I guess today is "stupidity day", for lack of a better phrase. In an piece at the New Republic, Jonathan Cohn laments "The stupidity of liberal apathy".
This seems totally nuts, purely on the merits. Obama and the Democrats passed a major stimulus that cut taxes for the middle class and invested heavily in public works. They saved the auto industry, created a new regulatory framework for the financial industry, and enacted comprehensive health care reform. Compromises watered down each of these initiatives, to say nothing of the ideas (climate change!) that aren’t going to pass. And still this was the most productive liberal presidency in a generation or maybe two.
He, of course, is focused on the “liberal” agenda and what has been accomplished, such that it is. And he’s somewhat amazed that liberals in general aren’t incredibly impressed and energized by what has gone on these past 18 months.
But, as he admits, much of it has been watered down through compromise and, of course, it is that he sees as the problem that has deflated liberals around the country.
What he doesn’t seem to understand is only he and the liberal community consider what he lists in that paragraph as “accomplishments”. It’s a matter of perspective and, if the polls are correct, most don’t see the “stimulus” as an investment, but instead a product of pure pork. They consider it spending money we don’t have in places the government doesn’t need to be spending money.
And then there’s the car industry. A majority doesn’t see what was done as “saving” anything. Again, they see what was done as government in places it doesn’t belong throwing their good money after bad. They’re also sophisticated enough to understand why it was done – and the word “union” finds its way into those conversations.
Other majorities see the health care bill as a costly abomination unlikely to deliver on its promise of better health care at a lower cost and they also recognize the “financial regulation bill” as just another in a long line of governmental power grabs.
Most are surely sighing in relief that cap-and-trade, aka climate change legislation, failed to find its way into law.
So perhaps the liberals aren’t just in the dumps about the compromises that watered down what was passed. Perhaps they realize the lie they’ve been telling themselves for years, decades even, that they knew what America wanted badly. Here is “the most productive liberal presidency in a generation” and over half the country is up in arms about what has been passed into law during his watch. And as a result, an energized electorate which isn’t friendly toward liberals or those who represent their ideas is gearing up for a November electoral bloodbath for Democrats.
Heck Mr. Cohn – that would depress even the most rabid of liberals. To finally understand that your views are a minority view and not popular has to be devastating. And understanding that what you now have is all you’re going to get is equally as devastating. The stupidity in all of this is to be found in the pretense that if liberals shook of the apathy it would matter.
It won’t. November is not going to be a month you like. Apathetic or energized, the liberal day is setting and there aren’t enough of that type to make a difference in the mid-terms. Independents, finally scared away from the liberal extremists, will make sure of that.