(Via Instapundit) Now that Kaus can actually read the debt bill that the Democrats just passed - a courtesy delayed to everybody who wasn't a lobbyist - he's kind of alarmed that his political party has decided to cater to its base by bringing back rules that encourage the formation of a permanent underclass. His major practical objection:
3) But the reference to liberalism isn't irrelevant, because the now-undermined welfare reform was the key to rebuilding confidence in (liberal) affirmative government. As Bill Clinton recognized, voters may well have been willing to let government spend, but they didn't trust old style liberals not to spend in actively destructive ways, like subsidizing an isolated underclass of non-working single mothers with a no-strings cash dole. It's a 75-25 values issue. Work yes. Welfare no. Even if welfare spending was only a tiny portion of the liberals' spending agenda, it poisoned the rest of it. Only when Clinton's New Democrats put an ostentatious "time limit" on welfare and required work did they regain the public confidence necessary to increase other kinds of spending (on work-related poverty-fighting benefits like the Earned Income Tax Credit, day care and Social Security, for example.)
A reemerging "welfare" issue is a potential killer, in other words, for Obama's big remaining plans, especially health care. If Dems seem determined to reinstate dependency--or at the least blind to the dangers of dependency--voters aren't going to trust them to spend trillions on universal health insurance and fortified pensions. It's hard to believe Obama doesn't realize this.
The thing that I enjoy most these days when I read a moderate Democrat's first realization that he or she really did go out and vote against their core principles/class interests/better judgment this go round is the startled tone that's usually taken. Of course you did that. We told you that you were. But you were too busy living in the moment to listen. So, yeah, Mickey: the Democrats - who don't really care about Obama's big plans - are going to gut welfare, and it's entirely possible that Obama doesn't realize this. Or if he does, he doesn't particularly care about your feelings. Why should he? He can win you over again, right? After all, who needs to be faithful if you can sweet-talk your way out every problem?
PS: If you think that this is amazing, Mickey: just wait until he tackles immigration reform.
PPS: You know who stood up and explained the problems represented by the current President's rhetoric, last year? Yeah. Her. I know that you weren't vile on that particular subject, but it never hurts to remind people - besides, you really, really should have been listening.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.