Feehery: The 'comfort the comfortable' coalition

Feehery: The 'comfort the comfortable' coalition
© Greg Nash

Last Wednesday, I saw a friend walking his dog in the late morning on Capitol Hill, attired in shorts and flip-flops. “Nice suit,” he said to me as we crossed paths. “Yep,” I said. “Busy week at work.” He laughed. “I am at work now.”

I don’t know my friend’s politics, but I assume he is part of the Comfort the Comfortable Coalition, that group of upper-middle-class urban professionals who the Democrats seem most interested in pleasing this election cycle. 

Finley Peter Dunne, the noted scribe of the early 20th century, described his mission in life as comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. The Democrats seem much more interested in comforting the comfortable, those ascendant progressives who drive most policy decisions in their now fragile coalition. 

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Vaccine passports, popular in some parts of New York City and other deep blue strongholds, are aimed at keeping the riff-raff out of the finest restaurants. Some members of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement took exception to the enforcement of such a racially-charged exclusionary tactic and protested vehemently at a fancy New York dining establishment. But their protests fell on deaf ears. For Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioEMILY's List announces early endorsement of Hochul More than 200 women, transgender inmates to be transferred from Rikers Island Achieving equity through mediocrity: Why elimination of gifted programs should worry us all MORE and his powerful allies, the message is simple: no vaccine, no soup for you. 

BLM is not immune to the seduction of the Comfort the Comfortable Coalition. Their rallying cry of “defund the police” seemed to resonate particularly well with a class of progressives who feel intense guilt over their own pale skin. But when you undermine law enforcement, you get carnage in the toughest streets in our biggest cities. That may not matter to the clear consciences of white liberals, but it means a great deal to the people who dodge bullets every night in their crime-ridden neighborhoods.

The No. 1 hidden objective of the Comfort the Comfortable Coalition comes with tax policy.  The most influential members of this ascendant group reside in high tax cities and states. Their most important objective is to restore the tax deductions for state and local taxes that used to allow the blue states to tax their citizens at a much higher rate than those who live in other, redder states. Restoring the SALT deduction hasn’t quite made its way into the final tax-cut package yet, because Democratic leaders know it is controversial and they know it will expose them to attacks that they are coddling the rich, which of course, they are. But the thing about this ascendant class is that while they talk about the need for rich people to pay more in taxes, they aren’t including themselves in that category. They want their tax deduction, and it now.

The Comfort the Comfortable Coalition is all for mask mandates, as long as they don’t have to wear them. They are the ones that proudly go through the ridiculous gyrations of putting their mask on as they enter a restaurant, take their mask off as they sit down, and then spend the night laughing, drinking and eating as their servers huff and puff behind a Chinese-made two-ply piece of garbage. If you are a member of the ascendant class, this makes you feel not only comfortable, but superior. Look here, because I am your better, I don’t need to wear a mask, but because you are my servant, you must. Democrats insist that the little people mask-up. We are all in this together.  

Studies now show that the lockdowns hit the working class the hardest, especially Black and Hispanic workers. They lost the most wealth, they lost their health, their children lost the most in school, and for many of them, they lost their shot at achieving the America dream. But for the ascendant, those who are the most comfortable, those who have had their stock portfolios go through the roof, those who can walk their dogs and do conference calls at the same time, things couldn’t be better. They have the Democrats looking out for them. 

Feehery is a partner at EFB Advocacy and blogs at www.thefeeherytheory.com. He served as spokesman to former Speaker Dennis HastertJohn (Dennis) Dennis HastertFeehery: Build back bipartisan Feehery: A Republican Congress is needed to fight left's slide to autocracy Feehery: The 'comfort the comfortable' coalition MORE (R-Ill.), as communications director to former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) when he was majority whip and as a speechwriter to former House Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.).