Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The Real Agenda: Rolling Back the New Deal

Jeffrey Rosen may overstate his case when he claims that the culture wars are a ruse in the Republicans effort to remake the Supreme Court. The real goal, according to Rosen is to reimpose

meaningful limits on federal power that could strike at the core of the regulatory state for the first time since the New Deal. These justices could change the shape of laws governing the environment, workplace health and safety, anti-discrimination, and civil rights, making it difficult for the federal government to address problems for which the public demands a national response.
It's a familiar argument: the "real" Republican agenda is rollback on the economic and regulatory safety net, and that the poobahs just use the cultural issues to get the benighted post-populist masses to vote "against their interests."

There's of course some truth to this perspective, but it misses the main point that Democrats need to get at. And that is that trying to get rid of OSHA or public education or the EPA or federally guaranteed pensions is, at bottom, a deeply immoral agenda. It needs to be described as such.

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