50 Shades of Blue: What if the GOP does wither? Walter Russell Mead reflects on future political conflict in the biggest state already completely dominated by Democrats, California:
Republicans right now are largely irrelevant to the blue civil war. The consumers of government services—folks who send their kids to public schools, depend on mass transit, can’t survive in old age without Medicare and Medicaid—want government to work better and more cheaply, but they don’t want it to do less. …
[T]here’s a serious political opportunity in America for a movement that cares deeply about ensuring that the people who need public services (whether provided directly by the state as in public schools or indirectly through vouchers and charter schools) receive good value for their money. A movement that fights to reform government and make it work, to strip away unnecessary frills and patronage posts, to disempower bureaucracies and return control to citizens and to create a regulatory and legal framework that can bring start ups and jobs into inner cities could change the balance of power in American politics.
Add in that this movement would recognize that–whatever you think about income inequality–the country is coming apart in undesirable (and unAmerican) ways and needs to be reconnected, and … well, I’d sign up. … You can most easily see early signs of this potential intra-Dem development in the school reform lobby–in Los Angeles covered by this excellent web site. … The Meadian movement would realize that among the most difficult remaining problems facing liberalism are those created by the mechanisms of liberalism itself: New Deal unionism, the civil service, corporatism, legalistic procedures and proliferating rights–designed to insure exquisite fairness in individual cases–that eventually build up like plaque and produce sclerosis in the larger society. … Think Hart vs. Mondale + Robert Putnam. And remember who won the ’84 California primary. … [via Instapundit]