Fat Steve's Blatherings

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Democrats Are Urged to Bayonet Charge the Machine Guns

      The New Republic has an article by Thomas Mann showing both why it is so seldom worth reading anymore, and why the Dems keep losing.  The article attempts to apply the insights of Robert Axelrod's marvelous book The Evolution of Cooperation to the Socialist Insecurity debate. (via RealClearPolitics, Saturday, March 19th)

      The article's advice is that the Democrats should set their face against Personal Savings Accounts, and refuse to lift a finger on SS until W. renounces the accounts, permanently.  Only then should they make any suggestions or negotiate in any way about keeping SS solvent.

      In the first place, the effort is intellectually lame.  Axelrod's book revolves around a two-player game called "Prisoner's Dilemma." Politics is a multi-player game involving your side, the other party, the voter bases of both parties, and the swing vote.  Mann concentrates solely on the Democratic and Republican legislators.  This makes his argument meaningless.

      In the real world, the Democrats need to convince voters they should be elected.  Making unconditional demands on the President, and refusing to do anything to solve a problem, is perfectly calculated to alienate a large chunk of voters.

      Secondly, stock market investments of social security funds by willing participants are favored by 56% of the public, versus 41% opposed, according to a recent Washington Post-ABC poll.  Furthermore, the proposal has always had majority support since the Post-ABC poll started asking the question in May of 2000.  Another poll shows that support is strongest among the youngest voters.

      So Mann's strategy is to anger one of the few groups who voted for Kerry last election.  Send them a message: 'Your preferences and future don't count with us.'

      As a Republican, I sincerely hope the Democrats follow this strategy.



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