Saturday, November 24, 2007

How Is It Possible....

....that voter memories (aside from my own) can possibly be this short?
In a state-by-state, district-by-district comparison of wealth concentrations based on Internal Revenue Service income data, Michael Franc, vice president of government relations at the Heritage Foundation, found that the majority of the nation's wealthiest congressional jurisdictions were represented by Democrats.

But in a broader measurement, the study also showed that of the 167 House districts where the median annual income was higher than the national median of $48,201, a slight majority, 84 districts, were represented by Democrats.

Mr. Franc's study also showed that contrary to the Democrats' tendency to define Republicans as the party of the rich, "the vast majority of unabashed conservative House members hail from profoundly middle-income districts."

"I just found the pattern across the board to be very interesting. That pattern shows the likelihood of electing a Democrat to the House is very closely correlated with how many wealthy households are in that district," Mr. Franc said in an interview with the Washington Times.
Of course, it's been long established that it is the Democrats that are the true "party of the rich," while the Republicans have become the populist champions of "the little guy." What is dismaying ominous about this development is that it is precisely the voters whose interests lie most strongly with the GOP that are turning toward the Democrats in increasing numbers. How can this possibly be?

Brother Hinderaker has a theory:
[S]ince 1994, the Democrats have been unable to raise taxes. With confiscatory, economy-destroying tax increases off the table, many prosperous Americans have seen no compelling reason to vote Republican. The silver lining, I think, is that as soon as the Democrats amass enough power in Washington to resume their tax-raising ways, prosperous Americans (though not the tiny handful who are actually rich) will remember why they used to vote Republican.
I find this explanation lacking, personally. Yeah, I'm familiar to the point of projectile nausea with the whole "GOP spending like druken sailors" meme and the notion of "Why vote Republican when they govern little differently than the Dems would?" and the tiresome "Let's 'teach the 'Pubbies a lesson' by voting completely against our own interests across the board and throw them all out" argument. It's never made any sense to me, it never made any sense to me a year ago, it makes no sense to me now, and it never will make any sense to me.

How much less so when the answer to the second question - "Why vote Republican when they govern little differently than the Dems would?" - is answered by - well, several different issues off the top of my head, the war and the effort to reconstitutionalize the federal judiciary chief among them, but most pertinently by - the tax issue. If the American people swept Republicans into control of Congress in 1994 to roll back the Clinton tax hike and, at the very least, prevent any such fiscal encores, how could "many prosperous Americans" lose sight of the fact that the only way to prevent taxes from going back up was to keep the GOP in power? Isn't that precisely the "compelling reason" that ought to have been impossible for them to have forgotten? Could "many prosperous Americans" conceivably have also forgotten that the Democrats' loud, rabid, and not exactly inconspicuous obsession with raising taxes has grown over those thirteen years in direct proportion to the length of time since they've had the power to do so?

Sorry, I'm not buying it. There's complacency, and then there's irrationality. Either these "many prosperous Americans" have moved left fiscally and economically, or they were never anti-tax to begin with.

Not even I can muster that level of absent-mindedness.

Not yet, anyway.