Mitt Romney thinks Obama voters are moochers who just want free gifts, but Ross Douthat isn't that sort of conservative -- he's appalled at this way of thinking:
This is a crisis that the Republican Party often badly misunderstands, casting Democratic-leaning voters as lazy moochers or spoiled children seeking "gifts" (as a certain former Republican presidential nominee would have it) rather than recognizing the reality...."The reality"? And what is "the reality," according to Douthat? It's that Democratic voters don't want free stuff -- they're miserable, poorly socialized, dependent people who desperately need free stuff!
Consider the Hispanic vote. Are Democrats winning Hispanics because they put forward a more welcoming face than Republicans do...? Yes, up to a point. But they're also winning recent immigrants because those immigrants often aren't assimilating successfully -- or worse, are assimilating downward, thanks to rising out-of-wedlock birthrates and high dropout rates. The Democratic edge among Hispanics depends heavily on these darker trends: the weaker that families and communities are, the more necessary government support inevitably seems.Or sometimes they're just poor and miserable:
Likewise with the growing number of unmarried Americans, especially unmarried women. Yes, social issues like abortion help explain why these voters lean Democratic. But the more important explanation is that single life is generally more insecure and chaotic than married life, and single life with children -- which is now commonplace for women under 30 -- is almost impossible to navigate without the support the welfare state provides.
Or consider the secular vote, which has been growing swiftly and tilts heavily toward Democrats. The liberal image of a non-churchgoing American is probably the "spiritual but not religious" seeker, or the bright young atheist reading Richard Dawkins. But the typical unchurched American is just as often an underemployed working-class man, whose secularism is less an intellectual choice than a symptom of his disconnection from community in general.Douthat understands these voters. He feels their pain. He acknowledges that they have real needs.
But do you know what they really need? No, not free stuff:
It's not a coincidence that the economic era that many liberals pine for -- the great, egalitarian post-World War II boom -- was an era that social conservatives remember fondly as well: a time of leaping church attendance, rising marriage rates and birthrates, and widespread civic renewal and engagement.Obama voters need to be freed from "the old left-wing suspicion of faith and domesticity," so we can return to the post-World War II era! Why, after all, was America so prosperous after World War II? It couldn't possibly have been the massive infrastructure spending, or the GI Bill, or the jobs created by the military buildup, or the strong union movement, or the progressive tax rates, or the pent-up consumer demand after near two decades of depression and war, or the fact that our industrial capacity, unlike that of the Europeans, was intact.
No, it must have been the churchgoing and the heterosexual marriage.
(And the bowling leagues. I think that's what Douthat means by "widespread civic renewal and engagement.")
They're what made America rich! So, Obama voters, in addition to joining a bowling league, go to church and stop having out-of-wedlock, non-procreative sex! That's said not out of contempt, but out of love!
Yeah, this is a much more welcoming message for the GOP, isn't it?