Overview of U.S. Politics 

Overview of U.S. Politics

1. Atrios: not for taxes:

[blockquote]I don't know any "big government liberals" in the sense that Andy [Sullivan] means. I don't know anybody who gets a stiffy at the thought of raising taxes and increasing government spending as a share of GDP just for the hell of it. Liberals I know tend to think there are things government should do and we should, roughly, figure out how to pay for those things, though we're not entirely allergic to deficit spending. When taxes have to go up to cover interest and debt repayment costs no liberals I know are going to go "YAY! HIGHER TAXES! WOO HOOO!"[/blockquote]

For a long time the Left was tarred as idealistic utopians, addicted to ways of doing things no matter what the consequences. I have no real opinion on whether that criticism was ever true, but in any case it's something which has been embraced wholesale by the Right. They have a small government fetish, and that fetish is linked almost entirely to the top marginal federal income tax rate. Liberals have no such corresponding fetish for "big government" even if they tend to be fans of some government programs conservatives like to demonize as being "big government liberalism." No one's going to enjoy sweeping up after Bush's fiscal train wreck.

I wonder if people like Sullivan truly don't understand this, if they're unable to see beyond their own silly worldview, or if they're just full of it.

I take this to mean the Republicans have won on taxes. Regardless of any argument about whether any program, new or old, makes sense, and regardless, perhaps surprisingly, of deficits, there must be an effort to cut taxes, and keep them low.

2, Americans are pro-choice, and some version of universal health care may be coming to the U.S. (Yglesias)

There are signs that liberal Democrats have won on social issues. One problem they have in campaigns is that it is not easy for them to identify the next dragon that needs to be slain. They almost have to pretend that a pathetic, even chimp-like puppy dog is actually a fiery dragon.

Both Roberts and Alito denied they would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. If they were lying (hence committing perjury), this means they didn't have the guts to tell the truth, and promise what pro-lifers wanted, even in testifying under oath to a Republican Senate. If they were telling the truth, Bush arguably couldn't find a reputable judge who would be reliably anti-Roe.

Of course, there is still an argument that Bush and other ambitious Republicans don't want Roe to be struck down. He wanted Harriet Miers--who was more likely to be "reliable" on torture, detention, and spying on U.S. citizens than she was on Roe.

In any case, the most an anti-Roe Supreme Court is likely to do is turn the abortion issue back to the states. (This has been the clear trend under Rehnquist). The states that went to Kerry will be strongly pro-choice, and very few states will go to a strongly anti-abortion position. Many will add restrictions that reinforce the notion that "abortion is icky" (thanks again to Atrios), especially when pregnant teenagers are involved. Maybe that reaction to "ickiness" can't last as a political stance, and maybe the population will have to shift dramatically one way or the other; "a House divided against itself can't stand". I don't know. The gun lobby runs roughshod over state legislatures; the case could be made that pro-lifers will be able to do something similar; I don't know.

For now gay marriage is the next frontier of social issues. Liberals seem fairly confident of winning--as long as they don't blow it by provoking some extreme liberal court decision that invites conservative actions by legislatures. I'm not sure the hearts of liberals are even in this one as much as in abortion. Kaus, who is almost always at odds with his fellow Democrats now, just seems to think it is nuts to lead on this issue.

3. The war was a godsend for Bush. This is almost too obvious to say, but after No Child Left Behind and tax cuts, bush was pretty well out of ideas. The war has allowed the Bushies to set out a number of related wedge issues that divide them from Democrats--and this is surely the real reason there has always been such a bewildering array of rationales for invading Iraq.

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