Special Interests And The Democratic Party

Democrats charge Republicans with being prisoners of special interests. A young conservative turns that charge around.

Photo Illustration (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Photo Illustration (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Americans look at Republicans, Democrats, and Congress these days and say “a pox on both your houses.” Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein are writing urgently that Republican extremism is driving American democracy into a ditch.

Jay Cost looks the other way, at the Democratic Party, and sees a paralyzing list of “clients”, from labor to minorities to environmentalists that have made the party, he says, a patron and prisoner. The New Yorker’s Nick Lemann calls it the meatiest conservative take out there on American politics today.

This hour, On Point: a young conservative takes on the Democrats’ base.

-Tom Ashbrook


Jay Cost, staff writer and blogger at the Weekly Standard, he’s the author of the new book Spoiled Rotten: How the Politics of Patronage Corrupted the Once Noble Democratic Party and Now Threatens the American Republic.

Marc Hetherington, a professor of political science at Vanderbilt University.

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post “In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.”

New Yorker “Now they get a quarter of it. The gains have increased the farther up you go. The top tenth of one per cent get about ten per cent of income, and the top hundredth of one per cent about five per cent. While the Great Recession was felt most severely by those at the bottom, the recovery has hardly benefitted them. In 2010, ninety-three per cent of the year’s gains went to the top one per cent.”

Huffington Post “The bipartisan luminaries will be carrying on a discussion to a large extent framed by Peterson, who has spent lavishly to shape a national conversation focusing on the deficit rather than on jobs and economic growth.”

Excerpt: Spoiled Rotten

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