“Permissive On Social Issues and At Ease with Big Government, Yet Ever Faithful to the Gods of Business and Finance”

Louis Menand writes:

Once, when winters were cold and the world seemed large, creatures roamed the earth who were permissive on social issues and at ease with big government, yet remained ever faithful to the gods of business and finance. Their principles were abstract but broad-minded: tolerance, free trade, and a belief in something called the American Way. Their personal tastes were conventional. They were surprisingly allergic to indecorum, and disinclined to question the status quo. But they were not small-town or provincial; they were Wall Streeters, not Main Streeters. Their vista was international.

Such creatures still exist. One of them is named Barack Obama. Actually, the above description describes much of the modern Democratic Party. “Permissive on social issues and at ease with big government, yet ever faithful to the gods of business and finance,” indeed.

Menand laments the decline of the Republican version of such politicians . . . but, really, that wouldn’t make so much sense given that the Democratic Party is so hospitable to them. The Republicans might as well have their own party, no?

[Cross-posted at The Monkey Cage]

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Andrew Gelman

Andrew Gelman is a professor of statistics and political science and director of the Applied Statistics Center at Columbia University.