Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The Band of Brothers Hates America

Via Atrios, I see that a poster at Kos catches Grover "Income tax = The Holocaust" Norquist letting the cat out of the bag:

"Yes, because in addition their demographic base is shrinking. Each year, 2 million people who fought in the Second World War and lived through the Great Depression die. This generation has been an exeception in American history, because it has defended anti-American policies. They voted for the creation of the welfare state and obligatory military service. They are the base of the Democratic Party. And they are dying. And, at the same time, all the time more Americans have stocks. That makes them defend the interests of business, because it is their own interest. Because of that, it's impossible to bring to the fore policies of social hate, of class warfare."

This is no doubt shocking to garden variety True Democrats, who probably go on to think that Norquist is just an extremist. Such an analysis is true, but Norquist isn't, actually, extreme for a modern Republican.

Come on. Picture if a future Democratic President, post-Iraq, tries (not that he will) to put through programmes identical to the New Deal, and all at once. One can well imagine the squeals of anguish from the typical super-reactionaries of the right, as well as from the conservatarians and legitimate libertarians. This is to be expected.

But you'd also hears squeals from the "center", which is what soft conservatives or Rockefeller Republicans are now known as. I believe I am under no illusion in thinking that Drum, Yglesias and probably even Brad DeLong would be "suspicious" or "unpersuaded" by the sort of "socialism" that produces masterpieces like the TVA.

So Norquist, insane though he may be, is right in a sense: the genuine Democratic base, which does not regard the New Deal as socialist authoritarianism, is dying out. And it's being replaced by people who should be, in a system where parties were labeled honestly with regard to ideology, mild Republicans. It's a sorry state indeed, but then nearly 40 years of far-right hegemony (only briefly interrupted by the softly liberal Carter and the objectively conservative Clinton) will have that effect. Our work's cut out for US.

**Update: More Grover follies collected here.