Fat Steve's Blatherings

Monday, March 28, 2005

The Culture Wars: A Thought Experiment

      Over at First Things, James Neuchterlain has a long essay-review of What's the Matter with Kansas?, by Thomas Frank.  It's worth reading if you have the time.

      But it stimulated a thought.  At one point, Frank is quoted as writing:
[Democrats] have left themselves vulnerable to cultural wedge issues like guns and abortion and the rest whose hallucinatory appeal would ordinarily be far overshadowed by material concerns.”

      OK, Democrats, I have your Republican Killer option here for you: concede on the cultural issues.  Let abortion get restricted, abandon all thought of gun control, go along with the 'cultural wedge issues,' and preach your class-war gospel with it.  You'll be headed right back to being the majority party . . .

      Oh, wait, I'm hearing a cry from the audience.  It says that these cultural issues are important matters of principal, and the Democratic Party couldn't even think of compromising them.  They have to be defended because they are right, just, etc.

      And there we have what's wrong with Frank, and why the Dems keep losing.  The issues are matters of principal, and both sides believe deeply in their position.  Frank doesn't really want to drop them from politics.  He wants the people who vote Republican to forget about them and vote Democratic for class reasons, while the Democratic activists get their way on the cultural issues.

      It ain't in the cards.  The Conservatives/Republicans are in the majority, and they won't shut up about cultural issues because the Liberals/Democrats would like them to.



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