The Opinion Journal
writes today that a centrist group of Democrats called Third Way recently issued a report explaining the Democrats' 2004 election debacle. It concluded that voters with incomes between $30,000 and $75,000 a year, or almost half the electorate, delivered "healthy victories" for President Bush and Republicans in Congress. The report concludes the Democrat Party is no longer the party of the middle class.
Why is that? One reason is that the party of FDR and JFK no longer seems to have a moderate wing; they have become doughnut Democrats with no middle. This point is best exemplified by the utter collapse of Democrats in the South. In 1980 there were 20 mostly conservative Democrats in the Senate; now there are four, and even they are endangered.
• With the notable exception of Joe Lieberman, there are virtually no Scoop Jackson defense hawks remaining in a party that has made Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo its main policy touchstones for the war on terror.
• The party that voted en masse for income and capital gains tax cuts under JFK now has but one message on taxes: Raise them.
• On trade, the Democrats who delivered 102 House votes for Nafta and Bill Clinton in 1994 will, at last count, provide all of five House votes for the Central American Free Trade Agreement.
• The Clinton Democrats helped enact the most momentous social policy legislation of the past generation: welfare reform. Now Democrats conspire every day to gut work-for-welfare requirements and prevent the renewal of welfare reform by Congress.
• Above all, there's the know-nothing-ism on Social Security. The Democrats in unison proclaim that Mr. Bush is advancing a risky right-wing scheme to destroy Social Security by creating private investment accounts for workers.
But wait. How dangerous can this idea really be? After all, only a few years ago there was a long and esteemed list of elected Democratic leaders who endorsed personal accounts. John Breaux. Chuck Robb. Bob Kerrey. Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Charles Stenholm. Tim Penny. Today in the entire United States Congress there is exactly one Democrat, Allen Boyd of Florida, who has endorsed personal accounts, and he has been shunned for his apostasy.