January 14, 2005

Parallel Universes

Robert Kuttner must be living in some alternate dimension. In his world

There's a standard story about partisan gridlock: The American electorate is mostly middle of the road. The voters want the parties to work together and solve national problems. Both parties have become captured by extremists.

As columnist David Broder has written, "Washington has become such a partisan cockpit, with constant sniping between the parties on Capitol Hill and gridlock in the House and Senate."

The voters have to be sick of partisan wrangling and worried about unsolved national ills. But everything else about this fable is wrong.

For starters, one party has indeed been captured by extremists, but the other one has moved steadily toward the center.

In this world, we have a Democrat party that has abandoned it's tentative thoughts on Social Security reform to go full blown obstructionist (even the DLC is going to denounce them). History seems to be in scarce supply in Kuttner's parallel universe. Bill Clinton's Social Security commission proposals to privatize never happened over there and only Bush's "commission stacked with members committed to one outcome -- privatization" ever existed.

Radically reconstructing civil marriage through the courts instead of the legislature in this world turns into a kumbayah desire for tolerance "[o]nly on issues of tolerance -- gay rights, women's rights, rights of the disabled, affirmative action -- have Democrats continued to push democracy outward, and they have paid dearly." Perhaps they've paid dearly because a working majority of american voters understand that tolerance isn't what is being pushed here.

The parallel universe comparisons go on and on. Democrats won't ever gain power again without coming out of their alternate universes and gaining a better appreciation of the real one that we all live in. In the old days, you used to be able to get away with this sort of trickery because ordinary people had limited access to alternative story lines and news facts. That world is gone forever and good riddance.

Posted by TMLutas at January 14, 2005 01:45 PM