Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Can Real Liberalism and the Democratic Party Be Saved from the Radical Takeover?

President Dale: "I want the people to know that they still have 2 out of 3 branches of the government working for them, and that ain't bad." --"Mars Attacks"

By Barry Rubin

The far left has at least temporarily won the battle of ideas in the United States and taken over institutions by pretending to be “liberal.” Meanwhile, actual traditional liberalism, which ruled those institutions for many decades, has vanished. Suddenly, we are supposed to believe that “class warfare,” anti-capitalism, hatred of America, Stalinist-style treatment of opponents, the glorification of the extremist Occupy movement,  a mass media all too devoted to propaganda, and a betrayal of Enlightenment values are normative liberal ideas!

During the 1930s, the Communist Party tried to take over liberalism but failed miserably. Today, however, the post-Communist left has succeeded in that effort to a remarkable extent, effectively wiping out the memory of what liberalism was actually like.  For their part, many conservatives are quite willing to reinforce the left’s rewriting of history, suggesting that Barack Obama and the destruction of once-great institutions is a natural and inevitable outgrowth of people like Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson.

Yet there is a sizeable bloc of traditional liberals who have been repelled by the radical takeovers of institutions and the destruction of their own ideas. They have not yet found a voice but, if given proper treatment and leadership, they are about to far exceed the “Reagan Democrat” phenomenon.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 21 percent of those who considered themselves Democrats when Obama became president no longer do so. And if you add in those still calling themselves Democrats and who will vote loyally while being very disturbed with what's happening, that number might total about half. These are people who never felt comfortable with the new radicalism, who have woken up in the last three years, or will do so very soon. That’s the constituency I want to speak to.  And briefly here’s the message:

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