Getting Shit Done, Ctd

More

Beinart notices:

The media views policy through the lens of politics. Unless a policy victory brings political benefitsrising poll numbers, better prospects for the next electionsit is not treated as a big win. Thus, the Tea Party movement is considered an ominous sign for Obama, evidence that the country is turning against him. But the reason that the Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin crowd is so angry is that Obama has expanded the federal government’s relationship with the private sector in fundamental ways. In political terms, the Tea Party movement may be a sign of Obama’s weakened position, but in policy terms, it is a testament to his success.

As shrewd conservatives like David Frum recognize, the current mood of Republican optimism is wildly misplaced.

When Republicans refused to compromise with Obama on health care, they gambled that he wouldn’t, or couldn’t, push through reform with only Democratic support. Then, when he did, they insisted that he was destroying his chances of passing future legislation. Now he’s proved them wrong again. So what if Obama’s legislative success prompts a backlash that buys the GOP a few more seats this fall? As Frum has asked pointedly, was it a win for the Republicans because after Lyndon Johnson passed Medicare they picked up seats in the midterm elections of 1966? The larger truth is this: Even as Republicans claim political momentum, the country is in the midst of a major shift leftward when it comes to the role of government.

And this shift, more importantly, is not  result of some ideological conversion. It's out of a pragmatic attempt to redress the excesses of a generation of conservatism. America's ability to do this - to move between one pole and another as circumstances change - is part of its small-c conservative genius.

Jump to comments

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

'Stop Telling Women to Smile'

An artist's campaign to end sexual harassment on the streets of NYC.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down