James Kwak on < a href="https://baselinescenario.com/2016/04/25/the-long-game/">The Long Game. He uses a recent controversial quote from Charles Koch to talk about the new book American Amnesia.
Since the 1980s, if not earlier, the story of the Democratic Party has been a reasonably successful attempt to take or maintain control over the presidency at any costs—combined with a complete failure to articulate a compelling, long-term vision, or to build lasting networks and institutions that provide the infrastructure for political change. We bet everything on the political skills of Bill Clinton or Barack Obama, and then we act surprised when they end up following moderate Republican policies—in part because they are blocked in by Republicans in Congress, in state houses, and in the federal judiciary. (And for those who think this is hyperbole, it was Bill Clinton himself who said, ‘I hope you’re all aware we’re all Eisenhower Republicans. . . . We stand for lower deficits and free trade and the bond market. Isn’t that great?’ (Hacker and Pierson, p. 163).)
The story of the conservative movement, on the other hand, is the opposite: serial failure to come up with a compelling presidential candidate—since 1988, no Republican nominee has won a plurality of the popular vote, except W. when running as an incumbent after ‘winning’ a war—combined with a consistent vision, a massive advantage in fundraising not dependent on a unique individual (like Obama or Bernie Sanders), repeated victories in state legislative and gubernatorial elections, successful gerrymandering in multiple states, a structural lock on the House of Representatives, and consolidation of the small-state bias in the Senate. Sure, things haven’t been all rosy for libertarian conservatives like the Kochs—there was the huge expansion of government under W., and now Obamacare. But they’ve reduced the chances of higher taxes to nil, they’ve blocked any action on climate change, they have Barack Obama reduced to trying to pass a ‘free trade’ agreement (because he can’t pass anything else), and they’re just one presidential election—now, or 2020, or 2024—from a massive restructuring of the tax code and all social insurance programs.