Well, it’s been an interesting week for optics of the two parties. Even as the Republican National Committee gets ready to formally label the Democratic Party as the “Socialist Democrat Party,” key elements of the business community have been sitting down to work with the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats on two of the agenda items which Republicans have pointed to as especially lurid examples of Marxist thought, universal health care and carbon emissions reduction.
There’s controversy aplenty among progressives as to how genuine business compromise overtures actually are, and whether the price they will demand for cooperation is excessive. But the bigger picture is that the business community is deeply undercutting Republican efforts to paint Democrats as hellbent on “socializing medicine” through universal health care or destroying the economy through tree-hugging paganism.
As Ron Brownstein notes in his National Journal column today:
These maneuvers on health care and energy could signal a crucial shift in Washington’s tectonic plates of power. Although disagreements remain on both fronts, each move suggests that key business interests have decided to cut deals with a dominant Democratic Party rather than bet on a weakened Republican Party that is hoping to ride uncompromising opposition to Obama back to power….
That could leave congressional Republicans alone at the station. To the extent that Obama can shear off support from businesses usually allied with the GOP, he will make it more difficult for Republicans to portray his agenda as a lurch to the left.
Now logic might dictate that Republicans begin blasting business leaders as Kerensky-like dupes who are selling the Socialist Democrats the rope needed to hang them in the march to a dictatorship of the proletariat, but I doubt they really want to draw attention to the number of regular Wall Street Journal readers who’d rather deal with the Obama administration and its congressional allies than with the “party of no.”
As for us Socialist Democrats, business community cooperation could, at least in theory, help overcome GOP burnt-ground tactics in Congress. As Brownstein concludes:
[T]hese early steps show that Obama’s instinct for inclusion could allow him to expand his political coalition even while advancing two of his party’s top priorities. That’s how lasting majorities are built.