Right Thinking From The Left Coast
I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have. - Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, September 05, 2010

A National Tantrum

Hmm.  I wonder if Eugene Robinson was saying this back in 2006 and 2008?  (Answer: no).

According to polls, Americans are in a mood to hold their breath until they turn blue. Voters appear to be so fed up with the Democrats that they’re ready to toss them out in favor of the Republicans—for whom, according to those same polls, the nation has even greater contempt. This isn’t an “electoral wave,” it’s a temper tantrum.

It’s bad enough that the Democratic Party’s “favorable” rating has fallen to an abysmal 33 percent, according to a recent NBC-Wall Street Journal poll. It’s worse that the Republican Party’s favorability has plunged to just 24 percent. But incredibly, according to Gallup, registered voters say they intend to vote for Republicans over Democrats by an astounding 10-point margin. Respected analysts reckon that the GOP has a chance of gaining 45 to 60 seats in the House, which would bring Minority Leader John Boehner into the speaker’s office.

There’s a little bit of something to this. I think the American electorate is losing patience with politicians who continually promise change and then keep delivering the same broken policies.  And I do worry that people won’t face up to the hard realities on Medicare, Social Security and defense spending (least of all taxes).  But the shift of the electorate in 2010 is no different from that of 2006 and 2008.  They thumped the Republicans twice and are now determined to thump the Democrats.  Is that losing our temper?  Or is a natural reaction to massive debt, a sluggish economy and the looming burden of Obamacare. Are we supposed to sit quietly and do as we’re told?  That wasn’t the attitude Robinson and his fellow media had in 2008.  Why should it be in 2010?

The nation demands the impossible: quick, painless solutions to long-term, structural problems. While they’re running for office, politicians of both parties encourage this kind of magical thinking. When they get into office, they’re forced to try to explain that things aren’t quite so simple—that restructuring our economy, renewing the nation’s increasingly rickety infrastructure, reforming an unsustainable system of entitlements, redefining America’s position in the world and all the other massive challenges that face the country are going to require years of effort. But the American people don’t want to hear any of this. They want somebody to make it all better. Now.

No they don’t, actually.  The rage that Robinson is so condescending to is precisely because we are worried about the long term, not the present.  Future debt, future obligations from Obamacare and the future implications of the bailout state are what have motivated the anti-incumbent surge (which has taken out quite a few establishment Republicans as well).  The voters are not angry because they didn’t get their free healthcare today; they are worried because healthcare isn’t free. They’re fine with incremental change; they’re not fine when that incremental change is headed over a cliff.

Expect to see more of this as the election approaches.  The meme that the Democrats and their media dog-washers flog will be, “You don’t appreciate how much Obama has done.  You want instant solutions when he’s thinking about the long term!” But this is false. Everything this Administration has done, at least economically, has made things worse in the long term.  They’ve crammed through a healthcare bill using bogus numbers to pretend it pays for itself.  They’ve passed a stimulus that failed while wracking up debt.  They’ve passed a financial reform bill the empowers lobbyists and lawyers.

What are we supposed to do when the Administration’s own projections show a decade of snowpiling debt?  Apparently, getting angry about it is childish.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 09/05/10 at 12:12 PM in • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
Page 1 of 1 pages