They are confident that they stand in that long line of prodigies that goes back to the New Deal and beyond to the Progressive Era. Their forebears believed in the Bill of Rights, the right of laborers to organize, public health, internationalism and other perfectly sensible matters. Today, the Harry M. Reids believe in Vast Right-Wing Conspiracies, a government as good as Sweden's and the United Nations as a monitor of American foreign policy. Oh yes, and they believe Justice Thomas does not write very well.
They also believe that they won the presidential election in 2000 and many believe that they won it in 2004. They doubt the outcome of the 2004 election because they approached Election Day absolutely confident that they were headed for a stupendous triumph. They believed that despite the fact that their presidential candidate was the most ridiculous presidential candidate since, well, since Gen. Wesley Clark, who could not have been more preposterous if he had run as a nudist. Of course, if Franklin Roosevelt were resurrected and forced to enunciate the positions of today's national Democratic Party, he too would probably have lost in 2004.
The problem with Harry M. Reid's party is that it is about 30 years out of date. Its economic position is that of John Kenneth Galbraith, without the wit. Its foreign policy is that of Warren Harding. Its social policy is that of Betty Friedan, without the charm. If Reid does not know who Warren Harding is, I suggest he call Justice Scalia, that "one smart guy."
Thirty years ago, Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan said all the "new ideas" were coming from the right. Off and on, he tried to come up with some new ideas for the Democrats. Whether he succeeded or not, the Democrats paid no more attention to his ideas than they paid to the right. They slumbered contentedly in their conceit that they were morally and intellectually superior. Now, they are being lead by this preposterosity, Reid. And he thinks his judgments on Justice Thomas matter. He is in the minority, and that minority will remain a minority for a very long time with him as leader.