These Aren’t the Democrats of Old

These Aren’t the Democrats of Old by Victor Davis Hanson for Town Hall

In the old days, Democrats had predictable agendas, supposedly focused on individual rights, the “little guy” and distrust of the military-industrial complex.

The left, often on spec, blasted the wealthy, whether the “lucre” was self-made or inherited. The old-money rich were lampooned as idle drones. If the rich were self-made, they were deemed sellouts. A good example was ’70s pop icon Jackson Brown’s “The Pretender,” with lyrics that railed about a “happy idiot” and his “struggle for the legal tender.”

Democrats talked nonstop about the “working man.” They damned high gas and electricity prices that hurt consumers.

Almost every liberal cause was couched in terms of the First Amendment, whether it was the right to shout obscenities, view pornography or bring controversial speakers to campus.

The Supreme Court was sacred. With a liberal-packed court led by Chief Justice Earl Warren, progressive justices restrained the supposedly harebrained initiatives of hick right-wing populists.

Once upon a time, Democratic congressmen investigated the CIA and FBI seemingly nonstop. Progressive political cartoonists caricatured the Pentagon’s top brass as obese, buffoonish-looking clerks with monstrous jowls. The “revolving door” was a particular leftist obsession. Democrats blasted generals who retired from the military, then went straight to defense contractor boards and got rich.

For the left, elite professional sports were the opiates of the middle classes. Wannabe jocks supposedly wasted hours in front of the TV watching grown men toss around balls.

Unions were sacred. So farm union kingpins such as Cesar Chavez headed to the border to confront (or physically assault) any would-be undocumented immigrant “scabs.”

Politicians such as Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Bill and Hillary Clinton railed against the cheap labor provided by undocumented immigrants, which drove down American wages.

That was then; this is now.

Liberals became rich progressives who transmogrified into really rich hardcore leftists. Suddenly, not just millionaires but multibillionaires such as Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jay-Z, Oprah Winfrey and a host of other celebrities and CEOs were cool and hip.

Deified Silicon Valley monopolists ensured that leftist candidates were usually better funded than were conservatives. “Dirty money” disappeared from leftist invective.

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