Free Markets, Free People

Liberals Still Don’t Get It

Robert Reich has to be the poster boy for why liberals are only about 20% of our population. If it weren’t for the quiet backwaters of academia where, apparently they’re pretty much left alone to survive and breed, they wouldn’t have much of a chance of making it anywhere else.

Here’s his latest riff:

What we learned in August is something we’ve long known but keep forgetting: The most important difference between America’s Democratic left and Republican right is that the left has ideas and the right has discipline. Obama and progressive supporters of health care were outmaneuvered in August — not because the right had any better idea for solving the health care mess but because the rights’ attack on the Democrats’ idea was far more disciplined than was the Democrats’ ability to sell it.

A) my 5 year old grandson has ideas. But when they involve matches and curtains, we have a tendency to step in and prevent him from bringing his ideas to fruition. Call that “discipline” if you wish, but just because a group has ideas doesn’t mean they’re worth 2 cents. And in the case of health care insurance reform, they’re worth a negative 1.5 trillion dollars we can’t afford and would put government intrusion and control and new and unprecedented levels.

B) as usual you see a liberal who believes that the message isnt the problem, but the obfuscation of the right that prevented the message from being properly received. Really? It appeared that the audiences of the townhall meetings attacking the plan had actually read more of the proposed legislation than those on stage trying to defend it. They knew what the “message” was and rejected it.

C) and most important – this isn’t just about health care. This is about TARP, porkulus, “stimulus”, GM, the financial system, cap-and-trade and 9 trillion dollar deficits. Those are all ideas that have been proposed or passed by this Congress or administration. The “idea” that has traction is that these are all bad ‘ideas’. However, the left seems not to understand that point and we continue to hear tone-deaf analysis such as Reich’s contending that they only need to sharpen up their “message” a bit and impose a little discipline and all will be well.

Reich then gets into bit of classic cognitive dissonance and projection:

You want to know why the left has ideas and the right has discipline? Because people who like ideas and dislike authority tend to identify with the Democratic left, while people who feel threatened by new ideas and more comfortable in a disciplined and ordered world tend to identify with the Republican right. Democrats and progressives let a thousand flowers bloom. Republicans and the right issue directives. This has been the yin and yang of American politics and culture. But it means that the Democratic left’s new ideas often fall victim to its own notorious lack of organization and to the right’s highly-organized fear mongering.

How can you not laugh outloud at someone who will claim, in the shadow of the biggest attempted takeover of the private sector by government since WWII that those who “dislike authority tend to identify with the Democratic left”.

Given OFA and the unions and the predominant collectivist mentality of the left, that’s laughable on its face.

Also lost in Mr. Reich’s fantasy analysis is the fact that the idea laden left is losing independent support at a rate unseen in decades. It isn’t just the right rejecting these “ideas”, it is the center and even center left.

All of this leaves Reich to conclude:

August is coming to a close, and congressional recess is about over. History is not destiny, and Democrats and progressives can yet enact meaningful health care reform — with a public option. But to do so, we’ll need to be far more disciplined about it. All of us, from Obama on down.

This is what you end up with when you start from a false premise. Believing that all you have to do is impose a little discipline (to those authority hating but collectivist lefties) and sharpen your messaging, and your ideas about how to burn the house down will be accepted with open arms.

Amazing.

~McQ

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21 Responses to Liberals Still Don’t Get It

  • I’ve long thought that if they wanted to appropriately cast the Ayn Rand Fountainhead movie, they’d simply have to ask Reich to play the role of Ellsworth Toohey.

    Then again, I probably give Reich too much credit for his intelligence.

  • Interesting that he should quote Mao-“let a thousand flowers bloom’.

    we’ll need to be far more disciplined about it. All of us, from Obama on down.

    I certainly hope that “All of us” refers only to Democrats. Still, it makes me a wee bit nervous.

  • progressives let a thousand flowers bloom…

    where conservatives would plant potatoes.

    • –> where conservatives would plant potatoes.

      Right, you can eat potatoes, flowers well … they look pretty but ….

  • I read something similar this morning (sorry, don’t remember exactly where): some commenter was holding forth that liberals were using facts and the conservatives were using emotion in the health care debate.

    Sample:

    Lib: “There are people who don’t have health insurance! We will try to guilt you into passing laws so that Government will take care of them!” (This is an example of fact and rationality.)

    Cons: “We can’t afford to buy what you’re selling. Look at the numbers. On top of that, when exactly has a government program kept under its budget?”
    (This is an example of an appeal to emotion.)

    I’m glad I read that post this morning – I had the two exactly backwards!

  • Robert Reich believes that raising the minimum wage INCREASES employment. That tells you everything you need to know about him.

  • Because people who like ideas and dislike authority tend to identify with the Democratic left…

    So he’s pimping for a healthcare bill that uses the authority of the federal government to force people to buy insurance whether they want to or not, and he can put forth this spew with a straight face? What kind of disconnection from reality is needed to fail to see the contradiction there?

  • I read the far left websites to keep on top of their methods and goals.

    As their agenda is tanking in the full public airing of events what I am seeing more and more is simple name calling and some outright lies to try to keep their troops together.

    Any discussion of policies on the merits have been shoved to the back burner.

    The biggest thing that is being pushed is that the right is offering no alternatives. That is false in that many efforts have been made. In fact that effort is futile due to the current makeup of the Congress and the hard control of what gets done by the radical left committee chairmen.

    A simple example of throwing the goal posts so far to the left that any form of compromise would alter things in ways that would be detrimental to our country as a whole.

  • The left doesn’t have discipline? What are all those union thugs they’re bussing in for, if not to provide discipline?

    • sharkThe left doesn’t have discipline? What are all those union thugs they’re bussing in for, if not to provide discipline?

      The libs are smarting over two things. The most important is the vociferous opposition (which, in their minds, is ALL from the right) to the health care takeover. Another source of irritation is that the majority of the congressional GOP refused to go along with Porkulus and the omnibus spending bill. The dems realize that this can be used against them in the mid-terms when GOP candidates can claim that they didn’t vote for a budget-busting waste of money that did nothing to “stimulate” the economy, while dems will be forced to explain why adding nearly $1 trillion to the budget didn’t fix the economy like they claimed that it would.

      But what Reich is really grousing about in this case is the blue dogs. See, in a liberal world, party comes first. SanFran Nan and the rest of the dem leadership wrote the bill and expect that their whole caucus will vote “yea” merely because they’ve been told to do so (in all fairness, that’s what party politics is about). If not for the blue dogs, the bill would have been signed into law by now. That’s what Reich means when he complains that dems don’t have discipline.

      • It’s quite obvious that very few on the left ever put country ahead of party.

        The biggest sin of all is wandering off the Dem reservation.

      • “SanFran Nan and the rest of the dem leadership wrote the bill and expect that their whole caucus will vote “yea” merely because they’ve been told to do so (in all fairness, that’s what party politics is about).”

        IOW, party DISCIPLINE.

        The left says they’re more “creative” too.

        Ideas, in these cases, are (drug induced?) fantasies.

  • Doc states: “The libs are smarting over two things. The most important is the vociferous opposition (which, in their minds, is ALL from the right) to the health care takeover.”

    What I think really makes them burn is the fact that public displays of resentment to the healthcare debacle have been effective in derailing the enactment of the legislation, while the left’s demonstrations against the Iraq war were, unlike Vietnam, ineffective in stopping the war.

    • doubledWhat I think really makes them burn is the fact that public displays of resentment to the healthcare debacle have been effective in derailing the enactment of the legislation, while the left’s demonstrations against the Iraq war were, unlike Vietnam, ineffective in stopping the war.

      Good point, which underscores how much the opposition to health care takeover is real… and how much of the opposition to the war(s) was phony.

  • All the rhetoric in the world can’t disguise the fact that this is an overly expensive and largely ineffective solution to an ill-defined problem. You could buy insurance to cover those who don’t have it for a lot less money, but that’s not the objective. You could offer government funded screenings for health issues that affect large numbers of people, but it isn’t about longevity. You could break the AMA monopoly on medical schools and train more doctors, but it’s not about providing more access to doctors. You could allow PAs and Nurse Practitioners to do more low level treatment, but it’s not really about lower the cost of healthcare. You could reduce the cost of malpractice insurance through tort reform, but the trial lawyers own the Democratic Party.

    I won’t deduct points for the failure to even consider the unintended consequences of everything the government does, nor to admit that every cost estimate ever produced by government has been low.

    Reich’s intellect fails to reach even his stature.

  • Bruce, I agree with most or all of the points you make, but I must begrudgingly admit that Reich’s quote with the emphasis added is true, at least in part:

    “The most important difference between America’s Democratic left and Republican right is that the left has ideas and the right has discipline.”

    The left does have ideas, which the old guard of the Republican Party largely lacks. The leftist ideas are indeed mostly terrible ones. Many have been applied elsewhere in the world or in parts of the United States and should, by empirical evidence, be confined to the dustbin of history. However, conservatives by definition respond to this by saying, “No, the status quo is better”. That may often, or even usually, be the case, but where there is indeed a perceived grievance, the left can make political hay out of such a curmudgeonly response.

    The great thing about libertarianism is that is a philosophy based on sound reasoning and ideas. It espouses some truly revolutionary thinking which was developed by or based on the works of many of the most dynamic modern and classical thinkers. Friedrich Hayek explained this conservative dearth of ideas far better than I could in an essay called “Why I Am Not a Conservative”.

    I should qualify by saying not all Republicans lack ideas, but the party leadership is rudderless. The smart Republicans, like Representative Paul Ryan from Wisconsin, are countering the Democrats with ideas. He has both pointed out the fiscal stupidity of the liberal plan and repeatedly offered moderate and palatable compromises.

    • J – I believe I acknowledged the quote in A) and essentially come to the same conclusion as did you – sure they have ideas, so does my 5 year old grandson, but the fact they have them doesn’t make the ideas good.

      As for conservatives, it seems they think their ideas have to be some form of the Democrat’s ideas, just maybe a bit lighter so they can claim they’re not as heavy handed, expensive or intrusive. Time usually proves them to be wrong on all counts. And, to your point, if they would propose more libertarian ideas I think they’d be surprised at how well they’re received.

  • Yeah, the left own the schools, academia, hollywood, the media, etc. but can’t get their message across…meanwhile the right has “no ideas” – why how could you tell since they have very few mechanisms to even get their ideas across to the public…

  • “It appeared that the audiences of townhall meetings attacking the plan had actually read the proposed legislation than those on stage trying to defend it.”

    How about “It appeared that MORE (most?) of the audience…”

  • Imagine, if you will, how miserable it must feel to be an economist political supporter of a politics no longer supported by economics. At least the socialists of the 1920s and 30s believed that economic reality was on their side, and they believed so in a way that no modern economist could ever believe in the face of the data and history that has transpired since then.