In the neighborhood where I lived growing up, many of the fathers were working class veterans who were supporters of Franklin Roosevelt and later Harry Truman.
The Truman Democrats were part of the great wave of post-war Americans who worked hard, supported their families, and provided a better life for their children than the life they experienced during the Great Depression.
With the election of John Kennedy, one could argue that the Democratic Party believed that the United States was a great nation and a beacon of hope for the entire world. Under JFK, the economy grew to the benefit of all through across-the-board tax cuts. We as a nation took an unambiguous stance in understanding the threat of Communism and supported our allies in resisting that threat. We embarked on the space program which has yielded immense benefit to all of us with advances in manufacturing, computer science and medical technology.
Lyndon Johnson began the transformation of the Democratic Party of Harry Truman and John Kennedy. With the advent of the Great Society, LBJ created the dependency plantation that has undoubtedly created a multi-generational underclass. The result of this effort is the perpetual poverty that plagues many inner city neighborhoods and rural areas in our country. Jimmy Carter continued the decline by his lack of fortitude in understanding the ongoing threat of the Soviet Union and the rise of Islamic Fascism.
Bill Clinton was a successful president in many ways because he had to pivot after his first term and work with Congress in order to pass welfare reform and other pieces of legislation. He also benefited greatly from the collapse of the Soviet Empire and the window of relative peace the world experienced through most of the 1990s. Clinton, however, pushed for greater home ownership for under-qualified buyers, which ultimately led to the 2008 financial crisis. The rise of single-issue politics as opposed to the broader world view of Truman and Kennedy began to redefine the Democratic Party.
Barack Obama was elected in 2008 partly because the country wanted new ideas and felt it was time to elect a minority candidate as president. For the first two years of his administration, all of the progressive ideas that were a result of the emphasis on single issues rather than an integrated understanding of the dynamics of a capitalist economy and a constitutional form of government drove the Democratic Party agenda.
Under Obama, divisiveness and the politics of envy overrode the unity and a sense of purpose under JFK that the party once stood for. “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” has been replaced by “You didn’t build that.”
“My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man” has become “leading from behind.”
The Democratic Party will continue to champion divisiveness through single-issue political infighting, a failed progressive economic agenda, and an almost nonexistent foreign policy. The party that once stood with our allies abroad and supported robust economic growth has been replaced by whiny radical feminism and an overwrought sense of entitlement.
Mattress Girl and Pajama Boy are the new Democratic Party; Truman and Kennedy would be embarrassed.