I think my dad, a World War Two combat veteran who came back injured from the Battle of San Pietro, was a fairly typical Democrat voter at Mid-Century: “The Republicans were always the party of the Rich Bankers, and the Democrats were the party of the working-class,” was, more or less, how he put it. But, by the time I became politically cognizant in the 1970’s, he had long since changed course, and settled into old-fart Archie Bunker caveman conservatism– or, so he seemed to me– in contrast to my hippie older brothers, who were wailing Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young albums at full-blast out their windows, when Dad was driving up to the house in his Buick Estate Wagon.
(Ah, as Oliver Wendall Holmes once said, “Youth is wasted on the young”…)
It wasn’t until many years later that I finally asked him (after I had crossed the Great Divide myself, and joined the Archie Bunker Brigade, most likely because I had been exposed to Harpers Magazine during that brief interlude where Louis Lapham was conservative, and had taken the magazine to the right), “Dad,” I queried, “Why did you become a Republican?”
“Kennedy,” he said, which was interesting, because, like Dad, Kennedy was a Roman Catholic. “I saw Jack Kennedy flying all over the country in his Dad’s jet, winning elections with his family fortune, and I thought, ‘How can the Democrats be the advocate for the poor when they are all so rich? Roosevelt, Soapy Williams (then Governor of Michigan, who was the heir to the Mennen and Williams soap fortune), Kennedy– all of them richer than hell. So, I thought, they must feel guilty about it because they all were inheriting family fortunes, and want to take everyone else’s money in taxes to make up for their guilt.’ ” Dad was a signpainter. He did fairly well out of it, but he worked like the dickens to raise his four boys, and the government always got their cut, of course. And then he hit on the nub of it: “Plus, most of the bureaucrats are Democrats, and I pay their salaries”.
Like many in his taciturn generation, Dad has always been a man of few words. But, I don’t think there has ever been a more succinct definition of the Democrats. And, it was a bit of self-reflection that led him to this conclusion.
And, now we have no better illustration than the Heritage Foundation’s recent examination of public-sector salaries vis-a-vis private sector pay ($121,000 yearly for the former, and $62,000 for the latter). As the kerfuffle in Bell, California so brilliantly models (where lowly municipal department heads were earning grotesque six-figure salaries), the Governing Classes are the new Robber Barons. Dad was right. The Democrats are the Party of Government.
Can you personally think of a single democrat voter who actually votes for democrats out of principal (whatever those principles might be)? Or is their husband a Bond Consultant who works for the local bank selling government debt instruments? Or is the wife a school bus driver? Or, is his brother a magnificently wealthy trial attorney, or an office worker at the local Bureau of Motor Vehicles? Maybe the sister is a tenured public school teacher, or the kids are in research at Cal-Berkley. Maybe his wife is a unionized Firefighter/EMT, or an attorney for the local zoning commission. Maybe their family have been on Food Stamps for forty years, or the husband is a therapist in the medical department over at the university. Maybe the wife is a fourth-generation public defender, the son a third generation Department of Public Works employee. ..
You get the picture. “All the bureaucrats are Democrats, and I pay their salaries”. Yep. So lets stop calling them “public sector employees”. Let’s call them the Fat Cat Bureaucrats. Or, better yet, “Bureaufats”.