This post was originally posted at The New Democrat
I’m not a mindreader obviously, but Chris Hitchens was an admitted Socialist and was his whole life. Even though late in his career he became more of a Neoconservative on foreign policy and national security. He supported the War in Iraq and admitted that 9/11 changed his take on foreign policy and national security. If Hitchens was a Democrat he was from the McGovernite wing of the Democratic Party, the New Left that came into existence in the party in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The McGovernites that are Occupy Wall Street today are Social Democrats who probably had as much influence over the Democratic Party as the Christian Right has over the Republican Party today. And the McGovernites essentially ran the Democratic Party from 1968 or so until Democrats lost their fifth out of six presidential elections in 1988. Bill Clinton is a New Democrat and comes from the New Democratic wing of the Democratic Party that now runs the party today.
New Democrats believe in using government to empower people. Not support them indefinitely without expecting anything from those tax dollars. New Democrats believe in foreign trade, a strong but limited liberal internationalist foreign policy. Infrastructure, education and job training over government dependence. Smart on crime, not soft on crime which means punishing hardcore criminals and not blaming society for their crimes.
Social Democrats believe in the central state and that the job of government is to take care of people. Not empower people to be able to take care of themselves. Welfare to Work was kind of the last straw for Social Democrats in the Democratic Party after trade, the 1994 Crime Bill and deficit reduction. And not expanding the Federal state as it related to the economy and creating a welfare state for the country. And instead moving away from those traditional Democratic policies.
Again I’m not a mind-reader, but I believe a lot of the criticism that Chris Hitchens has for President Clinton has to do with President Clinton’s politics. Instead of the man’s personal behavior as President and that Hitchens is still angry over how Clinton transformed the Democratic Party and made it a center-left party again. And no longer a social democratic party that it was pre-Clinton that is common on the Left in Europe.