Sunday :: Jan 2, 2005

I'm Mad As Hell, And I Have To Keep Taking It

by dj moonbat The general mood out there in Left Blogistan seems to be some kind of psychic wound-licking; we got beat, everybody says, but there are still 49% of the populace who haven't fallen for the bullshit--America eventually will wake up from this bad dream.

Matt Yglesias says Democrats face a minor rethinking, but don't need to make any major ideological shifts to get things back in order. Josh Marshall has finally found the issue--Social Security--where it's okay for Democrats to enforce party solidarity, rather than push the Republicans' line in an effort to appear "serious." Kos has a seemingly constant string of posts explaining how we can reclaim our Party and our country.

Sorry, folks. America is fucked.

We can take some solace in our 49%, I guess, if we conveniently ignore that this number is worse than the number in 2000--and ignore the continuing degradation of the Democrats' position in the Congress. In 1992, Bill Clinton had two houses of Congress at his back. Then one. And then there were none. And then, the Republican majorities grew.

Even if we start figuring out how to win the presidency with any sort of regularity, we're not going to get a lot of those seats back, because only Red State voters are casting votes. Even the seats we keep or take back will increasingly held by DINOs who will jump at opportunities to vote with the Republicans when they sense that the wind is blowing Right.

Even assuming that we fight off the madness on Social Security, the ongoing efforts to bankrupt the modern federal government will continue; we don't have the votes to stop it. If, after four years of these efforts, we replace this President, we still won't have the votes in Congress to roll back the tax cuts. There will be an economic crisis eventually.

That's the good news.
Once we have another Depression, Democrats will easily figure out how to frame the issues. It's easy to stand up for Democratic programs when everybody is completely freaking out about an ongoing economic disaster. We'll take back the Congress and the White House for at least a decade.

The bad news, though, is that it will be too late.

The New Deal depended, at least in part, on an expansive understanding of the power of the federal government. Once the Democrats are back in power, though, that understanding will be toast. Recent Commerce Clause jurisprudence has radically undermined the New Deal-era understanding of the power to regulate interstate commerce. United States v. Morrison overturned the Violence Against Women Act, and United States v. Lopez overturned the state enforcement provisions of the Brady Act. The current court is also enamored of the Eleventh Amendment; the federal government may no longer pass laws that would allow citizens to recover damages from the states, in state or federal court. The federal government also may no longer devise programs, like the one we devised to store nuclear waste, that require state action, unless they negotiate that action directly with each state. (This means the Clean Water Act may see some trouble one of these days.)

That's just with the current Court, folks. Justice Stevens may desperately want to keep Bush from replacing him, but he won't live forever. By the time the New Depression gets us a chance to undo some of the damage, the Court will not be on our side. FDR knew what to do about that problem: He threatened to dilute the justices' power by inflating the number of judges on the Court, forcing them to knuckle under (The "Switch in Time That Saved Nine.") Of course, that one has been done before, and it's not exactly regarded as the high point of American democracy. The law, by the time we need a Newer Deal, will not be amenable. (Oh, and of course, Roe v. Wade is history.)

Also, America will have a hell of a time regaining economic dominance, because we keep getting dumber. We won't just need another New Deal; we'll need another Sputnik. But nobody wants to do science anymore, which kinda makes it hard to do technology well. Everybody smart wants to be on the finance end of things, because that's where the money is. That kind of thing won't change fast.

It's hard to accept that America is going down the tubes, but it is--and it's America's Own Damned Fault™. We tried to warn them; we really did. But it didn't take. Now we will all live with the consequences; anybody who thinks that those consequences are short-term aberrations that we can fix--once we finally figure out how to present our side--just doesn't get how bad things are about to get.

dj moonbat :: 6:41 PM :: Comments (53) :: Digg It!