Quote of the Day (So Far!)
Michael Walzer on the Democratic dilemma.
9:18 AM, Mar 10, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
The election of Barack Obama was supposed to usher in a New New Deal. James Carville gushed that Democrats would rule for 40 years. But Obama has had great difficulty enacting his agenda, mainly because the public is opposed to it. Health care reform is in trouble and cap and trade is dead. The stimulus blew a trillion dollar hole in the budget and the economy still shed 4 million jobs in 2009.
Philosopher Michael Walzer
Why hasn't Obama "pivoted" to jobs, like the White House said he would do? Because he understands that he's done what he can -- if all the stimulus did was save the jobs of state and municipal government employees, then $15 billion in temporary, targeted payroll tax exemptions will not spur recovery. After the pivot, Obama would have nothing to do but cheerlead and wait until the economy recovered on its own (which it seems already to be slowly doing). At least health care reform gives him something to talk about.
What Obama has definitely created is a right-wing counter-punch. Political philosopher Michael Walzer describes the left's dilemma well in the new issue of Democracy. Here's Walzer:
I'd second the notion that the left does not have that advantage any more. As Walzer notes, it is the right that is marching in the streets. All the energy is there. Which is why you see Democrats from Nancy Pelosi to Eric Massa (on Glenn Beck yesterday) to James Hoffa attempt to co-opt the Tea Party movement.
Perhaps that energy will dissipate over time. Or perhaps it will grow stronger and culminate in the election of a new, Republican president in 2012. We really don't know. We do know that political conditions rarely stay the same for long. Democracy is a quarterly; Walzer and the others who participated in its must-read symposium wrote their essays at a low point. If Obama signs health care reform into law, he will once again be apotheosized to no end. Like the man who can sense an approaching rain storm, I'm picking up faint signals of an impending (but temporary!) liberal comeback.
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