Commentary Magazine


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A Democratic Theme Emerges

After apparently burying the hatchet on race and gender by talking about race and gender for the first 15 minutes of the debate, the Democratic party seemed to warm to a common theme: corporate bashing.

This is an old theme, explored by Al Gore and occasionally deployed by John Kerry, but in the interest of unity, it may become the strongest message of the campaign. Pharmaceutical companies, mortgage companies, big banks, oil companies, and insurance companies have all come in for some sort of bashing tonight. All this will become more palatable if the economy continues to drift south, of course. The challenge for Republicans will be to be pro-business in difficult times, rather than just retreating to standard GOP chatter about entrepreneurs and small businesses. The theme Republicans ought to embrace is the need for American businesses to be the most competitive in the world.

Oddly, the Michigan GOP primary, supposedly focused on the economy, didn’t create any debate on this subject. Instead, from Romney we got auto industry pandering and from McCain, a lot of talk about job retraining.