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The "Againstocrats" And The No Deal
By Ed Driscoll · August 10, 2007 04:45 PM · Bobos In Paradise · The Future and its Enemies · The Return of the Primitive

Back in February of 2005, William Voegeli wrote in Opinion Journal:

Lyndon Johnson gave one other memorable speech in 1964. At a campaign rally in Providence, R.I., he climbed onto his car, grabbed a bullhorn and summed up his political philosophy: "I just want to tell you this--we're in favor of a lot of things and we're against mighty few." The Democrats' problem is not that they, like "Seinfeld," are a show about nothing. It's that they are a show about everything, or anything. (At one point, the Kerry-for-president Web site referred to 79 separate federal programs he wanted to create or expand.)

Ruy Teixeira says that after 2004, "the bigger question is: What do the Democrats stand for?" Here's a better and bigger question still: What do the Democrats stand against?

Fred Siegal answers Voegeli's question, in a review of The Argument, a new book by New York Times liberal political correspondent Matt Bai. Siegel's review is titled "The Againstocrats" and appears in City Journal:
The liberal billionaires, such as George Soros and Peter Lewis, and the bloggers, such as “blogfather” Jerome Armstrong, are certain of what they’re against, Bai demonstrates. They are passionate in their hostility to the Republican “dictatorship,” the reviled George W. Bush, and his war in Iraq; they despise the evangelical “lizardheads” who live in “Dumbfuckistan”; they detest the Clintons as compromisers whose strategy of triangulation has turned the Democrats, as they see it, into me-too Republicans chasing after the middle-class vote; they loathe the centrist Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) and, as famed Hollywood liberal Norman Lear puts it, “Joe ‘Fucking’ Lieberman”; and they are sure, insofar as they give it any thought, that the war on terror is largely a scam that has been sold to the “morons” of middle America.

Their problem is deciding what they are for, other than more power for people like themselves. The “argument” of Bai’s title refers to the long, futile search to develop a positive agenda, beyond support for abortion and gay marriage, that would articulate “some compelling case for the future of American government.” Discussing the political virtue of conveying deep convictions, one member of the Democratic Alliance—the billionaires’ organization funded by Soros and Lewis, among others—has to ask, “What are ours? . . . once we know them, we can frame them for voters.” The better informed among the billionaires and the bloggers understand that they can’t go back to New Deal liberalism. Says Andy Stern, the one major labor leader connected with the Democratic Alliance: “I like to say to people who want to return to the New Deal that we are now as far from the New Deal as the New Deal was from the Civil War.”

In more ways than one.

Related: "Abandoning the center".

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