November 28, 2011

Time's up...

Professor Jacobson, » Barney Frank retires, Democratic self-decapitation continues :

I was in the car this morning when I heard on the news that Barney Frank was retiring and would not run for re-election.

Obviously there is a lot of snark which could be thrown around, but this represents a bigger deal than Barney.  As more and more senior Democrats retire, the realization is sinking in that there is no next generation of Democrats.

The younger generation of Democrats in Congress was wiped out in 2010 (along with some senior Democrats as well).  On the eve of the 2010 elections I wrote:
The Democrats face a political decapitation tomorrow.

Dozens of senior Democratic Party leaders in the House and Senate, and in Statehouses around the country, are likely to lose.  Unlike Republicans in 2008, there is no next generation of Democratic leaders.

Who are the Democratic Party equivalents of Marco Rubio, Mitch Daniels, John Thune, Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan or Eric Cantor?

The Republican Party has numerous rising stars.  I cannot think of a single Democratic Party rising star. Can you?
The Democratic congressional problem remains the same.  Democrats in Congress have lost both their past and their future. Barney Frank's retirement is just another example.

The model of the world and politics and economics that Dems are using—what Walter Mead calls the "Blue Model" (or "the blue beast") —is no longer workable. It's an Industrial Age model that no longer fits with reality. They don't have a future until they find a new model. And all the senior people are too old and stiff to change.

Actually it may not be age that's the problem, but success. Sometimes that worst thing that can happen to people, or organizations, is to be successful. When people find something that works, they cling to it. Whereas the person who is more-or-less a failure is open to new possibilities. That's one reason why you should read Random Jottings. I've never been accounted a success at all. Rose petals have never been strewn in my path. So I'm totally open to the possibility that everything I know is wrong. And therefore if a new idea comes along, there is at least a fighting chance that I will be able to SEE it. Unlike people who already feel they have things under control.

That's the Dem's big problem right now. They were successful in the past, and now they are stuck. This also, by the way, fits with the theory of the 70-Year Cycle. Dems were hugely successful in the 1930's. But that generation grew up in a Republican-dominated world, and so they had a lot of humility. They knew darned well that there was another model of the world. The problem in the 70-year cycle comes with the second generation. They grow up in a world whee their model is pretty much unquestioned. A person like Frank can't even imagine that his model could be dysfunctional, because he grew up among those who thought that the Blue Model it was the end-point of all human endeavor.

Some time around 2030 we will start to see significant numbers of Dems who have something new to say, and the start of a new model.

Posted by John Weidner at November 28, 2011 6:24 PM
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