“permissive on social issues and at ease with big government, yet ever faithful to the gods of business and finance”

by Andrew Gelman on April 12, 2012 · 6 comments

in Political Parties

Louis Menand writes:

Once, when winters were cold and the world seemed large, creatures roamed the earth who were permissive on social issues and at ease with big government, yet remained ever faithful to the gods of business and finance. Their principles were abstract but broad-minded: tolerance, free trade, and a belief in something called the American Way. Their personal tastes were conventional. They were surprisingly allergic to indecorum, and disinclined to question the status quo. But they were not small-town or provincial; they were Wall Streeters, not Main Streeters. Their vista was international.

Such creatures still exist. One of them is named Barack Obama. Actually, the above description describes much of the modern Democratic Party. “Permissive on social issues and at ease with big government, yet ever faithful to the gods of business and finance,” indeed.

Menand laments the decline of the Republican version of such politicians . . . but, really, that wouldn’t make so much sense given that the Democratic Party is so hospitable to them. The Republicans might as well have their own party, no?

{ 6 comments }

eric April 13, 2012 at 11:00 am

I love this.

Paul Feuer April 13, 2012 at 2:28 pm

“Permissive on social issues and at ease with big government, …”

Why not, they have us on tape 24/7.

no one special April 13, 2012 at 9:14 pm

And if you want permissiveness on social issues coupled with sharp criticism and rejection of big government plus rejection of the gods of finance, you can support _____?

Andrew Gelman April 13, 2012 at 10:02 pm

I dunno, Menand didn’t seem to be looking for that combination. Maybe Dan Savage could found a political party?

RobW April 13, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Sadly there is no one. The fact of the matter is that Americans like big government because it has been sold to them as a free lunch. They recognize the evils of Wall St. bailouts but argue not for an end to bailouts but only that they too should be bailed out. Nothing will change until we go the way of Greece….crisis is the only harbinger of change.

idiot April 13, 2012 at 11:23 pm

What about someone who wants sharp criticism and rejection of big government plus rejection of the gods of finance, but also conservatism on social issues?

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