In the conclusion to his 5 part series “In the Footsteps of Tocqueville” (registration required), Bernard-Henry Levy offers this incisive criticism of the modern Democratic Party in a description of a Democractic gathering:
The fact is that two thirds, maybe three quarters, of the speeches were devoted to talking not about “party lines,” not even about “communication” or “advocacy,” but about marketing, fundraising, the relative merits of the ceremonies financed by the Republicans or the Democrats, the role of the Internet….
Yet on that day, I wanted to hear about something else. I looked for speeches about why this money should be raised. I yearned for one voice, just one, to articulate the three or four major issues that, given the current debate and balance of power, might constitute the framework of a political agenda. A defense of the Enlightenment against the creationist offensive. A Tocquevillian revolution extolling certainly not atheism but secularism, and maintaining the separation of church and state. A new New Deal for the poorest of the poor. An uncompromising defense of human rights, and a rejection of the “exceptional” status of Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo.
Money, and then money yet again. Money, the index and criterion of all things. The hypothesis, the axiom, according to which, in order to win the battle of ideas, you first have to win the battle of money.