Our #1 is asks and answers the question of where are the liberals? #2 looks at Obama’s Truman strategy to see if it will work in 2012. Not likely. #3 speaks to the public’s greatest fears in 2012. #4 relates how the left seems to spur meanness on their part.
1. Where are the liberals?
…Given the circumstances, this should be a golden age of liberalism. Yet the percentage of Americans who call themselves liberals is either flat or in decline. There are now two conservatives in this country for every liberal. Over the past 40 years, liberalism has been astonishingly incapable at expanding its market share.
The most important explanation is what you might call the Instrument Problem. Americans may agree with liberal diagnoses, but they don’t trust the instrument the Democrats use to solve problems. They don’t trust the federal government.
A few decades ago they did, but now they don’t. Roughly 10 percent of Americans trust government to do the right thing most of the time, according to an October New York Times, CBS News poll.
Why don’t Americans trust their government? It’s not because they dislike individual programs like Medicare. It’s more likely because they think the whole system is rigged. Or to put it in the economists’ language, they believe the government has been captured by rent-seekers.
This is the disease that corrodes government at all times and in all places. As George F. Will wrote in a column in Sunday’s Washington Post, as government grows, interest groups accumulate, seeking to capture its power and money….
…Other rent-seeking groups are dispersed across the political spectrum. The tax code has been tweaked 4,428 times in the past 10 years, to the benefit of interests of left, right and center…
…You would think that liberals would have a special incentive to root out rent-seeking. Yet this has not been a major priority. There is no Steve Jobs figure in American liberalism insisting that the designers keep government simple, elegant and user-friendly. Sailors scrub their ships. Farmers clear weeds. Democrats have not spent a lot of time scraping barnacles off the state….
An interesting article which is complementary to my belief of why the Left loses which I called the Lemonade stand theory. Every summer we see stories of local government shutting down children’s lemonade stands because they don’t have a permit or they haven’t been inspected by health inspectors. They show us that government at all levels doesn’t use common sense and if we can’t trust them not to be stupid about children selling lemonade, how do we trust them with the health care of the country?
2. Can Obama Revive Truman’s “Do nothing Congress Win?”
… For starters, the “do-nothing Congress” label will be much harder for Obama to sell than it was for Truman.
Certainly, even in 1948, Republicans rejected the notion that Congress had done nothing and published long lists of measures passed by both chambers that Truman had vetoed. In reality, the 80th Congress was not a “do-nothing Congress” but a “do-nothing-that-Truman-wanted-done Congress.”
The 112th Congress has actually done less than the 80th and is viewed with more disdain by voters. But the Senate is in Democratic hands, diluting any Congress-based sales pitch by the president.
Obama will not benefit, if that’s the word, from a divided party — there are not likely to be any radical third parties peeling away from the Democrats and driving worried voters to the incumbent.
Moreover, Thomas E. Dewey was a bad candidate. Pietrusza, a vivid writer, variously describes the New Yorker as “insufferably confident” and “bland” and his campaign as suffering from “overwhelming vapidity” and “simple, unspeakable, blundering arrogance.”
Obama might get that lucky, but it seems unlikely.
Perhaps most importantly, despite the economic problems the country faced in 1948, underlying support for continuing the New Deal was strong. Obama faces an even tougher economy, and his economic program inspires little loyalty beyond the Democratic base….
So the answer is no, it won’t work for Mr. O.
3. Poll: By 2-1 More Voters fear Obama’s Reelection than his not being elected
As we enter the presidential election year of 2012, what potential news event do you fear the most?
President Obama wins reelection 33%
Taxes will increase 31%
Iran will get a nuclear weapon 16%
Obama will lose reelection 16%
North Korea will attack South Korea 4%
Source: The Synovate eNation Internet poll was conducted December 29-January 2 among a national sample of 1,000 households by global market research firm Synovate.
This falls in line with the Rasmussen Poll on those who strongly disapprove vs strongly approve of the President’s actions. It is a good measure for voter intensity and bode ill for the Democrats as this means it is less who the Republicans nominate than who the Democrats nominate that will determine the outcome of the election.
4. The Meanness of the Left
Only a fool believes that all those with whom he differs are bad people. Moreover, just about all of us live the reality -- often within our own family -- of knowing good and loving people with whom we strongly differ on political, religious, social and economic issues.
That said, I have come to believe that the more committed one is to leftism, the more likely one is to become meaner.
Two examples in just the past week offer compelling evidence.
Prominent left-wing commentators used the way in which Rick Santorum and his wife handled the death of one of their children to attack -- make that mock -- the former Pennsylvania senator.
In a lifetime of observing and participating in political debate, I have seen a lot of meanness. But one just assumes that some things -- not many, just some -- are off limits to political pundits and activists.
Among these few things, one has to believe, is the death of a child.
But I was wrong….
… Leftists' meanness toward those with whom they differ has no echo on the normative right. Those on the left need to do some soul-searching. Because as long as they continue to believe that people on the right are not merely wrong but vile, they will get increasingly mean. The problem for the left, however, is that the moment it stops painting the right as vile, it has to argue the issues.
If you know many lefties you will find this to be something that appears to be true. There is nastiness to the way they handle different ideas. The movement that claims to be all about diversity does not do well with diverse ideas and opinions. All you have to do is to look how the left characterizes Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, George W. Bush, etc. The vitriol is poisonous.