New Deal Liberals Transform into the Faux Populist Radical Left
With elections looming in 2014, it is about time for Barack Obama to gear up another progressive “war” against the rich, the limb loppers, the fat cats, the tonsil pullers, the “enemies” of Latinos, the jet junketers, the women haters, and those who knew neither when to stop profiting nor how the government had really built their businesses. We shall shortly witness some of the wealthiest and most privileged of capitalist America decrying inequality and unfairness from the 18th hole in Hawaii, the Malibu gated estate, and the Beacon Hill mansion. And the faux populism will probably work, at least if 2008 and 2012 are any indications.
It is easy to chart the evolution of the wealthy progressive elite from the occasional limousine liberal of the 1950s and 1960s to the now dominant hierarchy of the Democratic Party.
The traditional Democratic boilerplate  that I grew up with (as much as a ten year old can notice much of anything in 1963) — minimum wage, 40-hour work week, overtime pay, disability insurance, fair housing, civil rights, assistance for the needy — was mostly achieved by 1970. Equality of opportunity, however, did not translate into equality of result — given differences and imperfections in human nature.
Six instead of two children, three packs of cigarettes a day, four beers after work, two DUIs, a messy divorce, a freak accident on the job — the possibilities of either unsustainable responsibility or mishap are endless — can send one from middle class into poverty, well beyond the powers of the most enlightened government to prevent it. What is the liberal to do in those cases to ensure that we end up the same?