June 27, 2006

A Plague on Both Their Whited Sepulchers?

I like Colorado columnist Paul Campos. He's not predictable, and he doesn't parrot a party line.

In this column, he points to the differences between the major parties' elites and their bases:
What the Republican elites really care about is making sure that as much money as possible flows into their bank accounts. To placate their base, they're willing to make sympathetic noises about issues like abortion and gay marriage, but when push comes to shove they either don't care very much about those issues, or, in many cases, they themselves hold liberal views on such matters.

Conversely, what the Democratic elites really care about are cultural issues. They may cluck their tongues about the destruction of another labor union, but what they're actually willing to fight for are things like liberal abortion laws and gay marriage. And, truth be told, they don't find big tax cuts for the rich that distasteful, for reasons that are obvious when one considers that they come from the same economic class as their Republican counterparts.

Hence we'll soon be a nation in which the rich gay married couples will pay no estate taxes.
A while ago there was a bit of a splash about a book called What's the Matter With Kansas, whose thesis was that the GOP had convinced ordinary people in Kansas (and presumably elsewhere) to vote against their own true (read: economic) interests, Whether economic interests are always the "true" ones is not obvious to me, but that was the author's thesis.

For Campos, our politics is distorted by disconnects betwee élite and base in both major parties. The GOP preaches a cultural crusade but is only going through the motions, while the gut issues for the Democratic activists don't have to do with economic inequality or insecurity, but the flip side of the culture wars.

An interesting piece.

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