[with a nod to Atrios, who has also posted a link to this speech by Perlstein]
It’s simple. Barack Obama put it exquisitely in his victory speech: “Government can help provide us with the basic tools we need to live out the American dream.”
Here’s a dirty little secret. The Republicans know this. Nothing scares them more than us returning to our simple answers.
Here’s Bill Kristol, in a famous 1993 memo I’m sure you’re all familiar with: “Health care is not, in fact, just another Democratic initiative . . . the plan should not be amended; it should be erased. . . . It will revive the reputation of the . . . Democrats, as the generous protector of middle-class interests.”
I’d say this memo is the skeleton key to understanding modern American politics, if it didn’t make me yawn. There’s nothing here that’s unfamiliar to historians who’ve read Republican secrets going back 25, 35, even 70 years. You can sum them up in 10 words: “If the Democrats succeed in redistributing economic power, we’re screwed.”
They have reason to fear.
I think Perlstein’s got it, I really do. This is what the Democratic Party has stood for for a long time – economic justice for all Americans. The Republicans have jerked the national dialogue over to national security (and they really do nothing about it, but talk and invade countries without provocation, thus making our nation much less secure,) and what the Democrats need to do is to stand up and start talking about the economy again.
As Rick points out, the Republicans handed the Democrats a huge gift, all wrapped nice and shiny with a big ol’ bow. That gift is Social Security. Bush grasped the third rail in his arrogance and he got burned. It’s time for the Democrats to turn up the juice and electrocute the Republicans with their economic agenda that seeks only to give more to those who already have everything.