So now we officially begin the second Bush administration. And as I write in my latest L.A. Weekly column, the defeated Democrats now move to Plan B – “B” as in billionaires.
As we learned last week, George Soros and a couple of other money bags are now pledging as much as $100 million to the Democrats so they can build a “progressive infrastructure” to compete with the Right i.e. a new crop of think tanks and foundations to promote a liberal message. As I write in my column , this is a mostly pointless activity:
All of this reminds me of so many people I have met over the years who aspire to become writers. They spend endless amounts of time putting together an office or studio. They buy file folders and cabinets to hold their research; whiteboards to map out their storylines; ergonomic chairs for those all-night scribbling marathons; wireless laptops ready for service in a Starbucks; even expensive and gimmicky software guaranteed to help them generate, organize and elaborate their ideas. Only catch is, the ideas never seem to come and nothing actually gets written.
The Democrats need some ideas — any idea, really — that can ignite the imagination and enthusiasm of Americans and take us beyond either primitive and quite wearisome Bush bashing or a rote defense of absolutely necessary but deeply flawed institutions like Social Security and public schools. What, exactly, is the promise that Democrats can make to a new generation of voters that will inspire and motivate them? Merely defending Social Security, so today’s 20-year-old can retire at age 69 with 700 bucks a month, may, in fact, be marginally better than the Scrooge-like option of the Republicans, but it’s hardly the stuff of sweeping political vision.
Continuing to define the Democratic dilemma as merely a deficit of resources compared to the Republicans is to radically misjudge the depth of the liberal crisis. The Democratic Party is a sick, dysfunctional institution that has been in slow-motion collapse for at least two decades (depending on when you want to start the clock). It’s not about to be fixed with some Soros-funded cosmetic rearrangement.
P.S. To those who wish to comment: Let’s experiment a bit in an attempt to keep the comments section more readable. Everyone is invited to post a comment and to then to rebut any others posts with a MAXIMUM OF TWO additional comments. In other words, a maximum of three posts per person per thread. That’s enough. Let’s try to put an end to the running, endless and often very boring tit-for-tats.