In 1942, the editor of the FORTUNE, the magazine that was the flagship publication of American Capitalism had this to say,
“We demand an economic system that will yield every man, woman and child reasonable economic security against want and poverty, and reasonable economic opportunity for advancement, the development of talents, education, expansion and adventure. There is a minimum, not of subsistence, but of decency, at which every member of a modern state has a claim to economic protection. If we are to build a true democracy, this must be accepted as a fundamental economic right.” ___ Russell Davenport, editor, FORTUNE
Yet now in 2013, we have a “Democratic (?)” President actually willing to cut Social Security, who has already slashed Food Stamps, and compromised worker rights. This President’s Republican opposition striving to out-promise the President in giveaways to the upper 1% are intent on revoking voting rights, crushing unions and eliminating taxation for the rich.
How did we get to the point where the Conservative of 1942 would be regarded as a Radical in 2013 while contemporary Conservatives seek to legislate a program that would make Lucius Sulla blush for shear audacity?
Methinks the trouble lies in the virtues of modern liberal politicians. Compromise has been turned from an occasional tactic to a central operating principle. They think they are being virtuous when they are instead exemplifying true vice.
My outstanding memory of Harry Reid, Democratic leader in the Senate, was when he stood on the Senate floor to plead, nay beg, the opposition,
“Tell us what you want. We believe in compromise, just work with us and we’ll give you what you want”.
Now inasmuch as the Democrats had yet to make a proposal on which they could compromise, Leader Reid was willing to compromise BEFORE even stating what the Democrats might have the temerity to want. The to goal wasn’t to fulfill a principle or to craft a policy but merely pass something, anything, just as long as it got the Republicans involved. That’s not compromise, that’s surrender.
As Paul Wellstone frequently, but truthfully, joked, before we launch a third party into American politics, we need to found a Second Party. There is an intransigent heavyweight Republican Party and there is a mushy featherweight Democratic Party willing to sell their children into slavery as long as the Republicans give them an occasional pat on the head.
It’s long past time that we have an Opposition Party in American politics, one willing to take on the Party of the One Percenters, in its Democratic and Republican wings, and stand up for the Ninety-Nine Percent.