Saturday, November 22, 2008

A "Newer" New Deal for Obama and the U.S.?

Even before Obama was elected president, a recurring issue that was brought up by commentators and the political left has been whether his election is a prelude to a new version of FDR's "New Deal." The New Deal revitalized the American economy at a time of its worst depression through government investing in jobs programs. According to Michael Lind over at Salon.com , a "Newer" New Deal is just what is needed in the Obama administration; further, according to him, by promoting economic liberalism, Obama would then bring in a supermajority of conservatives into the Democratic coalition.

First, consider Lind's findings on public support for New Deal policies. From expanding unemployment benefits (76%) to supporting a public-works style jobs creation project (86%), the American people have incredibly strong support for these New Deal policies. Lind's second proposition is one with which I have qualms: He believes that if Democrats emphasized these "Newer Deal programs," that "social conservatives" would be "welcomed to a big-tent party defined almost exclusively by economic liberalism." I unabashedly oppose conservatism, whether it is social, economic (well, not completely there), or otherwise; the thought of sharing a coalition with social conservatives, those who oppose gay rights, abortion rights, and stem cell research, is a chilling one for me.

Would Democrats rule for perpetuity under a New Deal-style economic pursuit with the Obama administration? This seems to make sense, but Lind doesn't go into whether social conservatives would then have a voice in the Democratic Party, something I don't want.

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