Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Political talk

Matt Yglesias brings to our attention a Democracy Corps (Carville's firm) report regarding focus groups they conducted in Wisconsin, Arkansas, Colorado and Kentucky. I strongly suggest you read the report for yourself, but the jist of it is that the voters they talked to are very upset about how Republicans are running the government. They realize that Iraq is going terribly, Tom DeLay is a crook, health care costs are high, the labor market is not tight and so forth. So in some sense, the Democrat's complaint that no one listens isn't really valid.

But this doesn't translate into votes or support for the Democratic party because Democrats are seen as directionless, lacking leadership, weak on defense and more importantly
most referred to Democrats as 'liberal' on issues of morality, but some even go so far as to label them 'immoral', 'morally bankrupt', or even 'anti-religious'.
This we all knew. What we didn't know was how poorly the Republicans were also doing.

Another thing we didn't know is that even Bush voters in these states have fairly "progressive" economic views, particularly on health care. They want price caps on prescription drugs, more preventative health care, etc. Politicians with good ideas on health care won't be ignored.

This all points to a more populist economic and social approach for Democrats. Unfortunately, that doesn't really appeal to my libertarian instincts. But there is another option, one which Matt Welch has pushed in this Salon piece and this Reason piece: the so-called "Western strategy".

Proponents of this view see the Republicans moving to the populist**, economically intrusive, socially conservative spot in the political spectrum and posit that Democrats should move to the opposite corner. Welch writes:
There's a better and arguably more attractive ideological option than being anti–"pro–free market," and it's sitting right in front of the Democrats' noses. When the party you despise controls most of the levers of government, it's an excellent time to run against government.
If Westerners really are the leaner-government folks that they are pushed as, that is. Why does it make sense to have two populist parties?


Anonymous Blue Cross of California said...

Great blog I hope we can work to build a better health care system. Health insurance is a major aspect to many.

6:04 PM  

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