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Monday, January 13, 2003

Resentment and Democratic priorities.

David Brooks, the best writer at the conservative Weekly Standard, offers a helpful guide to Americans' weird but unshakable opposition to "soak the rich" politics. Democratic success in 2004 will depend on steering clear of appeals to class resentment. Why? Because Americans vote their aspirations, not their short-term self-interest. His assessment hits the mark: "You can run against rich people, but only those who have betrayed the ideal of fair competition. You have to be more hopeful and growth-oriented than your opponent, and you cannot imply that we are a nation tragically and permanently divided by income." Paul Glastris offers similar advice in the liberal Washington Monthly.

[Update 1.14.03: The New Republic pulls Brooks's analysis apart here and here. On this, though, Brooks is still right: Direct appeals to class are unlikely to take Democrats very far. An appeal to fair play, however, is more than adequate to make the case for tossing Bush out in 2004.]

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 13 January 2003 at 8:30 AM

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