If one can stay awake through his work, one can realize that Karl Marx was a pretty bright guy – even if History has proven his ideas wrong and in most cases, catastrophic. Marx believed that Capitalism was doomed to fail because it carried within itself the seed of its own destruction: greed. Interestingly it is the same seed that lies within the body of the Democratic Party, and while it has yet to destroy Capitalism (although the current state of the economy makes me wonder at times) or the political party that dominates the American political landscape, a kernel of greed is planted deep within the Democrats.
Actually that’s a pretty lame metaphor: it’s not a seed; it’s a cancer that has existed within the party and as the party gains more power it spreads, metastasizing into scandal. Last month the scandal was Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, following quickly on the heels of New York congressman Charlie Rangel. Meanwhile the clock ticks away on Sen. Chris Dodd’s promise to release mortgage documents originating from his sweetheart deal as a “friend of Angelo” with Countrywide Mortgage.
Lord Acton observed that power corrupts; the Democrats have not been immune to the temptations that power brings. The historical list of Democratic scandals is lengthy, and with each passing month the list gets longer as the Democrats control the Executive branch, Congress, and a majority of state governorships and state legislatures.
While the Democrats may have taken power with the best of intentions, Lord Acton’s observation was that power tended to corrode the moral compass of all but the most virtuous. They will talk themselves into compromising their principals “for the good of the people,” or “just this once,” and the rot will set in – making it easier for the next compromise and the next until at the end of it all there is nothing left but the wreckage of a political career gone horribly wrong. In many respects it’s like the alcoholic who has just one and the next morning wakes up in a jail cell with a terrible hangover wondering how he got there. The only difference is that alcoholism is recognized as a disease whereas political corruption is not.
The situation is made worse for the Democrats due to the 2008 election in which the Republican Party was beaten soundly. There is no opposition to curtail the actions of the party, no threat that helps maintain order. Instead you have the political equivalent of a room full of drunks at an open bar. Wise men will avoid the temptation altogether and leave after a term or two, but those that don’t are going to end up regretting their actions one way or another.
So the Democrats will overreach themselves as they always have historically, and eventually the mainstream press will tire of blaming the Republican Party and ex-President George W. Bush for all perceived wrongs in the country. After all the powerbrokers of Wall Street – the ones that use taxpayer bailout money for corporate retreats – backed President Obama and his party more than McCain and the Republicans. Obama and the Democrats will own the problems they have caused as well as those they have not, and the electorate will vote accordingly. The cancer will spread slowly, inexorably, until the Democrats begin to remove their party affiliations from their yard signs* and speak about how they have worked in a spirit of bipartisanship.
The Republicans will eventually take back what they have lost, and someday become ascendant in the same way that the Democrats are today. And the seed will be inside them – the cancer in their body politic – and the cycle will begin anew.
This is the way our political system is, and it’s the way, god-willing, it will always be.
- In the last election, several Republican candidates for local office failed to mention their party affiliation in their advertising. This didn’t stop them from getting trounced, turning the state of Delaware from a mixed “purple” state to a solid “blue” one that is just as beholden to the banks as the rest of the Democratic party.