Ok, what's the newest dance craze hitting the political spectrum right now? Ownership society. There's even a whole book about it out...
The article linked to above talks about it but sort of dismisses it because people really don't own a whole lot these days. At least not the stuff that the Prez is talking about.
But hold on there; while, yes, there are facts that back up the idea that as proposed this thing is not workable that's not to say that it doesn't speak to what people want or what they really do believe in underneath the Republican veneer.
There is in fact an idea very similar to the idea of an "ownership society", one that's been around a long time and which has met some success in Europe: it's called Socialism. Or Social Democracy to be more precise.
People want Bush's plan because deep down they believe that everyone does deserve a little share of the ownership of society and, in that sense, it appeals to the egalitarian impulses of working class voters---albeit put in sten pull-your-self-up-by-the-bootstraps rhetoric, but that's just to prove people won't be gettin' something for nothing.
The dems should learn something from Bush.
He did this last election.
Both election cycles he's pulled out some concept which, although expressed in a conservative way, appeals across the board to voters, particularly working class voters, and even touches on progressive or socialist issues, and this gives Bush some cred with people.
Last election he used the idea of non-intervention in foreign policy as the issue. This stance has a distinguished conservative history and so Bush had more than enough material to make an appeal which could have been expressed, with a little modification, by the socialist anti-war leaders from the World War I era. The basic message: the U.S. should take care of itself, we don't need to be the policeman of the world. The subtext is that being the policeman of the world is fundamentally anti-liberty, in the broad sense, which is true, just like letting the government control every aspect of your life is anti-liberty, which is also true. Plenty of socialists would agree with the last part as well.
Pat Buchannan used the same idea, and he got a lot of support. They didn't support him because he was a crypto-fascist, at least not all of 'em, but rather because he identified as a paleo-conservative, which is a group left out of the current Republican mainstream but which has some ideas which do have some similarities with progressive causes. The reason is that the paleo-Conservatives, which in other countries are just the 'Conservatives', arose in response to capitalism, albeit from an aristocratic and somewhat feudalistic point of view. So there are real links. And people who aren't aristocrats supported Buchannan.
But I'm getting far afield.
Point is, when it gets right down to it, the Bush campaign knows on some level that the population supports progressive ideas and has co-opted the rhythym and the gist of them both in the last election and now, it looks like, in this election, in order to woo conservative working class voters who might otherwise vote elsewhere.
The dems need to learn from this strategy. Or, hey, a third party which is actually socialist could learn from it. Or even better, those dems who jumped ship from third parties, which unfortunately included me for a while, could come back to them and build them with this insight.
As to the veracity of Bush's claims or ideas.
Well, let's just say that if his 'Non-Intervention' platform is any indicator people will be selling body organs to participate in this 'ownership society' by 2008.
P.S. I was intending to infiltrate the Kucinich campaign and make it pretty much a socialist campaign, although my thinking wasn't that conspiratorial. However, I was thwarted in this by too many people who just didn't like Bush and weren't interested.
I didn't quite totally sell out.
At least I didn't support Dean.