Question: Are the Democrats reaping the fruit of a Republican failure?
Peter Beinart: They certainly are the beneficiaries of a Republican implosion. There’s no question about that. They have done some things that I think have been helpful to take advantage of this. For instance, I think their unwillingness to compromise on social security privatization in 2005 was important in . . . in essentially creating the conditions in which the deep unpopularity of Bush’s policies could . . . could be exposed. But the Democrats have an enormous opportunity because I think the country is turning quite fundamentally against the conservative principles that have played a very large role in structuring American politics since the election of Ronald Reagan. In that way, this moment is like 1968 when the Democratic FDR majority cracked up because of liberalism’s . . . because of liberalism’s internal crackup. The question is whether Democrats will be able to respond to take that opportunity and . . . and . . . and respond to it with a vision that, in fact, Americans find compelling so that they can say not only that they dislike what the Republicans have done, but that they have . . . that they like what the Democrats can . . . the Democrats stand for. I think that’s the challenge for the Democrats in the next year in particular.
Recorded on: 9/12/07