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Conservative Marriage on the Rocks?

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Allan Carlson gets it.  In the current Weekly Standard, he asks if the marriage between social conservatives and the GOP can be saved.  His case in point:  the bankruptcy bill.  Dr. Carlson makes the point that when Republicans had to make the choice between their big business allies and the millions of hard-working families who put them in office, the politicians enthusiastically chose the financial services giants over the families.  And he’s pretty hot about it.

 

Dr. Carlson frames the issue in terms of party politics, a rip at the center of the Republican alliance between big business and small families.  But the central point is even larger:  Whether politicians represent corporate interests or family interests is a national question, pervading both Democratic and Republican politics. 

Dr. Carlson uses as his primary example the 2005 bankruptcy bill.  He is willing to allow that some reforms might have been needed, but he sees the bill for what it was:  “the GOP's opting for an outcome that's good for Citibank's profits while disregarding the effects on families.”  I add a loud “Amen,” and then point out that plenty of Democrats made the same election. 

 

For years, Senator Joe Biden vied with Republican Senators Charles Grassley and Oren Hatch for head cheerleader for this bill.  Even as he tried to position his national image as a strong supporter of women, Senator Biden was twisting arms to get the bankruptcy bill through Congress.  And a host of other Democratic senators and representatives voted for the bill, creating a bi-partisan coalition to prefer powerful corporation over hard-working families.  

 

To be sure, Democrats were the only ones to oppose the bankruptcy bill, and folks like Russ Feingold, Ted Kennedy, Dick Durbin, Chris Dodd, Jerry Nadler, and Sheila Jackson-Lee put up a spirited defense.  But the Democrats never organized themselves as a party to oppose the bankruptcy bill, leaving Democrats free to do the bidding of the powerful financial services industry. 

 

Dr. Carlson makes clear that there are a group of issues that travel together under the banner “pro-family,” but that family economics are at the heart of it.  Whether someone believes that mothers should be at home with their children or should be earning alongside their husbands in the workplace, no one who is truly pro-family would embrace laws that tighten the economic grip on the American family.  Putting the family at the mercy of larger economic forces that drive both parents into the workforce just to try to cover a mortgage and health insurance hurts all families, and leaving those families without a safety net when someone gets sick or loses a job devastates families across the political spectrum. 

 
Dr. Carlson recounts the history of the shifting support of Democrats and Republican for family issues, making it clear that no one owns the votes of hard-working families.  Politicians in both parties might want to listen to the warning in his words. 

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Republican policy has always been corporate policy.  To cite a perfect example, Ronald Reagan went on national television to swing a few Senate votes for the sale of AWACS to Saudi Arabia.  He never did such a thing for the stalled Human Life amendment.  The social conservatives got rhetoric, the corporate interests got real stuff.

 

Bush and Rove believe that the cultural right can be bought off with judges (who, conveniently, also favor corporate interests), plus a few scraps of "faith-based" funding here and there.

 

Corporate interests are expensive.  The deficit has gotten out of control because of the expensive demands of the energy industry, arms dealers, pharmaceuticals, and the like.  These clients need programs, subsidies, contracts, tax breaks, and an occasional war.  Toss the religiuous right an Alito and they will do their duty for the GOP.  They are a cheap date.

 

 Who really controls the Republican Party?  Follow the money.

 

 

 

Thanks for the link. Hadn't read the Standard in quite a while. There are certainly some interesting bits about the long history of gender politics and party identification, as well as challenging points in there. For instance:

Democratic strategist Stanley Greenberg, who actually coined the phrase "Reagan Democrats," argues that "a new, family-centered politics can define and revitalize the Democratic party." Its message should highlight "family integrity and parental responsibility" and offer a "progressive vision of family support." Greenberg even theorizes that "Roman Catholics would [again] rally to a Democratic party respectful of family and committed to defending government's unique role in supporting it."

If the Democratic party remains the party of the sexual revolution, as its open yearning for same-sex marriage suggests it may, such dreams will remain just that. However, if a Democratic leader can ever shake that monkey off his--or her--back, and if this occurs in conjunction with an economic downturn, the prospects for another broad political realignment are fairly high. A new economic populism, delivering child-sensitive benefits and skewering predatory banks and bureaucrats, could work politically for a clever Democrat.

 

 

The Republican controlled Congress has supported the legislative agenda of their financial supporters and fulfilled all the expectations of the latter. Democrats can claim some ambiguity on this issue. Whether this would hold true in present-day terms in similar circumstances is an open question. The corporate influence landscape has altered significantly since Dems have had a chance to exercise control so whether they would succumb to corporate pressure to the degree the Republicans have is an unknown. Traditionally this would be easier to answer but like the stay at home mom and working dad, tradition has largely been abandoned for reasons too numerous to mention. However, to say it is about money and the devisement of ways to make it establishes the notion that change has frequently had only to do with making money and has offered little in the way of actually improving the condition of the family unit and has for the most part done just the opposite.

 

The only thing for certain is the horse is out of the barn on this, never to return.

 

thepeoplechoose

When did the Republicans ever stand up working families? Of course, they can throw out terms like "family values" when it helps manipulate working families, but actually sharing and supporting their interests is another matter.

 

Since he's disavowing the side of the Republican alliance that is the corporate party line, one has to ask what side he's trying preserve by spinning "family" his way. Is he a libertarian with that religious faith that unregulated markets will save us all and therefore truly be family centered? Or is he just expressing his annoyance that he has been caught red handed?  Either way, at least it's a sign that the coalition is falling apart in the face of popular resentment of the Bush administration, with which no one wants to be associated.

 

Oh, excuse me, I forgot:  it's the Democrats who are an unruly, illogical coalition of special interest groups. So of course I must be wrong. Thanks to Michael Lind for his usual reminder that anyone to the left of Goldwater is corrupt.

John 

http://www.haberarts.com/

grayday101

This question addresses the title, though not the topic, of your post (sorry!)  Why is the divorce rate substantially higher in the Conservative, religious, "Family values" states?  I have never seen it mentioned, but the states with the highest rates are all red states.  Is there some kind of disconnect, or don't Blue Staters bother to marry?  Baffling!

 See it here:

 http://www.divorcemag.com/statistics/statsUS2.s html

 

Someone responded to a comment I made on another thread referring to this as a Republican bill.  They pointed out that there were Democrats that voted for this bill, too.  That is true, but the Democrats that voted for this law all came from credit card states (Joe Biden, Delaware, home of MBNA; Tim Johnson, South Dakota, home of CitiBank and several small consumer companies; and Harry Reid, Nevada, home of Household Bank.)  However, the Republicans were all for it as a matter of ideology.  The Republicans were "true believers."

 

This was ultimately a Republican law.  There were Democrats who gave them cover, but it was still a Republican deal.

 

Find the Truth. Do Justice.

As someone who does family law cases in a red red state, these are the things that I see:

 

1.  Drug use by one or both parties.  (Particularly methamphetamines -- it is destroying the country!)

2.  Infidelity by one or both parties.

3.  Irresponsible financial spending by one or both parties.  (We need to start teaching the principle of "delayed gratification."  A lot of credit messes are related to people not following this principle.  I see a lot of young couples that are buying the biggest house they can squeeze their budgets into, so when something goes wrong such as a job loss or medical expense, they don't have any savings to fall back on.  This leads to stress in the marriage and can lead to divorce.)

4.  Difference in values over raising children.

5.  Lack of good dispute resolution skills.

 

I think part of it is in my home state (Oklahoma), the jurisdictional residency time limit is 6 months and a divorce without children can be finished in as little as ten days.  I think it may be one of the quickest in the country.

 

However, it is very ironic that the most religious states in the country are also the ones with the highest amount of social dysfunction and family conflict.

 

I have some theories about why this is, but I will have to save it for later.

 

Find the Truth. Do Justice.

With the changing political fortunes of the two parties, we can expect to see a flood of corporate money coming into the Democratic Party to buy influence and ensure the primacy of corporate interests in the face of the Republican implosion. For progressives it means that our most basic fight is the one within the party. It is much more important to defeat Lieberman in the primary than it is to help Lieberman in the general election. And this battle will be going on all over the country. While it will be necessary for the party leadership to throw some scraps to the progressive base, watch carefully as the big money boys come in and take seats at the table as if they had been supporting Democrats the last 10 years. In any case, there is a very clear tug-of-war going on in the Democratic Party which will determine if electoral victory translates into a real change in policy.

Mr. Lind does not believe that anyobdy to the left of Barry Goldwater is corrupt.  The mere fact that he feels that the Democratic Party should focus on expanding public sector employment (think WPA/CETA) than gay marriage does not make him a rightwing reactionary (it merely means that he feels we should compromise social issues to secure economic ones instead of vice versa).  Such a set of choices is debatable of course but does not make him the enemy.

I have to disagree that Lind's liberal on economic policy, and, jalrin, you're attacking a straw man if you think my concern is for identity politics or gay marriage, which I've hesitently questioned in TPM more than once.  Seems to me that paper after paper on economics, retirement policy, etc., from Lind's group amounts to privitization solutions no different from a Republican agenda. Indeed, my concern on the immigration front isn't racism, bad as that is, but economics: whenever you see someone pitting one group low on the totem pole against another still lower, rather than uniting them to fight handouts ot the rich, you hear wingnut. Get used to it. If he really is in favor of New Deal-like programs, I'm waiting to hear about it.

John 

http://www.haberarts.com/

Re: This was ultimately a Republican law.  There were Democrats who gave them cover, but it was still a Republican deal.

 

Back in the 90s when this godawful law was first proposed, Bill Clinton promised to sign it should lit reach his desk.

Was he a GOP wolf in sheep's clothing too?

No the bankruptcy bill was a bipartisan screwing of the citizenry.

Funny, but I haven't heard many professional Democratic politicians talking about correcting any of the serious problems in the current bankruptcy law.  Neither have I heard them talking about bringing the credit card companies under some sort of control.  Only a few of them have had the gumption to even mention health care, and only in ways that do not threaten the insurance industry.

 

Folks I am not sure the corporate fix isn't already in.  Unless and until middle class and working people of this country find a way to get the attention of the political classes,  the corporate rich will get a little richer while the country gets much poorer.   

 

Ron Byers

Growing up as a Democrat in Minnesota I'm sometimes blown away at how corrupt the Democratic party is. Why did Biden support the credit bill so vehemently? Did he really believe it was in the best interests of working Americans? I don't see how he could have. What was his motivation?

 

I remember when the Democratic party stood up for the American worker at all costs. But now they have distanced themselves from unions, liberalism, and socialism. During the last 20 years they have lost their way, which is way I recommend all voters out there to STOP VOTING DEMOCRAT. If there isn't a third-party candidate, just don't vote for that particular election.

 

Another 10 years of Republican control should sufficiently destroy much of the country and give birth to a viable third party, one which will replace the Democratic party. I really do not see any way out of this political corruption mess; not when both parties participate so eagerly in the corruption.

Re: Another 10 years of Republican control should sufficiently destroy much of the country

 

Excuse me, but some of us have to live in this country and don't want to see it (and our lives) destroyed.

Yes, there are some bad Democrats out there but on their worst day they are still far, far superior to the GOP. If you don't believe me compare the 90s to the present decade. Enough said!

Folks I am not sure the corporate fix isn't already in. 

 

See also Nathan Newman's post today, about a new Florida law that gets rid of "joint and several liability," which will make things significantly easier for companies facing suit for pollution and other forms of malfeasance. 

If you say so. But I think the GOP has learned to beat the pants off the Democrats and unless they figure out a way to fight back, they are useless. I live in this country too, I don't want my life destroyed but I'm trying to think about the greater good and not my own personal problems that will undoubtedly arise from more GOP control of the government.

 

I don't see how a corrupt political process can be uncorrupted without at least some sort of "revolution" initiated by the people. And I believe that the type of revolution could come in the form of a real opposition party - a new party. It won't come from the political consultants that call the shots at the Democratic Party. They are too adverse to risk. By supporting the hapless Dems, we continue to feed the beast of corruption.

 

I actually believe the Dems could reform themselves if they lose a few more national elections, they will see the writing on the wall. They just haven't suffered enough, none of us have. 

I believe that the type of revolution could come in the form of a real opposition party - a new party 

I totally agree with this statement.  Someone has to shake up the centralization of power that is occuring in our Federal Government.  However, after what I saw happen to Ross Perot, who would have won the race had he stayed in, I don't believe an independent candidate or a third party candidate would succeed.  The centralization of power has become too highly developed and any outsider that has a good chance of winning a presidential election is going to get their life threatened, their families lives threatened, and very possibly assasinated soon after taking office if they do stick it out through the election. 

 

I know Ross Perot, and I know that he is not a quitter.  We'll probably never know the real story, but I think we probably wouldn't believe it if we heard it.

 

It is going to take more than a third political party to shake things up. 

 

Jim Anderson

www.lighthouseonline.net

 

Re:  I live in this country too, I don't want my life destroyed but I'm trying to think about the greater good and not my own personal problems that will undoubtedly arise from more GOP control of the government.

 

The greater good? Um, how is that supposed to arise from more (and worse) of the same? Your attitude seems to be "This country is so dumb that it deserves to be shafted forever by the GOP." and maybe you should think about your personal life more. If people really looked to their own self-interest, not labels and ideologies, Bush and his unmerry men would never have been electred in the first place.

"If people really looked to their own self-interest, not labels and ideologies, Bush and his unmerry men would never have been electred in the first place."

 

I see what you are saying here, and I agree with you. My point is that the corruption that exists in our government is so entrenched that radical change can only come from the people, not the politicians. And I personally do not believe that there are enough pissed off people in this country, not yet. I
don't want this country to suffer, I want everyone to be happy, prosperous, and peaceful.

 

On the other hand, Tom Delay announced his resignation today. Maybe the system is working and I'm just too impatient. This is really good news. Bush and Co. could end up just going down in history as another Nixon and not some great force that destroys this nation. It's possible. I'm hopeful today. 

Why is the divorce rate substantially higher in the Conservative, religious, "Family values" states?  I have never seen it mentioned, but the states with the highest rates are all red states

because a state is red, does not mean that a majority of the residents are conservatives, it only means that a majority of the voters who voted in the election, were conservative. 

If the Democratic party remains the party of the sexual revolution, as its open yearning for same-sex marriage suggests it may, such dreams will remain just that. However, if a Democratic leader can ever shake that monkey off his--or her--back, and if this occurs in conjunction with an economic downturn, the prospects for another broad political realignment are fairly high.

Yes. I firmly believe that this is the monkey on the back of the party that must be thrown off if Dems are ever to recapture the WH. Abortion is a hot button, put nothing approaches the attacks on family, marriage and religion, like same-sex marriage.

 

Hilliary has been a staunch and powerful legal advocate for children's right and she could easily adopt 'family integrity and parental responsibility' as a core plank in her campaign. Women and families across America would respond to the message.

As I listened to Ford being sworn in, I was, appropriately enough, driving past the Watergate. Just after it was over, Warren Burger whispered to himself, but was caught on mike, "It worked. The system worked."

I have often wondered what made the Chief Justice say that. Wonder? Gratitude? Thanks?

Re: If the Democratic party remains the party of the sexual revolution, as its open yearning for same-sex marriage suggests it may, such dreams will remain just that.

 

Huh???

Every serious Democrat candidate for national office has disavowed same sex marriage ad nauseam.

Every serious Democrat candidate for national office has disavowed same sex marriage ad nauseam.

Huh? Not Russ Feingold....he supports same-sex marriage.

So what if the Dems are as homophobic as Repubs? I have a better idea, remove all legal benefits to being married. Why should married people be treated any differently than single people? Government sponsorship of marriage is just more Christian bullshit, "support the family."

Let's get rid of it alltogether, marriage shouldn't be recognized by the government whatsoever. I'm married but I don't see why I should get any special treatment as a result.

I  disagree.

Why is the divorce rate substantially higher in the Conservative, religious, "Family values" states?

Because the silly stats at divorcemag.com are based on divorce as a percentage of the POPULATION, not as a percentage of MARRIAGES. For more information see http://bennett.com/blog/index.php/archives/2004/12/04/damn-lies-and-statistics/.

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