The root of progressive despair

posted at 5:57 pm on August 2, 2011 by Karl

What causes the Democrats and the establishment media to hysterically accuse Republicans of being terrorists?

Perhaps it is the crisis in confidence we see from people like Kevin Drum:

Public opinion is everything. Ronald Reagan was successful because public opinion supported him: he wanted to cut taxes and raise defense spending and so did big chunks of the public. He was leading in a direction that they already wanted to go.

***

This is why I blame the broad liberal community for our failures, not just President Obama. My biggest beef with Obama is the same one I had three years ago, namely that he’s never really even tried to move public opinion in a specifically progressive direction. But that hardly even matters unless all the rest of us have laid the groundwork. And we haven’t. Wonks, hacks, activists, all of us. We just haven’t persuaded the public to support our vision of government.

If it makes progressives feel any better, Drum is only half-right. Reagan — and other Republicans — have been unable to get meaningful spending cuts or entitlement reform because public opinion did not support them. There are a zillion polls showing that Democrats and Republicans alike only support cuts to space exploration and foreign aid. Those who routinely rely on MediScare in their campaigns should not need a reminder of this.

The problem for progressives is not that they failed to persuade the public to support big government; it is that they failed to persuade the public to pay for it. The pundit class (James Fallows, Andrew Sullivan, Ezra Klein, etc.) can pass around their seemingly endless supply of “graphs that all budget discussions should start with” among themselves, but they have yet to figure out how to sell the public dramatically higher taxes, low economic growth, in return for still-unbalanced budgets. Instead, they employ a seemingly endless supply of euphemisms — “balanced approach,” “spending in the tax code,” etc., to avoid speaking their agenda plainly.

The problem for progressives is the end of the Cold War and the global financial panic of 2008. The public has seen the slow demise of totalitarian socialism and is now watching the slow demise of democratic Euro-socialism. Seeing Margaret Thatcher’s comment about running out of other people’s money playing out in the daily news leads public opinon to conclude that entitlements need fundamental changes. The public may not actually want to effect those changes; it will be as hard to wean the public off debt as it is to wean any individual debt addict. But enough of the public is starting to recognize that past progressive over-promising is enough of a problem without signing onto another round of over-promising. This is why the public could not be convinced ObamaCare had merit; they (correctly) did not believe it would reduce the deficit. The public did not need to study the CBO’s alternative fiscal scenario to figure this out; they could look at the history of Democrats and entitlements.

The problem for progressives is that the debt ceiling deal occasioning all of this extremist rhetoric from the left will probably not head off a downgrade of the nation’s credit. A downgrade will be yet another step on the path to hitting the one true debt ceiling. There is likely no amount of messaging — however euphemized — that will convince the public to remake our country in the mode of the failing economies of Europe. And every day carries us closer to the point where the opinion of the public matters less than the opinion of our creditors.

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
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You betcha.

The true debt ceiling’s gonna be a rude awakening for us all, when it finally rears its ugly head.

hillbillyjim on August 2, 2011 at 5:59 PM

The problem with progressives is…socialism.

katy on August 2, 2011 at 6:01 PM

What will they think of president Ron Paul then?

Spathi on August 2, 2011 at 6:08 PM

I don’t see any way the Obama Admin to create the roughly 250000 jobs per month needed between now and next Nov to get the unemployment rate under 8%. Something around 8.5% seems more likely.

Obama cannot be re-elected with unemployment that high.

DrW on August 2, 2011 at 6:10 PM

The root of progressive despair

Alternate headline:

PROGRESSIVES: Constantly Spreading Despair

landlines on August 2, 2011 at 6:11 PM

There is likely no amount of messaging — however euphemized — that will convince the public to remake our country in the mode of the failing economies of Europe.

Too bad for the Oppressives that they didn’t get to do this Before European National Socialism turned out to be such a colossal failure.

Now people can clearly see the horrid results of their agenda.

Hannity was talking about an author who thinks this is a tipping point away from progressive Marxism and back towards liberty.

Perhaps this explains the extreme language emanating from the Left these days – hopefully the last desperate gasps of a once and always failed ideology.

Chip on August 2, 2011 at 6:12 PM

Read this -

We The Stupid – http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/08/we_the_stupid.html

Amjean on August 2, 2011 at 6:12 PM

Progressives are just a bunch of filthy jihadi terrorists who should be put in camps to be re-educated anyways.

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 2, 2011 at 6:12 PM

What causes the Democrats and the establishment media to hysterically accuse Republicans of being terrorists?

I think hawkdriver once quipped that the left sees in their opponents those same qualities that they themselves display (yet would never admit that they do). If true, the left wants to eviscerate and gut the right. They want to cap us and shiv us in the ribs like some trash in prison. They are merely too cowardly to admit it, thus they hide behind “aww its just talk” or “im just a comedian” and “i was only joking…” yada yada. But, it’s true, the left are uncivil and vicious people that have little moral fabric underpinning their beliefs.

ted c on August 2, 2011 at 6:13 PM

Oh, bullsh!t! Obama and Pelosi and Reid damn well did try to “move public opinion in a specifically progressive direction,” and the public said, “No thanks!” THAT is the root of their despair. This is just more nonsense attempting to suggest that Obama’s problem was a “messaging” problem, not a policy or ideology problem. Well, it is ALL about policy and ideology. Americans don’t want to be European socialists…yet!

And when we have a president who laments that he can’t be a dictator “like they have in China,” and who stocks his cabinet with gun grabbers and anti-free speech types, it tells us that he KNOWS his policies have been rejected, and if he could use force, he would. Lamenting the fact that you can’t kill and/or imprison your political opponents is the surest sign there is that you know your ideology has been rejected by the masses.

Rational Thought on August 2, 2011 at 6:13 PM

I don’t see any way the Obama Admin to create the roughly 250000 jobs per month needed between now and next Nov to get the unemployment rate under 8%. Something around 8.5% seems more likely.

Obama cannot be re-elected with unemployment that high.

DrW on August 2, 2011 at 6:10 PM

How do you figure they are even trying?

With the amount of new regulation coming out of just the EPA and HHS they are absolutely killing any potential job growth. They have to know this, it’s intuitive.

whbates on August 2, 2011 at 6:16 PM

The problem with progressives is…socialism.
katy on August 2, 2011 at 6:01 PM

This.

jawkneemusic on August 2, 2011 at 6:20 PM

The problem with progressives is…socialism pretty much everything.

FIFY

katy on August 2, 2011 at 6:01 PM

joejm65 on August 2, 2011 at 6:21 PM

Rational Thought on August 2, 2011 at 6:13 PM

The proverbial hammerhead hit the nail squarely. Good post.

hillbillyjim on August 2, 2011 at 6:21 PM

Why would anyone support someone who is so lacking in insight and foresight that his budget was rejected 97-0? Or a party that hasn’t produced a budget in 2.5 years?

Barack Obama has never run anything except a campaign where the media played the role of lap dogs and his opponent a scared rabbit.

Basilsbest on August 2, 2011 at 6:21 PM

I think hawkdriver once quipped that the left sees in their opponents those same qualities that they themselves display (yet would never admit that they do). If true, the left wants to eviscerate and gut the right. They want to cap us and shiv us in the ribs like some trash in prison. They are merely too cowardly to admit it, thus they hide behind “aww its just talk” or “im just a comedian” and “i was only joking…” yada yada. But, it’s true, the left are uncivil and vicious people that have little moral fabric underpinning their beliefs.

ted c on August 2, 2011 at 6:13 PM

Without a doubt; classic projection. We also see it in real violence, which the left always predicts is imminent from the right, yet consistently seems to come from the left, whether it’s a president being murdered or a protester’s finger being bitten off.

slickwillie2001 on August 2, 2011 at 6:23 PM

What will they think of president Ron Paul then?

Spathi on August 2, 2011 at 6:08 PM

We’ll never know, because your great-grandfather Ron Paul has as much chance of becoming President as crr6.

Del Dolemonte on August 2, 2011 at 6:24 PM

Uh, sometimes it’s the message.

Progressives (and who gave them that name anyway — why not call them socialists — more descriptive and more accurate — they’re only “progressives” when it comes to the tax code) shouldn’t beat themselves up because they can’t sell snake oil. Selling snake oil is hard. Because it’s snake oil.

it’s hard enough to sell a good idea, much less a bad one.

See (I have to slow down for them because they’re a little slow on the uptake for such self-proclaimed smarter-than-anybody types), it’s like this.

The idea is to sell a “better” mouse trap.

It’s not easy to sell a “worse” mouse trap.

Especially to a mouse.

IndieDogg on August 2, 2011 at 6:25 PM

ted c on August 2, 2011 at 6:13 PM

This is why they despise the 2nd Amendment. They know they’re at a disadvantage, no matter how many journolist talking points get repeated. We the people are just not that blind and stupid.

hillbillyjim on August 2, 2011 at 6:26 PM

“The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.”

-Margaret Thatcher

Wethal on August 2, 2011 at 6:26 PM

What will they think of president Ron Paul then?

Spathi on August 2, 2011 at 6:08 PM

We’ll never know, because your great-grandfather Ron Paul has as much chance of becoming President as crr6.

Del Dolemonte on August 2, 2011 at 6:24 PM

Or getalife or DeathToMediaHacks…

OmahaConservative on August 2, 2011 at 6:27 PM

The root of progressive despair can be summed up in one question. “Which would you rather have, a job or unemployment benefits?”

tommyboy on August 2, 2011 at 6:27 PM

The problem with progressives is…socialism.
katy on August 2, 2011 at 6:01 PM

Progressives are the problem…

jimver on August 2, 2011 at 6:29 PM

http://spectator.org/archives/2011/07/19/obama-and-the-collapse-of-the/#

This is another good piece.

tim c on August 2, 2011 at 6:29 PM

I posted this on the Green Room thread –

Progressives can blame one simple event for their despair – the passage of Obamacare. They had to go back and touch ther Liberal Third Rail yet again, and it electrocuted them. Some of them quietly believe it was worth it, but most of them don’t.

If they had not “gone for it” with such an overreachng and constitutionally-suspect piece of legislative sausage-making, but been smarter in pursuing incremental reforms, they might not be in the position they are in today.

Serves them right.

rockmom on August 2, 2011 at 6:34 PM

http://spectator.org/archives/2011/07/19/obama-and-the-collapse-of-the/#
This is another good piece.

tim c on August 2, 2011 at 6:29 PM

Great piece. Thanks.

The Obama regime is not a failure. The Obama regime is not incompetent. The Obama regime has achieved more in two and a half years than anyone could have possibly foreseen. It has debased the currency by 50% of the GDP and guaranteed that our economy will collapse. It has looted the Treasury for more than the size of a top-ten economy and embezzled that wealth into the hands of their fellow Marxists in preparation for the final collapse of the United States. It has ground the economy of the United States to a screeching halt. It has destabilized the entire Muslim world and ensured that there will be a nuclear war centered around Israel within the decade.

The Obama regime has no interest whatsoever in “stimulus” or “getting folks back to work.” How can you not understand this? How can we possibly win this war if we refuse to come to terms with the fact that we are in fact fighting a war.

rrpjr on August 2, 2011 at 6:36 PM

Progressives are just a bunch of filthy jihadi terrorists who should be put in camps to be re-educated anyways.

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 2, 2011 at 6:12 PM

I think you dropped your /sarc tag. Here, take some of mine:
////////////

Mary in LA on August 2, 2011 at 6:37 PM

We just haven’t persuaded the public to support our vision of government.

No, you haven’t and you never will. You manage to do a significant amount of damage, however. Perhaps you should be satisfied with that.

SukieTawdry on August 2, 2011 at 6:39 PM

Progressives simply have no economic argument for their agenda.

MaggiePoo on August 2, 2011 at 6:45 PM

We just haven’t persuaded the public to support our vision of government.

Talk about a absolute dumb ass!

And the thought NEVER occurs to them that A MAJORITY DOESN’T WANT THEIR VISION.

And we don’t want to hear Barry droning on ‘one more time’ about it.

GarandFan on August 2, 2011 at 6:45 PM

We just haven’t persuaded the public to support our vision of government.

Well that’s because people see what Cuba and N. Korea are like and want nothing to do with it.

angryed on August 2, 2011 at 6:57 PM

Don’t know if this is accurate, but a FNC chyron today said that a downgrade to AA would result in $100B a year *additional* INTEREST payments to China.

/weeping

Purple Fury on August 2, 2011 at 6:58 PM

What will they think of president Ron Paul then?

Spathi on August 2, 2011 at 6:08 PM

Best laugh I’ve had all day!

catmman on August 2, 2011 at 6:58 PM

The part of the quoted article I read seems to also be prepping the field for excusing Obama even more for his failures.

catmman on August 2, 2011 at 6:59 PM

Don’t know if this is accurate, but a FNC chyron today said that a downgrade to AA would result in $100B a year *additional* INTEREST payments to China.

/weeping

Purple Fury on August 2, 2011 at 6:58 PM

Does it even matter anymore? $100B is nothing anymore. They spent $700B on TARP without blinking an eye. They spent $800B on Obamacare and celebrated. An extra $100B? Nobody will even notice.

angryed on August 2, 2011 at 7:04 PM

What will they think of president Ron Paul then?

Spathi on August 2, 2011 at 6:08 PM

Best laugh I’ve had all day!

catmman on August 2, 2011 at 6:58 PM

Snowball and hell.

CW on August 2, 2011 at 7:10 PM

It ain’t the advertising, it’s the product.

tbrosz on August 2, 2011 at 7:11 PM

Capitalism is a far better product! Long, but worth the read:
http://mises.org/daily/5505/Why-Capitalism-Is-Worth-Defending

4Freedom on August 2, 2011 at 7:13 PM

“he’s never really even tried to move public opinion in a specifically progressive direction.”

He thinks we are too stupid to understand or too greedy want to give up 75% of our income for wonderful government programs.

We do understand what socialism is, and we do know that most government spending is wasted and that the free market will cause more prosperity than redistribution.

PattyJ on August 2, 2011 at 7:17 PM

But, it’s true, the left are uncivil and vicious people that have little moral fabric underpinning their beliefs.

ted c on August 2, 2011 at 6:13 PM

..the left are largely immature, spoiled juveniles, Ted. At least they consistently behave like it. Their heyday was during the 60s when all of them were in college, ran around crapping in their pants and banging everyone (and everything) in sight, and ingesting any chemical that relieved them of any responsibility for their world. They are still trapped in that time warp and refuse to grow up.

Only children pout and have hissy fits demanding that they be taken care of by others.

The War Planner on August 2, 2011 at 7:17 PM

Look, the Left and Right staying together is like a marriage gone horribly awry- where the spouses have virtually nothing in common and have come to actually loathe each other.
Completely irreconcilable differences.
Can’t we just get an amicable divorce before things come to an ugly violent end?

Incidentally I think of the Dems/lefties/libs as a crazy wife who constantly maxes out the credit cards, buying frivolous, tacky and useless crap;sends checks to her drug addled, unemployed brother;resents, rather than appreciates her spouse, because he is the sole provider; trashes the house; and is screwing the next door neighbor to boot.

justltl on August 2, 2011 at 7:20 PM

Eventually even the faithful don’t buy the lies anymore.

To me is was the fact that Friday was tell the folks about the GDP lies they were telling.

tarpon on August 2, 2011 at 7:27 PM

See, I despise Leftists and their subsets of Democrats and Liberals. There is nothing at all about them that I like or respect. They are destructive to me and everything that I respect and stand for. To me they are malicious,evil, and irrational.

Occasionally I read the comments section of the NYT. As I’m reading, I find myself getting a knot in my stomach and my face flushing with anger as I realize how much I detest these people.

I’m sure that they would feel the same about me.

That’s not a healthy way to live, for either party.

justltl on August 2, 2011 at 7:33 PM

How can anyone in the their right mind say progressives are on the ropes?

This country is now officially democratic socialist and it has been evolving in that direction for 40 years.

Ronald Reagan was a pimple on the progressive movements ankle.

rickyricardo on August 2, 2011 at 7:48 PM

“balanced approach”

Half insane?

disa on August 2, 2011 at 7:59 PM

Kevin. babe, the public knows all about progressives and just aren’t having it. It’s not your sales pitch, it’s your product, dude. Pull your head out, man. North Korea or Cuba are the place to be for progressives. Go there young man.

JimP on August 2, 2011 at 8:06 PM

http://spectator.org/archives/2011/07/19/obama-and-the-collapse-of-the/#
This is another good piece.

tim c on August 2, 2011 at 6:29 PM

Great piece. Thanks.

The Obama regime is not a failure. The Obama regime is not incompetent. The Obama regime has achieved more in two and a half years than anyone could have possibly foreseen. It has debased the currency by 50% of the GDP and guaranteed that our economy will collapse. It has looted the Treasury for more than the size of a top-ten economy and embezzled that wealth into the hands of their fellow Marxists in preparation for the final collapse of the United States. It has ground the economy of the United States to a screeching halt. It has destabilized the entire Muslim world and ensured that there will be a nuclear war centered around Israel within the decade.

The Obama regime has no interest whatsoever in “stimulus” or “getting folks back to work.” How can you not understand this? How can we possibly win this war if we refuse to come to terms with the fact that we are in fact fighting a war.

rrpjr on August 2, 2011 at 6:36 PM
Some more who get it – come on wake up voters! As I said
previously, the repubs bought us flowers and took us out to dinner after they cheated on us – and we are so stupid we forgave them.

Please read this –
Read this -

We The Stupid – http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/08/we_the_stupid.html

Amjean on August 2, 2011 at 8:18 PM

These people can rub their slippers together make all their wishes to every Fairy Godmother that comes along but at the end of the day, THE MATH DOESN’T LIE.

Hummer53 on August 2, 2011 at 8:32 PM

http://spectator.org/archives/2011/07/19/obama-and-the-collapse-of-the/#

This is another good piece.

tim c on August 2, 2011 at 6:29 PM

yeah, but just about how many times the left has to collapse (American and worldwide) for them to understand that socialism is not the answer…if the (LOUD) fall of communism and the Soviets didn’t convince them, nothing will…so color me skeptical on this, nothing will change these people’s minds, they will reboot, re-group, re-brand and they’ll come back to torment us, or the next generations…don’t you see that they bounce back cyclically, like every 10 years or so…one generation works hard to undo their damage, then they’re back with a vengeance…makes one wonder if there is a genetic predisposition towards leftism…am sure some Times article quoting a Cambridge team of brain scientists will illuminate this matter soon :-), some left/right hemisphere brain processing ‘glitch’ or something :-)…

jimver on August 2, 2011 at 10:19 PM

This is why I blame the broad liberal community for our failures, not just President Obama. My biggest beef with Obama is the same one I had three years ago, namely that he’s never really even tried to move public opinion in a specifically progressive direction. But that hardly even matters unless all the rest of us have laid the groundwork. And we haven’t. Wonks, hacks, activists, all of us. We just haven’t persuaded the public to support our vision of government.

Sorry A$$hat, it isn’t the proper massage of the message, it’s the fact that your vision is an abject failure. Get over yourselves. No matter how you package a lie, it still is so.

realitycheck on August 2, 2011 at 11:57 PM

Sorry A$$hat, it isn’t the proper massage of the message, it’s the fact that your vision is an abject failure. Get over yourselves. No matter how you package a lie, it still is so.

realitycheck on August 2, 2011 at 11:57 PM

but this is exactly the problem, and that’s why I said that they keep coming back to haunt and torment us with their failed ideology, they invariably seem to believe that the only problem is with the packaging and/or the messaging, with the way they sell it to people,etc, for them it is inconceivable that it’s the ideology itself that is aberrant and fails every single time it’s being tried in practice…

jimver on August 3, 2011 at 12:23 AM

Kevin Drum wrote, “We just haven’t persuaded the public to support our vision of government.”

That’s because the public sees clearly that your vision is really a nightmare for them. What a jackass.

JimC on August 3, 2011 at 2:39 AM

Serves them right.

rockmom on August 2, 2011 at 6:34 PM

Incrementalism is for schmucks. Obama wants the whole enchilada now and he wants it irrevocable for all time. The conservative Republicans elected in 2010 are dead square against giving that to him. We must support them and applaud their every effort because they will continue to be savaged by the Obama-fluffers in the LSM. Calling them “terrorists” was simply the first shot. I have no doubt that bigger ordnance will follow.

SKYFOX on August 3, 2011 at 6:01 AM

Even slightly mentally-challenged progressives by now should have come to the realization that there’s not enough money, even with higher taxes and even by shifting military spending to social ills, to solve all the problems that they have set government power and largess upon.

We’re not going to end poverty. We’re not going to end exploitation. We’re not ever going to solve homelessness. There is no ability of government to put an appreciable dent in substance abuse. Not every kid is going to graduate HS as valedictorian. Not every kid is going to graduate. Not every kid will be born into a family that will support and nurture them into productive adults. We can’t save all endangered species, having long ago decided to occupy their habitats. we can’t bring the highway death toll down to zero. We won’t ever “solve” global warming, even if we ever prove it’s largely man-made AND there’s an actual solution.

The more government tries to solve the unsolvable, the more it fails. All it succeeds in doing is increasing power through spending, even as people loose faith in government’s relevancy. And as we succeed as a society in bringing more people into the middle class and extending life and preventing the premature demise of same, we only heap up Trillions of dollars in future federal liabilities. Finally, we’re at a point where a clueless, irrelevant, failure of a government is threatening to implode the entire economy in an attempt for supremacy over the entire economy.

Liberals and progressives will have to do triage. they are going to have to decide what the actual role of the federal government is in making the world a better place (as they see it) and then determine which programs can be adequately funded to have a chance at being called successful. They must be the ones to pull the plug on all the thousands of do-good programs on life support for lack of real results.

shuzilla on August 3, 2011 at 10:09 AM