Nick Kristof is Not a Nitwit

Living Poor, Voting Rich

One of the Republican Party’s major successes over the last few decades has been to persuade many of the working poor to vote for tax breaks for billionaires. Democrats are still effective on bread-and-butter issues like health care, but they come across in much of America as arrogant and out of touch the moment the discussion shifts to values.

“On values, they are really noncompetitive in the heartland,” noted Mike Johanns, a Republican who is governor of Nebraska. “This kind of elitist, Eastern approach to the party is just devastating in the Midwest and Western states. It’s very difficult for senatorial, Congressional and even local candidates to survive.

[. . .] Democrats peddle issues, and Republicans sell values.”

Let me inject this into the coming conversation: I think we should move the Democratic Party out of Washington.

I think Howard Dean should be drafted by the blogosphere to run the Democratic National Committee.

I think the Democratic Leadership Council’s (so-called “centrist” arm of the Democratic Party) point about reaching out to the vast middle is valid but I don’t agree at all with them that becoming what the Right has been able to define as “centrist” is the way to do it. Corporatism, greed, deregulation and economic inequality are wrong, immoral and bad politics. Just because the Right has been able to create a “conventional wisdom” doesn’t mean we have to accept it. Their argument is that this is what the middle wants so the Democratic Party should accept reality and change to match the “facts on the ground.” My argument is that we need to get back into that national conversation and show them why they don’t really benefit from the Right’s agenda. We can change minds.