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The Democratic Party Runs on Empty

Bob Tyrrell

By Bob Tyrrell

Published Jan. 8, 2015

  The Democratic Party Runs on Empty
As the Republicans settle into the House of Representatives and the Senate, with in the House's case their largest margin in 86 years and in the Senate's case about as healthy a margin as they could have gained in 2014, the talk in major media is of the Republicans' many problems. As the Washington Post put it in a front-page headline, "Rancor in GOP flares ..." The Democrats should suffer from such "rancor."

I wonder how the local press is handling the Republicans' takeover across the nation. The Republicans have gained control of 24 state governments, from the governors' mansions to the state legislatures. The Democrats have only managed to hang on to similar dominance in seven states down, down from 13 in 2014. Any way you look at it, these are palmy times for the Republicans, unless you are looking through the bloodshot eyes of a Democrat or a camouflaged Democrat, say, a member of the press corps.

Ever since the days of the New Deal, the Democratic Party has been heavily influenced by liberalism. In recent decades it has only been influenced by liberalism. As I wrote in an imperishable little book a couple of years ago, in recent times we have been witnessing "The Death of Liberalism." Occasionally, even the mainstream media catches on. When former New York governor Mario Cuomo died last week, the media echoed with the refrain that a venerable "old-time liberal" had passed on.

In this instance they were accurate. Cuomo, an old-time liberal, really was dead. Moreover, there are not many more old-time liberals to send off to their reward. The Democratic Party is now dominated by another wonder in its intellectual evolution, the crony capitalist. He, she or it is far to the left of yesteryear's liberals. They sound like President Barack Obama orating in Roanoke, Virginia in 2012: "If you've got a business, you didn't build that." And his former secretary of state Hillary Clinton offering her variation on the same statist theme: "Don't let anybody tell you that, you know, it's corporations and businesses that create jobs."

These are the beliefs of crony capitalists, politicians who believe that there are banks and other corporations that are too big to fail. So they shovel money to them in return for favors. They endow environmental friendly companies like Solyndra and ECOtality with government largess. By the time these boondoggles have failed, the crony capitalist has moved on to other swindles under the rubric of helping the environment, ameliorating poverty or a dozen other urgent causes.

As to the moribund condition of the Democratic Party, consider its presidential field. Of the Democrats' likely candidates there are only two, Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren, unless the Democrats' good-time Charlies can manage to nominate Vice President Joe Biden, who, incidentally, is my candidate. When he ran for vice president he was a lot of laughs. Can you imagine the hilaritas if he ran for president? Otherwise the Democrats are left only with the likes of ex-governor Martin O'Malley from Maryland and someone by the name of Webb. By the way, if Hillary were to run she would be 69. Warren has the gift of youth. She is 65.

How did the Democrats ever get into such a pickle? Well, I think the best answer is provided by the Wall Street Journal's insightful observer, James Taranto. We again resort to his eponymous "Taranto Principle." As Taranto explains it, the mainstream media in its slavish support of the Democrats no matter what only encourages their worst instincts. No sensible liberal has had a chance against the growing field of crony capitalists in years. Thus the Democrats only get more radical, and the liberals go the way of Mario Cuomo. That explains the sorry condition of the modern Democratic Party, a party left with only two presidential candidates, Clinton and Warren. Neither will be as much fun as Biden.

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R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator, a political and cultural monthly, which has been published since 1967. He's also the author of several books.

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