Building to Win. (Comment)

By Borosage, Robert L. | The Nation, June 9, 2003 | Go to article overview

Building to Win. (Comment)


Borosage, Robert L., The Nation


These are dog days for Democrats. The top-gun President continues to ride high in the polls, despite the chaos in Iraq. The Rolls-Royce reactionaries who control Washington lavish tax breaks and no-bid contracts on those who pay for their party. The Democratic presidential candidates spend energy debating who is "electable" rather than where they want to take the country. And, inevitably, the poisonous sectarians of the Democratic Leadership Council have launched their annual corporate fundraising drive by trashing "elitist, interest-group liberalism." At least they provide unwitting comic relief by asserting that the only electable Democrats are Bush-lite politicians like their own unlikely Joe Lieberman, tireless tribune of the CEO stock option, censorious scold of the Lynne Cheney-William Bennett school of moral indignation and hairshirt preacher of fiscal austerity in the face of global deflation. "Real Democrats," DLC's leaders Al From and Bruce Reed helpfully inform us in their most recent memo, "are real people." Thanks for that.

Progressives would profit more by studying the way the New Right responded to life in the political wilderness. In the mid-1970s, Richard Nixon was exiled in disgrace and Democrats controlled everything--the presidency, both houses of Congress and the judiciary. The liberal era that conservatives had hoped to end seemed to have new life. At that moment, New Right strategists made two major decisions: to build an independent capacity to drive their message, their values and their movement into the political debate and to take over the Republican Party from green-eyeshade moderates and make it their vehicle. The New Right scorned the Republican DLCs of the time and instead built an independent, cause-based political movement.

New Right donors--Coors, Mellon Scaife, Richardson and others--didn't pour their money into places like the American Enterprise Institute, the established voice of corporate America. Instead they funded the openly right-wing Heritage Foundation, which redbaited liberal leaders; championed Star Wars, supply-side economics and school vouchers; and assailed welfare, abortion rights and affirmative action. Heritage minted not new policy ideas but timely political ammunition--message, propaganda lines, factoids--to arm New Right legislators and activists, and it aggressively promoted its advocates on op-ed pages and talk shows.

Rather than invest primarily in the Republican Party, the New Right backed the Moral Majority, galvanizing the emerging right-wing evangelical movement under the leadership of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and others to preach family values and opposition to abortion. It built its own network of independent PACs, led by the National Conservative Political Action Committee. Aided by Richard Viguerie's innovative direct-mail operation, it forged an independent capacity to recruit and train candidates who shared its values. For the most part, New Right adherents rejected third-party politics as likely to prolong liberal dominance and made the GOP their vehicle, with Ronald Reagan as their champion.

The result not only transformed the Republican Party, it helped produce a sea change in American politics, driving the debate to the right and creating the basis for the conservative era that has defined the past twenty years of American politics. And trimmers like the DLC drifted further and further to the right in an elusive search for the "center" of American politics.

The rise of the New Right wasn't solely due to its own organizing. Liberalism failed to meet the challenges facing the country in the 1970s--stagflation, growing pressures on families, America held hostage. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Building to Win. (Comment)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.