Friday, September 12, 2008

Republicans do want change

I get really peeved when I read the same old lines trotted out by both sides of the political fray. Election season shows how intolerant many people are to opinions that are different from their own and also how gullible people are.

And I don't mean just conservatives, even though that's who this post is about.

The notion that Democrats grow up to be Republicans as they get wealthier is fast becoming more myth than fact. It seems that wealthy people are also being turned off by the hard line of the GOP, "do it my way or you're the anti-American," as well as a few other trends in the Republican party over the last two decades or so (I blame, as always, Ronald Reagan).

I found this Sept. 5 piece by David Frum, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, on the NY Times website. Its title is "The Vanishing Republican Voter."

As a general rule, the more unequal a place is, the more Democratic; the more equal, the more Republican. The gap between rich and poor in Washington is nearly twice as great as in strongly Republican Charlotte, N.C.; and more than twice as great as in Republican-leaning Phoenix, Fort Worth, Indianapolis and Anaheim.

In other words, once people are exposed to other lifestyles, points of view, socio-economic status, etc., they either stay or become Democrats? Yeah, well, that is what democracy is all about. Being exclusive has always been the bastion of the - dare I say it - elite conservative.

At the same time, conservatives need to ask ourselves some hard questions about the trend toward the Democrats among America’s affluent and well educated. Leaving aside the District of Columbia, 7 of America’s 10 best-educated states are strongly “blue” in national politics, and the others (Colorado, New Hampshire and Virginia) have been trending blue. Of the 10 least-educated, only one (Nevada) is not reliably Republican. And so we arrive at a weird situation in which the party that identifies itself with markets, with business and with technology cannot win the votes of those who have prospered most from markets, from business and from technology. Republicans have been badly hurt in upper America by the collapse of their onetime reputation for integrity and competence.

The piece continues:

TO WITNESS THE SLOW-MOTION withering of the G.O.P., drive a little farther west into the Washington metropolitan area, to Prince William County. Here is exurban America in all its fresh paint: vast tracts of inexpensive homes, schools built to the latest design, roads still black in their virgin asphalt.

Whether in Virginia, Missouri or Illinois, there are no more egalitarian and no more Republican places in the United States than these exurbs. The rich shun them, and the poor can find no easy foothold, but the middle-income, middle-educated, white married parents who form the backbone of the G.O.P. are drawn to them as if to a refuge ... Yet in the past couple of cycles, the once-tight Republican hold upon the county has loosened. Prince William voted (very narrowly) for Gov. Tim Kaine in 2005 and then (slightly less narrowly) for Senator Jim Webb in 2006. A big vote for the 2008 Democratic senatorial candidate Mark Warner seems almost certain, and a victory for Barack Obama seems very possible.

So there you have it, or at least one version of it. What does this have to do with us, here in little old Newburyport?

Well, I seem to recall last year when a whole lot of parents cried real tears when the school district said it was taking their tots out of the more or less exclusive small neighborhood schools and mixing them with kids representing a true cross-section of the city.

I have no idea if this is what caused the tears, but certainly the parents never thought about how this (limited, since this is Newburyport, after all) exposure to poor and/or non-white kids might actually benefit them as the U.S. trends towards current minorities becoming the majority by 2042. (Read about it here, at the Voice of America online.)

Maybe they have thought about it by now.


bubba z said...

As a moderate, I find whole situation rather sad as I try to decide which group of crazies to support.

I also don't get to attach an adjective like far, hard, or extreme to my position - as in "bubba's an extreme moderate."

Gillian Swart said...

I don't get it. You have to be either a Republican or a Democrat. How can anyone attack you appropriately if you're calling yourself a "moderate?"

I insist you stop this immediately.

raging bubba z said...

If it makes you feel better you can refer to me as a "raging moderate" or that I'm "hard center"

"Don't listen to bubba z, he's one of those raging moderates."

Gillian Swart said...

Well it makes as much sense as liberal elite, so cool you are now a raging moderate.

X said...

"Well, I seem to recall last year when a whole lot of parents cried real tears when the school district said it was taking their tots out of the more or less exclusive small neighborhood schools and mixing them with kids representing a true cross-section of the city."

there is no difference in the neighborhoods anymore, so there is no "true cross section of the city" to mix them with.