US has two dominant parties - the economically liberal but socially conservative Republicans, and socially liberal and economically conservative Democrats.
Many in my circle - the professional class - were long yearning for the third alternative - a party that is liberal both economically and socially. Someone to represent me :-)!
Why is this not happening? Unfortunately, for a reason.
Unrestricted economic liberalism mostly benefits the upper classes.
The lower classes are less educated, more religious (church and especially Christianity historically being used as a way to keep people in their place), and therefore more socially conservative.
Since the upper classes do not have enough votes to advance their agenda, they need to coopt the lower classes to vote against the lower classes' economic interests.
This of course is done by throwing down whatever red meat issues are currently at hand - "family values", gay marriage, "security", "morality", "gun rights", etc. Most of it is either social conservatism or fear because this is what the masses respond to.
And this is why economically liberal parties are bound to be socially conservative. There is simply no way for them to attract enough followers to matter otherwise.
Which is why you have such a high incidents of hypocrisy among Republican leaders - from Rush Limbaugh abusing drugs while preaching death to (other) drug addicts, to Larry Craig's restroom incident. They don't really give a flying f*ck about morals (or anything else they sell - gun rights, security, etc). They are just using this to get more idiots vote for them.
What does this say about the rich? Not much, unfortunately (I cannot bring myself to call Wall Street bankers and automaker CEOs "the elites" which to me means "the best"). By trying to extract the last penny while stirring the worst instincts in the society, they retard the progress of civilization.
Yes, they are rich, but as a result time moves slower for everybody. But you know what? The quality of life and the average longevity of the middle class in the age of antibiotics turns out to be better than that of the royalty in the Middle Ages.
Trading stem cell research for a few thousand bucks in taxes is not smart, and proves once again that IQ and compensation in today's America are unfortunately not correlated.
And this is usually the beginning of the end...