Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Twilight of the Dinosaurs

The neocon wing of the Republican Party used to be the headquarters of the American political system, but thanks to the disasters of the last seven years it's now become the hindquarters.

That's one bit of good news, and here's another: the American people are mad as hell and they're not going to take it any more.

Now here's the bad news: Most of the Democrats on the national scene are NOT mad as hell. And they'll take "it" indefinitely. They say they're willing to bend over backwards to work with the Republicans in Congress.

Bend over frontwards is more like it, if you ask me.

Paul Krugman attempts to explain what all this might possibly mean in a thoughtful NY Times op-ed that ran this past Monday. [url][/url]

Among other significant factoids, Krugman cites results uncovered by liberal surveyers who sampled the 75 percent or so of Americans who believe the country is on the wrong track, to find out what specific political or economic symptoms they found most troubling. They discovered it's not just about Iraq any more, although that's still a major concern. "The most commonly voiced complaints among the dissatisfied are 'Big businesses get whatever they want in Washington' and 'Leaders have forgotten the middle class,'" Krugman reports.

And currently it's their dependency on big business and big donors, not the Republicans, that is the biggest threat to the Democratic Party.

"The most conspicuous example of this influence right now is the way Senate Democrats are dithering over whether to close the hedge fund tax loophole - which allows executives at private equity firms and hedge funds to pay a tax rate of only 15 percent on most of their income," Krugman wrote.

"Only a handful of very wealthy people benefit from this loophole, while closing the loophole would yield billions of dollars each year in revenue. Retrieving this revenue is a key ingredient in legislation approved by the House Ways and Means Committee to reform the alternative minimum tax, something that must be done to avoid a de facto tax increase for millions of middle-class Americans.

"A handful of superwealthy hedge fund managers versus millions of middle-class Americans - it sounds like a no-brainer." is Krugman's conclusion.

It is a no-brainer. And I'd say the Democrats, after having pissed away the last year, had better figure out who they represent, and that they've only got a few more months to get a clue.

I predict they won't, and that before too long the "moderate" Democrats will join the neocon wing of the Republican Party in the extinct species wings of natural history museums.

"So, how wobbled (by corporate money) are today's Democrats?" Krugman asks in conclusion. "I guess we'll find out."

I think I already know, and I see a split in the party coming. This, of course, will make Republicans' eyes light up. "Goody," they'll say.

Let 'em think that. The history of American politics is full of sharp and sudden changes of direction that were total surprises to the people living then, and that the backward-looking conservatives of earlier times never saw coming.

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