Billmon is perplexed: how did it happen that the Reagan Democrats have started sounding like ’70s left-liberals?
I suspect that it’s all about betrayal. The Reagan Dems felt betrayed by the left, because it gave them disrespect (and empowered women and minorities while white guys were having status anxiety), because they blamed the Left for “losing Vietnam”, and because when times weren’t good Reagan promised shiny tax cuts without pain (remember the Laffer curve?).
Slow to change, slow to change back, but not stupid. The Reagan Dems are concluding that they’ve been betrayed (they’d say “again”), and they’re mad about it. They still don’t get respect, this time for having the wrong bank balance instead of the wrong sexual politics. They blame the Right for Iraq, and who wouldn’t? Times if anything feel worse, but those tax cuts turned out be worth $50, raises lag medical insurance inflation, and the idea that today’s tax cuts for rich folks are tomorrow’s tax increases for the rest of us is starting to take hold –the checkbook metaphor is a powerful one for folks who feel economically precarious.
Meanwhile gays turned out not be so scary now that they’re out of the closet and are revealed to be real folks, like the neighbor’s kid. Throw in the GOP’s corruption, and Reagan Democrats need a new home. The DLC is just Reagan Lite, so that’s no use. Why not economic populism? The only strange thing about it is having populist leaders willing to argue for their followers’ true interests…