The Obama administration’s pursuit of electoral victory in 2012 seems to be based on abandoning private-sector middle-class and white working-class voters. As Thomas Edsall rightly argued recently in the New York Times, the Democrats have become a top-bottom coalition comprising, at one end, highly educated professionals—many of whom work for government or are beneficiaries of government subsidies—and, at the other end, low-income recipients of government welfare benefits. But this isn’t a new model. New Yorkers who remember John Lindsay’s mayoralty from 1966 to 1973 will recall the devastating impact that a similar top-bottom strategy had on the city.You'd think rent control would have done something to keep affordable housing in New York, but that's not what happened.
Only those at the top and the bottom could fully recognize, albeit for different reasons, the sins of American middle-class society. Liberalism had become a matter of style, and the rich were becoming part of the liberal coalition. The middle class was the problem—and soon enough, the middle class had a problem with New York liberals. The city, which hemorrhaged 600,000 jobs in the wake of Lindsay’s second term, suffered a massive emigration of middle-class residents during the 1970s. New York careened into the fiscal crisis of 1975 and near-bankruptcy. The city recovered from those calamities eventually, but the Left’s top-bottom approach in New York has never really changed since.Manhattan might be home to wealthy people, including more than a few recipients of farm subsidies. But many of the finance and trading house jobs are now in Jersey City, as are the homes of many of the workers.
Now, under President Obama, the top-bottom alliance has gone national. Though the president may, like Lindsay before him, find a way to get reelected, the Democrats will pay a steep price for alienating the middle class.
You might expect City Journal to identify cultural rot as a consequence of radical chic. A daughter of a prominent Democratic politician, however?
[Alexandra] Pelosi then noted that the doorman’s family used to vote Democratic. Now Joe is a Republican, as is her chauffeur Demitri.Charlie Sykes elaborates.
According to Pelosi, the welfare society is causing Democrats to lose votes.
“We have to address the fact that this is why Democrats are losing ground. And this is a problem in America. The entitlement culture has gotten so big that we are losing our own people,” she said.
In the alchemy of the new entitlement culture, freedom and the pursuit of happiness are transformed into a demand for free stuff that makes her happy. You could argue with her that freedom means something other than free stuff and that the pursuit of happiness was never intended to imply a guarantee of taxpayer-financed bliss. But she knows what she wants, and she wants it for free. Romney, to his credit, told the woman that if she wanted free stuff, she should “vote for the other guy.”That's part of it. Another part might be the possibility that prominent Democratic Members of Congress rely on the votes of angry and frustrated constituents to hold their offices.
Romney continued, “Politicians get up and promise you all kinds of free stuff, more and more stuff that you won’t have to pay for, and you know what? We get elected that way, in many cases, politicians do. That’s not something I subscribe to.”
But the Romney heckler illustrated the way in which wants have been transformed into “rights” in America and ultimately into obligations and entitlements. The process can be illustrated this way: “I want you to buy me lunch. Therefore, I need lunch. And if I need something, I have a right to it – and you, therefore, have an obligation to pay for it.”
Rep. Rush represents a district on the South Side of Chicago that's primarily black, incredibly violent and desperately in need of positive leadership, on the home front. On a nearly daily basis, young black men are murdered where they stand -- the casualties of a block-by-city-block drug war that left SEVEN people fatally dead in one weekend. Three people lost their lives in a triple homicide just last night. Channeling their gallow's humor, the Chicago PD have taken to calling it "March Madness."There are more than a few Members of Congresses who reliably provide Our President with support for his legislative agenda, whose districts could be described as similarly crime-challenged, and one has to wonder how long those Members would remain in office with a change in the economic and cultural conditions of their districts.
Since 2008, 80 percent of the 530 young people under the age of 21 who have been killed in Chicago lived in the city's South, Southwest and West sides. Englewood, a neighborhood represented by Rep. Rush, was perhaps the worst -- it boasts a murder rate five times that of the rest of the city.
So where is their congressional representative to be found? Certainly not beating the drum for an end to violence in his home district. No he's too busy hamming it up for Congress, because that's where the cameras are, and the black-on-black crime that's bleeding his district doesn't fan the flames of racial friction like a media-manufactured lynching.