The Blue Model
So much of the news and opinion that is offered today on cable news and blog sites has an agenda. Right or left, it seeks to persuade, to ridicule, to bend the facts and the authors observations to fit the “narrative”. Because of this, it takes a lot of searching to find cogent analysis that is both objective and compelling, from sources of the opposite persuasion than your own. When I find such, it is always with delight.
Walter Russell Mead is unabashedly a liberal thinker. The Henry Kissinger senior fellow for US foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, and both a graduate and professor at Yale, he has been a lifelong democrat. In recent days, writing in the American Interest Online blog, he has published two pieces on what he calls “The Blue Model” – a name for the social and economic organization of the US since Franklin Roosevelt, characterized by stable employment, government regulation of business, and ever increasing standard of living. In the 70’s of course, the “Blue Model” started its descent into chaos and political polarization. His articles explore the reasons for this and hint at what is to come.
In the first, American Challenges: The Blue Model Breaks Down, he explains the model and the reasons for its decline, and then in Feeding the Blue Beast, he explores the dangers this poses to the democratic party, and what could be in our future.
What we really need in this country is a new generation of post-blue wonks who can think intelligently and creatively about how to dismantle the old structures and replace them with something that works. The political party that can figure this out and build a constituency for the massive and, inevitably, sometimes painful and disruptive restructuring this requires owns the future.
Highly recommended reading.