Robert Kuttner writes in Saturday's Boston Globe:
"The right has managed to savage the institutions that produced increasing opportunity and a broader middle class in the decades after World War II – minimum wages, trade unionism, job-security, decent health and retirement plans, affordable college and housing, Social Security that rose with inflation, and economic regulation to keep Wall Street from grabbing most of the winnings."
How can the right (who, in the worldview of the Globe Op Ed writers, through their horrid nasty policies seek only to plunder and pillage the poor and middle classes in society on behalf of the wealthy) keep winning elections? Is it that the many voting folks who aren’t wealthy, yet vote Republican, are so profoundly stupid that they can’t recognize their own interests? Or do they believe that beyond all else it is in their interest to have leaders they actually trust?
Is the degree of trust a property that differentiates the two political parties most in the minds of swing voters? I believe it is. Recall how post-election polls reported that even voters who were less confident in Bush felt more certain that they knew where Bush stood – and therefore were more certain of what Bush would actually do in office. It would follow that they weighed Bush’s campaign rhetoric as more genuine and less calculated than Kerry’s.
If the Democrats' credibility doesn’t measure up to their opponents, it stems from the fact that they can’t agree to disagree the way the Republicans have done. The Republican coalition consists of a number of ideological strains stretching from Christianist to Libertarian. Not all of us are pleased with Bush. Certainly the fiscal conservatives are not reaping great rewards from their help in electing the current administration. Yet Republicans seem united in the realization that despite flaws, they far prefer Bush to acting as opposition to what they believe would have been a national disaster under Kerry.
By contrast, the Democrats are unable even to converge on a single wording of a non-binding Senate resolution on the single issue of the Iraq war. Instead they offered two separate resolutions, and six Democratic Senators voted for neither of these and instead with the Republicans. Furthermore, Senator Clinton even celebrates this disunity (at least in comments for public consumption) as indicating a more open, honest party. After the votes in the Senate this week she said, "Although unity is important it is not the most important value. It is, I think, a tribute to the Democratic Party at this moment in time that we are honestly and openly struggling with a lot of the difficult issues facing our country."