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Sesame Street Liberalism

10:24 AM, Oct 9, 2012 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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In a new television ad, the Obama campaign mocks Mitt Romney’s promise to end the federal subsidy to PBS:

“Bernie Madoff. Ken Lay. Dennis Kozlowski. Criminals. Gluttons of greed,” the Obama campaign's dramatic voice over says. “And the evil genius who towered over them?” The video shows a silhouette of the large feathered creature from Sesame Street: “Big Bird,” Romney says. The announcer moves in for the kill: "Mitt Romney knows it’s not Wall Street you have to worry about, it’s Sesame Street. Mitt Romney. Taking on our enemies, no matter where they nest." 

This is a moderately clever ad produced by moderately clever people. The moderately clever liberals who govern us think it's just farcical that someone should propose, in an era of $1 trillion deficits, that non-essential activities of the federal government should be cut. Limiting government is so dreadfully old fashioned; living within one's means is so awfully earnest.

But the ad doesn't just ridicule Romney as too un-cool for Obama-era school. It gets serious. Because there are real enemies that we do have to worry about. One such enemy? Wall Street.

Now, THE WEEKLY STANDARD would be the first to acknowledge that there's much wrong with Wall Street. Indeed, THE WEEKLY STANDARD is proud to take its place in the let's-not-automatically-defend-Wall-Street, let's-worry-about-Main-Street wing of contemporary conservatism.

Still, there's something deeply revealing about Obama's blithe willingness to portray Wall Street as an enemy. Wall Street is key to American prosperity—even to American greatness. Lots of important and impressive Americans have had careers on Wall Street. What Wall Street does is important. Wall Street matters.

I hate to tell the liberals this, but Sesame Street doesn't. It would be nice if life were "a magic carpet ride/Every door will open wide." It would be nice if happiness could be achieved by government telling us, "how to get/How to get to Sesame Street." It would be nice (maybe) if the world of Sesame Street were real.

But it's not. It's fictional. It's childish. It's as fictional and childish as the make-believe world of Obama's liberalism—a liberalism that scorns Wall Street, and disdains Main Street … but embraces Sesame Street.

UPDATE: The Republican National Committee points out that in the last few days, Obama has mentioned Big Bird eight times, and Elmo five--and Libya not at all.

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