This has been a week that shows us how far to the left the Democrats have gone. Both the "phony soldier" story and the SCHIP story remind us that the Democrats are a party that has changed greatly in the last 40 years. They are nearing the edge of the abyss of totalitarianism -- but as we will see, the Republicans are not far behind.
It's obvious from the fact that Rush Limbaugh recorded a morning update about Jesse Macbeth the day before that he was referring to phony soldiers -- people who lied about their service in the military -- when he mentioned phony soldiers on the air. Media Matters distorted the words to mean soldiers Limbaugh disagreed with, as if he were questioning the service of soldiers who want America out of Iraq. Prominent Democrats such as Harry Reid and Tom Harkin accepted the Media Matters spin and attacked Limbaugh on the Senate floor.
The story displays two of the most ominous characteristics of the New Leftist Democrats: their contempt for the truth and their penchant for character assassination. The facts about Limbaugh don't seem to matter to the left; they believe he deserves to be attacked, therefore smears against him are true. They believe what they want to believe.
While attacks on Limbaugh delight the base, they don't help Democrats with the rest of America. David Paul Kuhn writes in Politico that the Democrats are losing white male voters, a bloc that is 36% of all voters. White males, independents and other voters the Democrats desperately need will only be put off by the virulent attacks on Limbaugh. It's obvious to these voters that the Limbaugh smear is a ginned-up "gotcha!"
(As for wooing the white male vote, the Democrats are in a terrible bind. The premise of multiculturalism and the broader premises of egalitarianism and altruism will undermine any effort by the Democrats to win white male voters. White males are the ones with power, so they must be made to sacrifice to minorities and women. Any cynical pandering to white males would be an affront to their morality and would make their base unhappy.)
At issue is the State Children's Health Insurance Program, known as Schip, which was created to subsidize children's health care for families that earn as much as twice the federal poverty level, currently $41,000 for a family of four. The vetoed compromise proposal would expand the $25 billion program by $35 billion over the next five years. The additional money would come from raising the cigarette taxes by 61 cents to $1 per pack.
President Bush deserves credit for this veto, but note the next paragraph in this story:
Bush has proposed increasing funding for the program by $5 billion over five years. Some Republicans say the compromise would unnecessarily expand the program to include families who can afford to pay for health care.
Bush's opposition does not seem to be one of principle, but a question of how much should be spent. Bush is proposing a typical pragmatic compromise, the kind of thing that has helped the welfare state grow over the last century or so. By conceding the principle that SCHIP is worthy of funding -- $5 billion, at least -- Bush has lost the war in the long run.
SCHIP is a step toward socialized medicine, a grim future that looks inevitable under Democrats or Republicans. The Dems might get us there a little faster, but the "compassionate conservatives" will get us there as well.
Allen Forkum noted in Final Bow,
...anything seems more appealing than immersing myself in the sewer of daily politics.
Days like this I can certainly understand his point of view. Politicians in the welfare state give us little to admire; instead they are at best studies in mediocrity, at worst studies in power-lust.
Fortunately, I get to rehearse Monna Vanna in tonight in Hollywood, and immerse myself in great art. Politics is for an age; art is for the ages.