A Winning Argument For Democrats

A very astute commenter, Maureen Holland from Whatever Works blog, posted the following remarks related to a recent piece I posted, Social Security and Journalism’s Failure to Inform“:

Duane, I think Dem’s huge failure at messaging is almost as much to blame as a corporate owned media that’s too lazy to even get it right.

Today’s big issue (and what will be a giant campaign issue) is the matter of income distribution. I think all the Dems, from the Prez on down, use the wrong argument. They talk about ‘rich people’ and ‘fairness’. Those words don’t win them any votes. What they SHOULD be talking about is the danger to our country, to our stability, to our future. They should be talking about the abundant lessons of history.  They should be talking about how loss of income mobility is a recipe for a failed country. They should be right out there – in everyone’s faces – about how this threatens us.

While liberals agree on the moral aspects, that’s not what makes the argument in media or the electorate.

To which I replied:


I couldn’t agree more. My main argument over the last three years on this blog is the one you are making. Apart from the moral issue of fairness or the philosophical issue of societal justice, there is the pragmatic issue of survivability.  Will our country endure as an island of stability and prosperity in the world, if we continue to ignore the (increasing) inequalities that exist among us?

The point is that we (Democrats and the like-minded) have to save capitalism (a proven engine of general prosperity when regulated) from the capitalist extremists among us.  I think the argument framed that way is a winner even among some Republicans, and certainly a clear winner among independents.

Somewhat surprisingly, even Saturday’s Joplin Globe editorial—this coming from a mostly conservative newspaper—acknowledges the problem (the editorial was republished from the Mankato Free Press):

Cheers to the American public for increasingly recognizing that the yawning gap between the wealthiest and the rest of the country is dangerous and unsustainable.

In a new Washington POST/ABC poll, which was mostly gauging Americans’ feelings about presidential candidates, this question was asked:

“What do you think is the bigger problem in this country: unfairness in the economy that favors the wealthy or over-regulation of the free market that interferes with growth and prosperity?”

By a solid 52-37, respondents chose the “unfairness that favors the wealthy” answer.

The Census Bureau reports that income inequality has risen 18 percent since 1967. It climbed every year between 1998 and 2006 before dropping the following year and has been rising since.

Many critics chided the Occupy Wall Street movement as an aimless endeavor with ill-defined goals. But the movement taps into Americans’ unease with too much wealth in too few hands.

Whatever political rhetoric flies, Americans have an innate practical sense about when the pendulum has shifted too far.



  1. Sounds like two intelligent people there.


  2. ansonburlingame

     /  April 22, 2012

    To all,

    HOW is the federal government suppose to redistriutie income becomes the question. The entitlement State is the apparent answer. Take taxes from the rich and give to the poor or potentially poor seems to be the answer. Look at Detroit as a result.

    But now, progressives don’t WANT to “look at Detroit” a failure in anyone’s eyes. Let’s shift the focuse to “potholes” on the Interstate Highway System, our infrastructure.

    Great, fix all the problems in “infrastructure” and show me the results in Detroit! Nada, in my view, along with all the other urban zones of poverty around the country, or even the non-urban zones, like Appalachia. Go read my blog on staying in Hazard, KY for an evening recently.

    Should we take money out of Detroit to fix the Interstate System? No way progressives will say. Fix them both and tax the rich to do so. As well forget national defense. No one is going to invade the U.S. so why worry, right?

    Of course no one will invade the U.S., today. But a few more 9/11 like strikes might occur, right? Or a dirty bomb in NYC, perhaps? Or reduce our nuclear deterrence posture (which American voters have no understanding about) to the point of a, say EMP strike (anyone know what that might be) against all of our unhardened computers and electrical grid and get the American public view on that problem!!!

    Rome, the Ottoman’s, even the British Empire, became streched too thin to control its borders and ultimately declined and then perished.

    America is NOT an Empire always trying to increase it’s borders. But we have forgotten to take care of “here”, domestic issues while trying to influence the world, to the point of becoming the world’s policeman. And the “barbarians” are now starting to ‘rumble”. No, not yet at our gates, but “rumble” for sure. Think China, Russia,(a new type of Russia from the Soviet Union) and even Iran as a regional power in the Middle East.

    If we do not prioritize or needs, domestically and internationally, we will go the same way as Rome, the Ottoman’s and the British Empire as well.

    Do you know the ONLY Empire that did NOT try to expand its borders, substantially, or influence the whole world? The only only one that I am familar with in the last 4,000 years is China.

    But now give them another 50 – 100 years and watch out, in my view. But Presidential elections do not turn on such geopolicital events, do they?



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