What to Expect at the Democratic Convention

The Left offers an outmoded platform only the walking dead could follow.

In Tampa we saw a Republican Party fired with enthusiasm, blessed with rising young political stars like Paul Ryan, Mia Love, and Marco Rubio, and running a ticket brimming with brains, real-world experience, and fresh ideas of the sort needed to get our economy out of the fiscal ditch Obama and the Dems drove it into. So what will we see this week in Charlotte?

Watch any episode of “Walking Dead” and you’ll get a preview. Progressive ideas are beyond old. They’re dead. Yet they’re still walking around, mindless zombies reflexively moaning left-wing clichés and petrified orthodoxy. And just as the victims of zombies also become zombies when gnawed on by the undead, progressivism has spread by taking over schools, popular culture, the mainstream media, and for now the White House and Senate. With a record of failure and a total absence of any plan for turning the economy out of the path of the fiscal iceberg, all the Dems can do in Charlotte is set those rotting ideas loose to hunt down any still uninfected voters and chew away at their brains.

So expect the Dems to unleash the zombies, those reeking ideas like the “war on women.” The Convention will feature a whole slate of privileged women repeating feminist bromides that had some currency maybe in 1970. Expect hysterical charges about “taking away our right to choose,” which is zombie-speak for slandering and bullying Catholic institutions trying to protect religious freedom from government mandates to pay for birth control, or for demonizing those state legislatures trying to restrict infanticide disguised as third-trimester or partial-birth abortions. Creaky feminist clichés about “fearing strong women” and “silencing women’s voices” will also be on hand, coming from extremely vocal women who enjoy greater wealth, education, privilege, political power, influence, and leisure than most of the men in this country.

Of course, another moldering zombie sure to take center-stage in Charlotte is the “racism” charge progressives rely on to misdirect voters from their abject failures. Musty rhetoric last suitable in the Jim Crow era will fill the air, with dark warnings about “disenfranchisement” and “voter suppression.” We will hear decried the whole catalogue of “dog-whistle” words that mask the conservative racist hatred of Obama. Michelle Malkin has conveniently listed them: “angry,” “Chicago,” “Constitution,” “experienced,” “Food Stamp president,” “golf,” “kitchen cabinet,” “Obamacare,” “privileged,” “professor,” and “you people” are all ordinary words and phrases that allegedly seethe with hidden racist meaning. But if these benign words are the subsonic “dog whistles” Republicans use to stir up their party’s racist impulses, how come only Democrats can hear them? Doesn’t that make them the “dogs” rabid with racism? Maybe that’s why they’re the ones who think any mention of “welfare” means black people, even though more whites are on relief than blacks. Or perhaps that explains their campaign against voter identification requirements: somehow black people alone are incapable of obtaining a photo i.d. So who are the racists?

But the biggest, most rotten zombie we will see in Charlotte is the class-warfare rhetoric that has already dominated Obama’s campaign. Obama and crew have no new ideas for rescuing the economy from a Greece-like meltdown. Nor do they have an answer for the Republican Convention’s celebrations of self-reliance, self-improvement, hard work, entrepreneurship, and acceptance of risk and responsibility that success requires and that freedom makes possible. These all are part of America’s DNA, the virtues that made this country the richest and most powerful in history. And the alternatives to these virtues––the dependency, stagnation, passivity, indolence, rent-seeking, and buck-passing that for more than a century have attended every species of big-government socialism that ever existed––these alternatives to American virtues have been tried for a century and failed miserably. Indeed, we’re watching their slow-motion dissolution in the Eurozone even as we speak.

The Dems have nothing like the Republican call to restore those American virtues, whose vitality is evident all across the country, from the immigrant store-keeper to Apple’s Steve Jobs––and embodied in the career and success of Mitt Romney. So class warfare, an idea as dead as phrenology, will fill the void. Appeals to envy and resentment of the successful go back a century, and trade on a primitive view of wealth as fixed, a pie that can be divided only so many ways. If your piece is bigger, mine must be smaller. Government power is then needed to re-cut and redistribute the slices so they’re “fair.”

But capitalism has enriched the world and lifted billions out of poverty because it creates wealth out of the endless capital of human ingenuity and hard work. The fairness of capitalism comes from the freedom and opportunity it gives to those with talent and virtue to improve their lot, no matter what their status or condition. It’s a dynamic system that promises not that everybody will become rich, something impossible in a flawed world of flawed human beings. But over time people will have a chance to strive for wealth and make the most of their abilities. If government is to have a role, it should be to make sure there are no impediments to this dynamic process, so that all have a chance to earn the rewards commensurate with their talents and virtues.

Obama and the Dems don’t understand the modern economy. They dislike its autonomy from government control, and the way it rewards talent and hard work, something anathema to radical egalitarians. To them, economic success can only be a consequence of class privilege and the government. Free people and their hard work and inventive creativity don’t expand the economy or create jobs, the government does. The fatcats who resist this truth are protecting their unfair success, and so the have-nots are justified in resenting them and demanding that the government use its power to interfere in the economy, take more and more wealth from its creators, and redistribute it more equally.

Of course, these dirigiste and redistributionist ideas have failed and are failing everywhere they’ve been tried, including in America. They breed dependence, kill incentives to strive for success, create the entitlement mentality, diminish individual autonomy and responsibility, enrich the politically connected, and eventually will kill the capitalist golden goose by strangling it in regulations, deficits, debt, and expanding entitlements. But what else does Obama have to get people to vote for him? He can’t run on $5 trillion in new debt, a new $2.6 trillion entitlement, a $716 billion raid on Medicare, a failed $1 trillion “stimulus,” crony “green” capitalism, bailing out the United Auto Workers, 8.3% unemployment, or 15% underemployment. He can’t run on nonexistent plans to rein in debt, control government spending, and reform metastasizing entitlements. All he has is the rhetoric of “fair share” and “you didn’t build that” to justify taking money from the productive so that it can be redistributed to political clients and cronies.

All these ideological zombies will be wandering around Charlotte next week, stumbling around under the slogan “Forward,” a truly Orwellian word for a party looking backward to the dead past.

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