All about Ego
August 2, 2012
We don’t suppose many people thought State Senator Tim Cullen’s announcement last week that he was quitting the Democratic Party was a signal that sensible Democrats were switching sides.
First, Cullen said he wasn’t switching sides; second, there are no conservatives to be won over from the Democratic side.
Oh, and before the week was out, Cullen rejoined the Democrats.
All it took was a couple of committee chairmanships.
But there was a message in Cullen’s brief estrangement. It’s a message about where ideological paranoia has taken a party that used to be able to lead, sometimes well, often badly, but nowadays always destructively.
Cullen held his current Senate seat in the 1970s and 80s, accepted a cabinet job in a Republican administration, and became a top executive in the health insurance industry. He returned to the Senate in 2008 as a sort of museum piece, part of a long-gone culture that played partisan hardball and happily relegated GOP legislative minorities to the back of the Senate bus. Back then, Democrats didn’t panic when someone disagreed.
By contrast, today’s Democrats, believing in nothing, are defined by insecurity and aspire mainly to the acquisition of power with which to suppress dissent. Any departure from their well-rehearsed but vacant orthodoxy is seen as a threat to be destroyed by all available means.
Thus their Senate health committee chair advocates government health care; their finance committee chair advocates higher taxes and spending; and their energy committee chair advocates costlier, unreliable energy. Cullen wheedled some gifts from a party that remains ideologically suspicious of whatever helps people prosper in a free society. He won’t that mistake again.