So much for the bad news. How about the good news? Well, it seems to me
that the Democrats are in some serious long-term political trouble. It’s
too late for Peter Beinart to restore the Democrats’ “fighting
faith.” Instead of purging MoveOn.org, the Democrats are busy purging Joe
Lieberman. I can’t believe anyone thinks that reports of secret sniffing
for nuclear bombs will do anything but help the president.
If she keeps triangulating, it’s not inconceivable that Hillary will be
our next president. But even if she squeaks through (unlikely, I think),
the Democrats as a whole have typed themselves as the party of weakness for
the remaining lifetime of everyone now reading this post. Future terrorism
will inevitably push the country to the right. Demographic pressure on the
welfare state is also likely to put the Republicans in the drivers seat
over the long term. So far at least, Alito looks like he’ll be
confirmed. If that happens, it will have set a political precedent for a
genuinely conservative third nominee, likely before the end of the
president’s term. So while our political-cultural battles aren’t going
away, the dream of a long-term era of Republican dominance is very much alive.
I think this is what’s driving a lot of the ongoing Bush-hatred. In so
many ways, even at the movies and in the news media, the left is seeing its
taken-for-granted cultural dominance challenged. This drives them crazy,
while driving them further left. So we’ll see tougher battles and more
crazy cultural radicalism. But a long-term moderate shift rightward is
remains a real possibility.