Consider: just this year, the Senate found itself unable to act on extending unemployment insurance during a time when somewhere north of 17 percent of the country was out of work. In other words, allegedly sentient politicians found themselves unable to appreciate the political value of giving away money. And the Senate also found itself unable to act on the issue of extending health care benefits to the people who got sick working on the pile of rubble that once was the World Trade Center. In other words, we can’t build a Muslim culinary school on this “sacred ground,” and, if you’re coughing up your lungs because you spent weeks pulling body parts out of the “sacred ground,” you’re as shit out of luck as the Muslims are, pal. Free money and helping the heroes of Ground Zero now no longer have viable enough political constituencies in the Congress to get themselves passed. And these are the politics on the verge of success.
And this is the manner of opposition to which liberalism can find no answer — a Ground Zero mosque that is neither a mosque nor a culinary school nor at Ground Zero. Meanwhile, nobody can seem to make a good campaign issue out of the fact that, for the first time ever, a law was passed that embraced at least in principle Ted Kennedy’s lifelong dream of universal health insurance. It was a weak and sickly stab at it, but it was a political triumph nonetheless. Why is this administration not getting credit for all it’s done, wonder the president’s most avid supporters. It’s because there’s nobody out there — including the president, apparently — who can connect these accomplishments in a coherent narrative in such a way as to command the respect of a public conditioned to believe that universal health insurance means that Stalin will rise from his grave in order to march your white-haired granny into hers. That’s what’s never been replaced since we all stood in line by the sea, under the shattered light of a moon as the clouds raced in front of it ahead of the storm.