The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Boss Tweed

I sometimes experience cognitive dissonance when following the broad Democrat narrative and then examining the Democrat campaign for the presidency. On the one hand, the narrative espouses diversity, tolerance, inclusion, concern about the "middle class" and the poor. But the campaigner themselves exhibit no diversity and little tolerance for any position but the one promoted by the party's Leftist base. A socialist 74-year old who rails against "millionaires and billionaires" is pitted against a corrupt, scandal-ridden 68-year old whose only saving grace is an appeal to identity politics (she's a woman). There isn't a Latino, a black person, or a young person to be found. In essence, the Dems offer the country two geriatric white people adopting worn positions of the 20th century as their beacon of hope moving into the 21st century.

Richard Fernandez answers asks how this has come to pass and then writes:
Maybe because liberalism is in a holding pattern. All it knows how to do is buy off competitors with taxpayer money and "send" anointees, like it's done since the end of WW2. It used to work. The problem is that it doesn't work anymore. In his book, Spoiled Rotten, Jay Cost argues that the Democratic Party "first formed by Andrew Jackson in 1824, that has always prided itself as the party of the poor, the working class, the little guy, is anything but that—rather, it’s a corrupt tool of special interest groups that feed off of the federal government ... a modern-day national Tammany Hall."

Hillary's problem is she's Boss Hillary, like Tweed was Boss Tweed. Her qualifications are her damnation. The historical Tammany Hall finally collapsed not from the efforts of its political opponents, but from the consequences of its own corruption. It finally provoked "an international crisis of confidence in New York City's finances, and, in particular, in its ability to repay its debts. European investors were heavily positioned in the city's bonds and were already nervous about its management – only the reputations of the underwriters were preventing a run on the city's securities. New York's financial and business community knew that if the city's credit was to collapse, it could potentially bring down every bank in the city with it."

A similar process of decline may now be threatening the status quo. The trillion dollar debt, the foreign failure, the economic insecurity. The themes that Donald Trump beats on relentlessly. [The Democratic Party is] not reeling from the punches of the Republican party. It's staggering under the weight of its own failures,
Commentators ask why there's anger out there. It's because of the abject failure of the Democratic Party to accomplish anything that matters to real people, in real economic circumstances in a dangerous and uncertain world. That's why, astonishingly, even some Democrats gravitate toward Donald Trump's angry rhetoric. They look and see:
  • Bernie Sanders offering us more spending, more taxes, a more intrusive government, while setting the stage for less business opportunity, fewer private sector jobs, and the continuing erosion of the Middle Class. Although it's difficult to conceive of foreign policy that would be worse than Barack Obama, I suspect Bernie will come up with one.
  • Hillary Clinton as Boss Tweet in a pant suit. She and her husband have used unethical connections, outright corruption, and potentially criminal behavior to parley a 35-year government career into a nine digit net worth. And from her perch among the 0.1 percent, Clinton has the chutzpa to talk about income inequality!
The anger is justified. The real question is how it will be channeled. That remains to be seen in the coming months.