Ever since the emergence of the Christian Right in the 1970s Democrats have been able to stigmatize socially-conservative Americans as narrow-minded and bigoted. This has helped them to a large share of the "creative class," Americans who don't think much about social and moral issues, but sense that traditional values crimp their freedom to live a life of
wholehearted dedication to a freely chosen course or cause, and not to any truth anchored in a collectivity or a world beyond the individual[.]
That quote is from Existentialism vs. Marxism by George Novak. So we should recognize that creative Americans are existentialists of a kind.
For years Democrats managed to create a divide between "creative" Americans and "traditional" Americans. If you were young and educated you probably didn't want to be counted as a traditional American.
Just to be on the safe side, liberal professors and administrators made colleges into sexual free-fire zones, always a winner with the young set.
Creative Americans come in different shapes and sizes, but obviously there is a divide between the economically creative, i.e. business owners, and the culturally creative, i.e., artists, writers, academicians. Democrats have owned the culturally creative for decades, but in recent years they have managed to detach the business class from their natural home in the economically conservative and now unfashionably cultural conservative Republican Party.
In the 2000s the young generation of entrepreneurs clearly got persuaded that they didn't need the embarrassing Republican Party. The Clintonesque New Democrats understood business and had moved away from knee-jerk liberalism. And after the Reagan and Bush tax rate cuts, who needed the Republicans?
People like Richard Florida started writing books about the creative class that lived and worked in "ideopolises." John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira wrote a book about The Emerging Democratic Majority that would center on minorities, young people, and the creative class.
This strategy worked like a champ while people believed that the Democrats were economically centrist and socially liberal. But people don't believe that any more.
The economic meltdown and the proposed huge expansion of big government has been a wakeup call for the economic creative class. Now all of a sudden economic issues matter to them. And the embarrassment of the Christian Right doesn't seem quite so important.
This is the great achievement of President Obama. He has thrown away the economic creative class. If he had governed from the center, done Clintonesque New Democrat things to the economy, and put off the nationalization of health care till the economy had improved, then he would have had the creative class for a generation.
But now he has thrown it all away.
Of course, the reality is that the Democrats were never really "New Democrats." They were faking it back in the 1990s because that was the only way they could get elected.
Then they got back into power in 2006 on the back of the second term mid-term election syndrome. They could talk about an unpopular war and corruption and family values and get elected to a majority in Congress.
After 2008 with a Democratic president and big majorities in Congress they decided that they should go for the big one: health care. Big controversial entitlements never get repealed. After all, in 1936 they got Social Security. In 1965 they got Medicare. This time they would do ObamaCare and in ten years everyone would love them.
When generals do that sort of thing they are accused of trying to fight the last war.
We conservatives should thank our lucky stars for Obama. He has sent a whole generation of Americans back into the Republican tent. He's made them see that tax policy and spending policy and credit policy really matter. He's probably inoculated them for a generation. In fact there's a possibility that we may even be able to do something about entitlement reform in the aftermath of Obama.
There's a good chance that we are looking at a generation of Republican majorities.
Everything will be practical and sensible until a new generation arises that knew not Obama.
But that's in the long run, and in the long run we are all dead. As the childless John Maynard Keynes said.