While contemplating a reply to Mr. Douthat’s essay of February 11,2012, titled Can The Working Class Be Saved?, a thought kept recurring to me that would give me no rest: in 21 states Republican legislators and governors have passed voting bills that restrict voting to those who must present picture identification in order to register to vote and to cast a legal ballot. These laws will restrict the voting rights of the working poor, poor blacks, people on fixed incomes, Social Security recipients, and students. One might argue that these groups represent a vital part of voters who regularly cast votes for Democrats. The rhetorical notion that Conservatives, the Republican Party, care about the ‘working woman or man’ and the ‘underclass’ and their welfare, wedded to a concern for protecting the process of voting from the nonexistent threat of ‘voter fraud’, make Mr. Douthat’s propaganda exercise moot. Although he paints himself as the mean between two extremes, Mr. Charles Murray’s Libertarianism and the New Deal Romantics, is any of this convincing, except as mere rhetoric in the face of the utterly undemocratic actions of America’s Conservative Party, the Republicans?
Since the election of Reagan in 1980 the whole of electoral politics, in America, has been focused on the middle class and it flourishing. The New Democrats were a product of the triumph at the polls of Reagan: they willfully forgot the legacy of the New Deal and made their peace with Wall Street which led to Bill Clinton, of both Welfare Reform and Financial Reform i.e. the elimination of regulations that have proved disastrous: the collapse of the world economy in 2008 and the fact that in 2012 near 147 million Americans live at or uncomfortably near the poverty line. This being the political background to Mr. Douthat’s exercise in faux concern for the ‘working class’ as the backbone of the nation. One can also observe that the Occupy Wall Street movement has changed the nature of the debate in America about income distribution, with the plangent idea of the 1% and the 99%.