Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Democrats' Departure from Jeffersonianism

My Mississippian grandmother raised me to hate the Republican Party. I've never quite been able to get over this, which is why this new blog*, Where Did the Party Go?, by the author of a book of the same title gives me some hope. From the blog here is a description of the book, subtitled "William Jennings Bryan, Hubert Humphrey, and the Jeffersonian Legacy:"
    The Democratic Party has changed. More often than not, it loses national elections, and we have seen the erosion of important parts of its base. Taylor looks beyond the shortcomings of individual candidates to focus on the party’s real problem: Its philosophical underpinnings have changed in ways that turn off many Americans. The thought and careers of William Jennings Bryan and Hubert Humphrey are used as case studies to examine this change and its institutionalization under FDR is explained.

    How democratic, really, is the Democratic Party? Presidential contenders still make the rounds of Jefferson-Jackson Day dinners, but how faithful has the party been to its founders and their principles? While many rank-and-file Democrats still hold to traditional views, that’s not the case with those who finance, manage, and exemplify the party at the national level. They have adopted an ideology that is inherently unpopular. Turning their back on the thought of Thomas Jefferson, the party has embraced the views of his arch-rival, Alexander Hamilton. If party leaders are committed to elitist ideas--some as old as eighteenth-century conservatism and some as modern as limousine liberalism and political correctness--is it likely Democrats will regain majority status on a consistent basis? What changed and why?
Perhaps we need to pay more attention to this blog: Right Democrat: a blog for conservative and moderate Democrats.

*link via Caelum et Terra
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