Since the breakdown of the New Deal coalition, dozens of strategists and public intellectuals have offered formulas for turning progressive dross into electoral gold for the Democratic Party.
The Berkeley cognitive scientist George Lakoff has suggested a new Democratic lexicon to better "frame" issues through linguistics. Others insist Democrats need more populist economic policies. Blue Dog Democrats advocate giving up and becoming Republicans. Shockingly, none of these approaches have ushered in a new age of liberal governance. Either these theories are wrongheaded or Ron Paul keeps stealing all that electoral gold.
Leave it to Mitt Romney, the high-flying management consultant, to unwittingly introduce a whole new approach for progressives.
Yesterday, Romney wrapped up his Olympic gaffeathon with a speech in Poland, praising the country as an economic model for prosperity for the rest of the world. Matt Yglesias notes that Poland's sustained economic recovery is due to expansionary monetary policy undertaken by the Polish central bank to reduce the value of the Zloty — precisely the kind of policy Romney and most conservatives oppose when it is undertaken by our own Federal Reserve.
An even better example of Romney's affection for good policy, as adopted by our allies, came when he praised Israel's system of socialized medicine as an effective agent of health care and cost control.
This opens up a perfect opportunity for Democrats. We already know that to U.S. conservatives, everything Israel does is sacrosanct and beyond criticism. So the next time progressives introduce some modest expansion of the welfare state, they should present it as an example of adopting the Israeli socio-economic model.
At present, the top marginal tax rate in Israel is 48%, applicable to income over $125,000 a year, while Barack Obama is only proposing a relatively paltry levy of 39.6% on couples earning more than $250,000 a year. Similarly, why does the United States spend more per capita on defense than Israel, which can do no wrong? In the parlance of the times, there should be no daylight between the United States and its foremost ally.
Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Israel, Liberals, Mitt Romney, Poland