What do Democrats Want?
10:09 AM, Sep 16, 2011 • By JAY COST
In a column titled "Democrats Plagued By Ingratitude," Byron York poses these questions:
To answer this question, I'd quote the late George Meany, the head of the AFL-CIO.
This is the thread that connects all of the disparate groups in the Democratic coalition -- from industrial/craft labor, to public labor, to the environmentalist movement, to the feminists, to the Congressional Black Caucus, and so on. It's the concept of more. So long as there is more income to redistribute and more "illiberal" behavior to regulate, these groups will not be satisfied.
In fact, there has not been a Democratic president with whom these groups have ever been totally pleased. Even Franklin Roosevelt. He refused to intervene in the "Little Steel Strike" of 1937, so CIO president John L. Lewis took to the radio waves to denounce the man who is today remembered as the patron saint of modern unionism:
Think about the context of this quotation. FDR had recently signed into law the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which was the saving grace of unionism. In the 1920s, unions had been on the decline, and they had made virtually no gains during the so-called "First New Deal" of 1933-34. With the NLRA, signed in 1935, FDR totally transformed labor relations, thus making it possible for the Steel Workers Organizing Committee to challenge Republic Steel in the first place. And yet that's not enough for Lewis!
That's the key to understanding Democratic anger with this president. Sure, he gave them the greatest policy gains seen since 1965, but there is still more they want. With the rebound of conservatism, they're mad and frustrated because they've now realized that the window for big liberal policy reforms has now closed.