saying very good or fairly good, just 23% saying very bad or fairly bad. . . the state of race in America seems to be getting worse.
Yet O’Reilly seems to have overlooked another poll showing all this attention on race is not only stirring up calm waters, it is also hurting Obama. According to a recent Quinnipiac University Survey, independents in the last 2.5 years have gone from approving of the president's handling of race relations by a 32-point margin (56/24) to disapproving by a 13-point margin (40/53). That’s a dramatic 45 point swing!

We’ve said repeatedly that the liberal head doesn’t take care of working class and dependent Democrats at the bottom. Will the party keep getting away with it, or will Republicans figure out how to separate the Democrats’ head from its body?

Timothy Carney, at the conservative Washington Examiner, provides a vision of Hollywood’s “Elysium” world writ large:
Obama rightly calls the last few years "a winner-take-all economy where a few are doing better and better and better, while everybody else just treads water." Median household income has fallen by 5% since 2009 — when the recession ended and Obama came into office . . . But corporate profits and the stock market keep hitting record highs.
Government grows, the wealthy, the big, and the well-connected pull away, and the rest of us struggle. . . Obamanomics leans heavily on . . . loan guarantees to sell jumbo jets and more subsidies to make solar panels — taxpayer transfers to the big companies with the best lobbyists. . .
Obama's regulations crush small businesses, protecting the big guys from competition. This hurts Mom & Pop and would-be entrepreneurs, but it also hurts the working class. New businesses are the engine of job growth, but new business formation has accelerated its decline in the last few years, hitting record lows. Government tends to benefit the big and well-connected, and that's not Mom & Pop.
And New York Times conservative Ross Douthat has found that back East, as Hollywood’s world suggests,
gun control, immigration reform and climate change aren’t just random targets of opportunity. They’re pillars of Acela Corridor ideology, core elements of Bloombergism, places where Obama-era liberalism overlaps with the views of Davos-goers and the Wall Street 1%. If you move in [Acela] circles. . . these ideas always look like uncontroversial common sense. [So] we’re left with the peculiar spectacle of a political class responding to a period of destructive long-term unemployment with an agenda that threatens to help extend that crisis toward 2020 and beyond.
Jeffrey Dorfman, a University of Georgia economics professor, seems to agree with Douthat:
A fascinating part of the special-interest coalition that makes up the Democratic Party is . . . groups have aims . . . at odds with another coalition partner. Environmental groups advocate a set of policies that uniformly hurt poor people. Environmental protection is essentially a luxury good. If you have enough money to provide food, clothing, and shelter for your family, then you start to care about the environment.
Separating the Democratic head from its body? The time may be right, but are Republicans up to it?

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