Oregon Magazine

The Traditional Coalition is Falling Apart
 by Steve Beren   (Link goes to his web page)

January 22, 2008 -- The Democratic Party is falling apart.  Among  Democratic grassroots activists, there is a profound feeling that the traditional liberal coalition is dead.  
The liberal elites long for the good old days of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, but they are disappointed in the current crop of candidates.  Some hope that Obama or Edwards could represent a "second Carter term," while some hope that Hillary Clinton could represent a "third Bill Clinton term."  But each day it becomes clear that the current Democratic candidates are just weak imitations of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.  

While Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton actually weakened our military and actually damaged American foreign policy, it often appears that the current candidates offer only rhetorical promises to do the same.
The Democrats claim to be the party that fights for women's rights and black rights, but the pressure of the 2008 campaign are revealing the deeper truths behind this false image.  Acrimony and bitterness among the candidates are revealing an ugly reality beneath the liberal movement's so-called "unity."
Actually, the Democratic Party is the party of identity politics, in which people are expected to vote on the basis of race or gender.  A report today on the CNN website notes the dilemma facing black female Democrats, asking the question, "Should they vote their race, or should they vote their gender?"  
It is not surprising that some Democratic voters cast their ballot based on identity, since the Democratic philosophy and liberal philosophy are based on "victim identity entitlement."  But Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s message was that people should be judged as individuals, on the content of their character - not by their superficial physical characteristics.  Yes, the liberal and Democratic policies are based on identity politics.  And yes, many liberals and many Democrats vote on the basis of such identity politics.  
Meanwhile, the policies and traditions of Republican Party and the conservative movement are is based on individual liberty and individual responsibility (nobody gets favored treatment because of race or gender), patriotism and love of country (we're all Americans, we're all one - there is no black or white, there is no male or female, there is no Greek or Jew), freedom (free speech, the right of self-defense, the right of assembly), and opportunity (business, property, free market). 
I am a fiscal conservative, an immigration conservative, a national security
conservative, and a social conservative.  When the Republican National Convention meets in Minneapolis this summer, the platform adopted should remain committed to these policies and values.  
The American people want to be safe from terrorist attack, so they want a victory strategy in the war against Islamic fascism.  They want economic security, so they want taxes to remain low and spending sharply reduced.  They want secure borders, so they want an end to illegal immigration.  And they want an optimistic moral vision about the future of this country.  The Democratic Party is an obstacle to these desires of the American people.  A renewed, reinvigorated Republican Party can and will provide the
leadership that allows the American people to achieve their dreams and their destiny.

© 2008 Steve Beren