AP NEWS

Inside the Beltway: ‘Old boomer ideas’ invade progressive politics, 1968 all over again

April 8, 2019

Do some policy proposals from outspoken Democrats and progressives sound a little familiar? One analyst says that warmed over hippie fare is being cleverly recycled on the political landscape as 2020 looms and competition becomes more intense.

“All Democrats’ ‘new’ ideas are just repackaged failures that baby boomers like. ‘Medicare for All,’ anti-nuclear sentiment, universal basic income, court-packing, and doing away with the electoral college are old boomer ideas repackaged as something new,” writes Warren Henry, a senior contributor at The Federalist.

“Court packing” is expanding the size of the Supreme Court to 15 judges, by the way.

“The Democratic Party, or at least its 2020 presidential candidates and new stars, are allegedly lurching significantly leftward. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ platform seems to be a center of gravity, even a bit of a throwback for relying mostly on class warfare instead of identity politics. Some see Joe Biden as the avatar of old Democratic ideas,” Mr. Henry observes.

“This may be the Democrats’ dirty little secret: most of the big, ‘new,’ ‘progressive’ ideas are really decades old. Most of these ideas have been flogged by the lefties who grew up among the New Left of the 1960s and ’70s,” the analyst notes and yes, that recycling effort includes the Green New Deal.

That they are retreads doesn’t change the fact that these ideas are still radical, Mr. Henry cautions and they also have appeal to those who are unfamiliar with history.

“The Democrats’ roots have always been in far-left ideologies. The only thing new about progressives’ ideas now is that there is a younger generation or two, many of whom are too poorly educated to understand they are being sold a very old boomers’ bill of goods,” Mr. Henry concludes.

WHY PEOPLE WANT TO LIVE IN AMERICA

“Americans are largely satisfied with 10 life aspects related to their finances, lifestyle, opportunities and social life. At least 90 percent of U.S. adults say they are ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ satisfied with their family life, their education and the way they spend their leisure time. Likewise, at least 76 percent are satisfied with their housing, personal health, community, standard of living, job, household income and the amount of leisure time they have,” reports Gallup analyst Megan Brenan, citing some startling new findings released Monday.

IT’S ABOUT TO GET COMPLICATED

There could be 40 Democratic presidential hopefuls seeking name recognition in 2020 and the push has already begun.

Beginning Tuesday, CNN will air five consecutive candidate townhalls in a row, starting with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, followed on subsequent nights by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, author Marianne Williamson and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

The Associated Press, meanwhile, points out another emerging dynamic within the Democratic Party, citing in particular Brian Heitman, a middle-aged Caucasian male from New Jersey who is considered a reliable Democratic voter.

It’s complicated.

“The Democrats’ 2020 presidential primary may feature a historically diverse field of women and minorities, but in some ways it is testing how the party appeals to white men such as Heitman. Many Democratic politicians went into the last presidential campaign cycle taking little account of those voters, and banked on a coalition of women and minorities to carry them to victory. Trump’s victory proved that thinking wrong. Many in the party are determined now not to make the mistake again,” writes AP analyst Nicholas Riccardi.

Stay tuned.

THE TIDAL BASIN BLUES

A favorite tourist spot in the nation’s capital has just been declared a “National Treasure” but one in need of some serious TLC. The 107-acre Tidal Basin which connects the famed cherry trees, the Thomas Jefferson and Martin Luther King Jr. memorials and other significant sites is awash with troubles.

“This American icon is under threat,” says the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which announced the new designation Monday.

“Each day at high tide, water floods the sidewalks surrounding the Tidal Basin, making them impassable and compromising the roots of the cherry trees. In addition, the daily flooding hampers accessibility, and perimeter and safety challenges, substandard visitor facilities, and inadequate interpretation all threaten the Tidal Basin,” the organization notes.

Their “National Treasures” program identifies threatened sites and properties around the nation and then spearheads fundraising efforts, building and repair coalitions and even legal actions to guard the fragile spots. In the last 32 years, the organization has named close to 300 of such treasures.

The group has launched a public pledge to “Save the Tidal Basin.” Find it at SavingPlaces.org.

HOWARD HITS THE ROAD

Independent presidential hopeful Howard Schultz has upped the ante. The billionaire heads to Kansas on Tuesday to kick off his “Heart of America” tour meant to “continue his conversations with the American people and listen to their ideas about how to make our government and political system work better for them,” his campaign advises.

Initial stops include: Overland Park, Lawrence, Topeka, Manhattan, Abilene, McPherson, and Wichita.

“If you’re not red or blue, who in Washington represents you?” his campaign asks.

POLL DU JOUR

78% of Americans have seen, read or heard news coverage of Robert Mueller’s final report investigating President Trump.

57% say the report has not given them “more doubts” about Mr. Trump.

47% say Congress should not hold impeachment hearings and Mr. Trump should finish his term.

40% say the Mueller report does not clear the president, 31% are unsure, 29% say it clears him.

36% say the report gave them more doubts about Mr. Trump; 33% say Congress should continue investigating him.

Source: An NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted March 23-27 and released Sunday.

Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin