If America was sending a message to the Democrats in this election, it was "Care about the country instead of your own money." Sure, voting Republican isn't the best way to send that message, but considering how much disinformation there is in American political discourse the results are best left open to interpretation.
But Democrats won't get that message. In fact, there's one retiring Democrat who's already begging his colleagues to become even more beholden to the big money boys and to trample on the rest of us some more, because, you see, it shows how mature Democrats are. Here's Evan Bayh in the NY Times this morning in a column he probably wrote several weeks ago:
And we were too deferential to our most zealous supporters. During election season, Congress sought to placate those on the extreme left and motivate the base -- but that meant that our final efforts before the election focused on trying to allow gays in the military, change our immigration system and repeal the George W. Bush-era tax cuts. These are legitimate issues but unlikely to resonate with moderate swing voters in a season of economic discontent.
I probably should have put a "don't drink while reading this quote" warning above it; sorry about all the coffee sprayed all over your computers.
According to Bayh, the Democrats' problem is that they were "too deferential" to the "extreme left," exemplified by them discussing, but not enacting, three moderate proposals. They didn't actually pass any of them! Gays aren't serving openly in the military, the DREAM Act didn't get passed, and Democrats are probably going to renew those tax breaks for the uber-wealthy, but that should have been enough to placate the "extreme left."
What should Democrats have been doing instead? In short, giving more money to rich people, since that's what we can all agree on:
We also overreached by focusing on health care rather than job creation during a severe recession. It was a noble aspiration, but $1 trillion in new spending and a major entitlement expansion are best attempted when the Treasury is flush and the economy strong, hardly our situation today.
Around 50 million Americans are uninsured, dozens of millions are underinsured, people who are insured lose their coverage when they need it, and almost everyone in America who isn't covered by the government is paying several times the amount they should be paying for their health care. So the Democrats passed as weak bill that takes a stab at those problems, problems that are fairly important to most Americans (by "most" I mean those people who live outside Bayh's bubble).
But Evan Bayh doesn't like that! He was bought and paid for by the health care industry, so for him the bill represents "new spending," and the NY Times isn't going to point out that the "new spending" was off-set by other measures in the bill, making Bayh's column in their paper factually incorrect.
So he tells his fellow Democrats that they need to move further to the right, since he knows who's buttering his bread and who's going to be hiring him come January since he's out of office now. The worst part is, some Democrats will listen to him.
Also notable in that blockquote up there is "job creation," considering how Bayh worked against the stimulus. Then again, he doesn't think jobs are created by the government investing in the economy, just by private individuals. Private individuals' money is made from unicorns and faeries and only their dollars spur growth, while government dollars spread pestilence and blight:
So, in the near term, every policy must be viewed through a single prism: does it help the economy grow?
A good place to start would be tax reform. Get rates down to make American businesses globally competitive. Reward savings and investment. Simplify the code to reduce compliance costs and broaden the base. In 1986, this approach attracted bipartisan support and fostered growth.
The stereotype of Democrats as wild-eyed spenders and taxers has been resurrected. To regain our political footing, we must prove to moderates that Democrats can make tough choices. Democrats should ban earmarks until the budget is balanced. The amount saved would be modest -- but with ordinary Americans sacrificing so much, the symbolic power of politicians cutting their own perks is huge.
Democrats should support a freeze on federal hiring and pay increases. Government isn't a privileged class and cannot be immune to the times.
The best way to create jobs is to enact a federal hiring freeze. I mean... sigh. Does he really think that Americans are that stupid?
Evan Bayh was Indiana's George W. Bush: a spoiled child of a senator who got into politics with his father's name and not much else. Neither is particularly Christian but they're both completely willing to use "traditional values" to win elections, since their main goal is to consolidate wealth in the hands of the few.
Bayh would have been a tea bagger if he didn't need the Democrat title to get him into office. And the party is full of Evan Bayhs, and people know it when they see it. No wonder people didn't vote for his anointed successor Brad Ellsworth: if you're a rightwinger, why would you vote for a rightwinger who calls himself a Democrat when you could vote for a rightwinger who calls himself a Republican?
But if you thought they would have gotten the message after this election, that they need to learn to distinguish themselves somehow from Republicans in order to get people to vote for them, well, you were wrong. They only learned that they went too far to the left and now they have to tack to the right.
Expect a revival of bipartisanship now that the Republicans are in charge, except it'll be bipartisan support for rightwing policy.
Evan Bayh thinks that Democrats went too far to the left on LGBT issues these past two years and that's why they lost yesterday. He's not the only Democrat in power who thinks so.