Summary: The evolution from the America-that-once-was to the New America so far occurs without much notice. But it’s apparent if we step back and see the discontinuities in our politics, which foreshadow greater changes to come. Today we look at one such, the Democrats adopting GOP views. The inspiration for this post came from the comment thread to this post.
A new language always reflects a new point of view, and the gradual, unconscious popularization of new words, or of old words used in new ways, is a sure sign of a profound change in people’s articulation of the world. When bishops, a generation after Hobbes’s death, almost naturally spoke the language of the state of nature, contract and rights, it was clear that he had defeated the ecclesiastical authorities, who were no longer able to understand themselves as they once had.
It was henceforward inevitable that the modern archbishops of Canterbury would have no more in common with the ancient ones than does the second Elizabeth with the first.
— From Part Two, Chapter 1 of The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom (1987)
The deepest possible evidence that the Right is winning in America: the Left adopts their reasoning and beliefs. That’s the long-term significance of Obama Administration. They have …
- expanded the WOT to more nations (eg, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan),
- greatly expanded the government’s secrecy program, by executive action in effect legislating an Official Secrets Act (except for self-promotional leaks by senior officials),
- continued an expanded the war on Iran in alliance with Israel (now with assassinations, sabatoge, and sanctions),
- adopted an economic policy centered on supporting banks (eg, bailouts, protection from regulation),
- adopted fiscal policy focused on cutting taxes (with some small increases) and cutting spending (eg, advocacy of the Simpson-Bowles recommendations, described by the LA Times as a guide to cutting services for the middle class while protecting the interests of the wealthy).
- largely adopted the Republican’s health care vision, developed by conservative think-tanks (eg, Heritage), implemented by GOP standard-bearer Romney, applauded by GOP leaders (eg, Newt),
- please list other examples in the comments
So far the parties differ mostly on social policy — loud disputes usually put only lightly into policy by either side. But that too will change.
Americans admire winners, and copy them. The resurgent Republicans have moved the center of the political spectrum to the right, and the Democrats are dragged along. The far left has almost no representation in Congress or senior Executive officials. And the right-wing of the Democratic Party, formerly in the Republican center, now moves into the far right’s zone.
A new motto for a New America:
I am not now that which I have been.
— Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Canto IV, Stanza 185 (1818)
Expect to see more articles like this: “Dems Nominate Anti-Gay Conspiracy Theorist for Senate“, Tim Murphy, Mother Jones, 3 August 2012 — Opening:
Mark Clayton believes the federal government is building a massive, four-football-field wide superhighway from Mexico City to Toronto as part of a secret plot to establish a new North American Union that will bring an end to America as we know it. On Thursday, he became the Tennessee Democrats’ nominee for US Senate.
Clayton, an anti-gay-marriage activist and flooring installer with a penchant for fringe conspiracy theories, finished on top of a crowded primary field in the race to take on GOP Sen. Bob Corker this fall. He earned 26 percent of the vote despite raising no money and listing the wrong opponent on his campaign website. The site still reads, “DEDICATED TO THE DEFEAT OF NEO-CONSERVATIVE LAMAR ALEXANDER,” whom Clayton tried to challenge in 2008. (That year, he didn’t earn the Democratic nomination.)
On his issues page, Clayton sounds more like a member of the John Birch Society than a rank-and-file Democrat. He says he’s against national ID cards, the North American Union, and the “NAFTA superhighway,” a nonexistent proposal that’s become a rallying cry in the far-right fever swamps. Elsewhere, he warns of an encroaching “godless new world order” and suggests that Americans who speak out against government policies could some day be placed in “a bone-crushing prison camp similar to the one Alexander Solzhenitsyn was sent or to one of FEMA’s prison camps.” (There are no FEMA prison camps.)
In April 2008, Clayton issued a press release accusing Google of censoring his campaign website on behalf the Chinese government…
For more about this
All things must change
To something new, to something strange.
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Kéramos, line 32 (1878)
See the chief chronicler for the evolution of the New America, so unlike the America-that-once-was:
- “Obama the Pioneer“, Glenn Greenwald, Salon, 4 August 2012 — “The accusation that the President has failed to deliver Change is, in certain key respects, unfair.”
For ample analysis of these years see the FM Reference Page Obama, his administration and policies.
Posts about change (yes, it was obvious from the beginning):
- “Don’t Let Barack Obama Break Your Heart” by Tom Engelhardt, 21 November 2008
- Obama’s national security team: I hope you didn’t really believe in change?, 26 November 2008
- Obama supporters mugged by reality (and learn not to believe in change!), 9 December 2008
- Change you should not have believed in, 10 February 2009
- Quote of the Day, 20 May 2009 — Connect the dots between Bush and Obama to see the nice picture.
- Stratfor looks at Obama’s foreign policy, sees Bush’s foreign policy, 30 August 2009
- Motto for the Obama administration: “The more things change, …”, 5 September 2009
- Change, the promise and the reality, 11 October 2009
- Another bold action by the radical leftists of Team Obama, 9 September 2010
The most obvious and important continuity among US presidents:
- How long will all American Presidents be War Presidents?, 21 March 2008
- These days all American Presidents are War Presidents (part 2), 13 September 2008
- These days all US Presidents are War Presidents (part 3), 23 November 2008
You can receive updates to the themes discussed here via Twitter @FabiusMaximus01.
“Change generally pleases the rich.”
— Horace, Carmina, III. 29. 13 (23 BC)