Liberalism’s Existential Crisis

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Trader666, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. Liberalism’s Existential Crisis

    Peter Wehner - 09.02.2010 - 11:39 AM

    As the Obama presidency and the Democratic Party continue their journey into the Slough of Despond, it’s interesting to watch Obama’ supporters try to process the unfolding events.

    Some blame it on a failure to communicate. E.J. Dionne, Jr., for example, ascribes the Democrats’ problems to the fact that Obama “has chosen not to engage the nation in an extended dialogue about what holds all his achievements together.” Joe Klein offers this explanation: “If Obama is not reelected, it will be because he comes across as disdaining what he does for a living.” And John Judis points to the Obama administration’s “aversion to populism.”

    Others are aiming their sound and fury at the American people. According to Maureen Dowd, “Obama is the head of the dysfunctional family of America — a rational man running a most irrational nation, a high-minded man in a low-minded age. The country is having some weird mass nervous breakdown.” Jonathan Alter argues that the American people “aren’t rationally aligning belief and action; they’re tempted to lose their spleens in the polling place without fully grasping the consequences.” And Slate’s Jacob Weisberg has written that “the biggest culprit in our current predicament” is the “childishness, ignorance, and growing incoherence of the public at large.”

    For still others, Obama’s failures can be traced to James Madison. George Packer complains that Obama’s failures are in part institutional. He lists a slew of items on the liberal agenda items “the world’s greatest deliberative body is incapable of addressing.” Paul Krugman warns that the Senate is “ominously dysfunctional” and insists that the way it works is “no longer consistent with a functioning government.” For Vanity Fair’s Todd Purdum, “The evidence that Washington cannot function — that it’s ‘broken,’ as Vice President Joe Biden has said — is all around.” The modern presidency “has become a job of such gargantuan size, speed, and complexity as to be all but unrecognizable to most of the previous chief executives.”

    Commentators such as the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein place responsibility on “powerful structural forces in American politics that seem to drag down first-term presidents” (though Klein does acknowledge other factors). The New Republic’s Jonathan Chait pins the blame on “structural factors” and “external factors” that have nothing to do with Obama’s policies.

    Then there are those who see the pernicious vast right-wing conspiracy at work. Frank Rich alerts us to the fact that the problem lies with “the brothers David and Charles Koch,” the “sugar daddies” who are bankrolling the “white Tea Party America.” Newsweek’s Michael Cohen has written that, “Perhaps the greatest hindrance to good governance today is the Republican Party, which has adopted an agenda of pure nihilism for naked political gain.” And Mr. Krugman offers this analysis: “What we learned from the Clinton years is that a significant number of Americans just don’t consider government by liberals — even very moderate liberals — legitimate. Mr. Obama’s election would have enraged those people even if he were white. Of course, the fact that he isn’t, and has an alien-sounding name, adds to the rage.” Krugman goes on to warn that “powerful forces are promoting and exploiting this rage” — including the “right-wing media.” And if they come to gain power, “It will be an ugly scene, and it will be dangerous, too.”

    What most of these commentators are missing, I think, are two essential points. First, the public is turning against Obama and the Democratic Party because the economy is sick and, despite his assurances and projections, the president hasn’t been able to make it well. And in some important respects, especially on fiscal matters, the president and the 111th Congress have made things considerably worse. Second, an increasing number of Americans believe Obama’s policies are unwise, ineffective, and much too liberal. They connect the bad results we are seeing in America to what Obama is doing to America.

    But there’s something else, and something deeper, going on here. All of us who embrace a particular religious or philosophical worldview should be prepared to judge them in light of empirical facts and reality. What if our theories seem to be failing in the real world?

    The truth is that it’s rather rare to find people willing to reexamine or reinterpret their most deeply held beliefs when the mounting evidence calls those beliefs into question. That is something most of us (myself included) battle with: How to be a person of principled convictions while being intellectually honest enough to acknowledge when certain propositions (and, in some instances, foundational policies) seem to be failing or falling short.

    It’s quite possible, of course, that one’s basic convictions can remain true even when events go badly. Self-government is still the best form of government even if it might fail in one nation or another. And sometimes it is simply a matter of weathering storms until certain first principles are reaffirmed. At the same time, sometimes we hold to theories that are simply wrong, that are contrary to human nature and the way the world works, but we simply can’t let go of them. We have too much invested in a particular philosophy.

    President Obama’s liberal supporters understand that he is in serious trouble right now; what they are doing is scrambling to find some way to explain his problems without calling into question their underlying political philosophy (modern liberalism). If what is happening cannot be a fundamental failure of liberalism, then it must be something else — from a “communications problem” to “structural factors” to a political conspiracy. And you can bet that if things continue on their present course, ideologues on the left will increasingly argue that Obama’s failures stem from his being (a) not liberal enough or (b) incompetent.

    If the Obama presidency is seen as damaging the larger liberal project, they will abandon Obama in order to try to protect liberalism. They would rather do that than face an existential crisis.
  2. Here's a theory, the majority of Americans don't like the guy.

    The majority of Americans have an aversion to the far-leftist world view of our post-American, post-racial, post-capitalist citizen of the world president.

    Oh yeah, his policies have basically paralyzed the entire business world in uncertainty. And his 'stimulus' was basically a slush fund for the Democrat faithful, (gov workers, unions), so they couldn't be cleansed in a proper manner from bloated wasteful government bureaucracy. 99 weeks of unemployment benefits? Perhaps the goal is to spread childishness from sea-to-shining-sea.

    Or maybe it is my childishness and ignorance, after-all, I didn't graduate from Haaa-vard.
  3. Hello


    +1 I find it funny how the media tries to portray a racist element among tea partiers soley because they formed shortly after Obama's election.

    Geeeee im sure it had nothing to do with the fact that a bunch of conservatives such as myself who were already pissed off with bush witnessed close to 2 trillion go out the window over the course of 6 months at the end of bush/beginning of Obamas term, with absolutely no logical explanation, or the fact that the whole economy went into the tank over that period..... No, that could not be it, clearly the entire economic picture at the end of bush's term/start of obamas term was rosy and we were all a bunch of misguided racists.

  4. Yannis


    Obama Is Not A Muslim
    by Ann Coulter

    "The nonsense about President Obama being a Muslim has got to stop. I rise to defend him from this absurd accusation by pointing out that he is obviously an atheist.

    Leave aside Obama's fanatical opposition to allowing Illinois hospitals to save the lives of babies with God-given souls inadvertently born alive during abortions. Also leave aside the fact that neither of his parents were Christians. And leave aside his current crop of "spiritual advisers," which is a collection of Mother Earth worshippers, polytheists and other nonbelievers.

    Now rest from all that "leaving aside."

    The only evidence for Obama's Christianity is that he faithfully attended the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ for 20 years.

    Yes, the guy bellowing "God damn America!" is the one vouching for Obama's Christianity. That's like saying you got sober with the help of your A.A. sponsor Lindsay Lohan.

    It is a fact that any non-retarded person (thank you, Rahm Emanuel!) sitting in the Rev. Wright's church for 20 minutes, much less 20 years, does not believe in God. Even stepping inside Wright's church for a moment to get out of the rain is borderline racist.

    Going to Trinity United Church of Christ is even stronger evidence of nonbelief than Bill Clinton returning from Sunday services to receive oral sex from Monica Lewinsky. This isn't mere sin -- everybody sins (though some with more frequency and less remorse than others).

    Attending Wright's church is the conscious, calculated decision to immerse yourself in hate-filled demagoguery and call it "Christianity."

    But according to North Korean TV's Chris Matthews, it is a provable, scientific fact that Obama is a Christian because he says so. "Everybody watching right now," Matthews said to his several viewers last week, "gets credit for being of the religion you say you are. ... We accept that in America. It's called freedom of religion and respect for religion."

    That would make professions of religious belief, unlike all other self-professions, unchallengeable. Liberals say conservatives don't believe in civil rights. I say liberals are godless traitors. Why is one statement debatable and the other not?

    Doesn't anyone question the Christianity of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker? How about the Satanists claiming to be Christians who stand outside soldiers' funerals with signs that say "God Hates Fags"?

    And, for the record, the allegedly inviolate assertion of one's own religious belief wasn't so inviolate when it came to Ronald Reagan.

    Tip O'Neill used to question President Reagan's Christianity all the time, taunting the president for not attending church regularly. Matthews might remember that: He was working for O'Neill at the time.

    In fact, parading to church in front of the TV cameras carrying a 10-pound Bible -- like a certain serial adulterer, impeached president I could name -- is strongly discouraged by the creator of the universe. ("Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 6.1)

    Some conservatives have cited Obama's near complete refusal to go to church to suggest he's not the "devout Christian" who "prays every day" as the White House claims.

    But that's not your proof, Christians. To the contrary, it's Obama's church attendance -- back in Chicago -- that proves he's an atheist.

    This was inadvertently admitted by Obama's leading butt-boy, Richard Wolffe, on North Korean TV Monday night. Wolffe acknowledged that Wright's liberation theology was not Christianity, but then forcefully distinguished Obama from the Rev. Wright –- i.e., Obama's sole character witness for his alleged Christianity.

    Of Glenn Beck's denunciation of liberation theology as a false religion, Wolffe said: "Is he debating Jeremiah Wright or Barack Obama? They're two different people. If he wants to debate liberation theology with Wright, he's got something to talk about. But liberation theology hasn't been anything espoused by this president."

    But it was espoused in the only church Obama ever attended regularly -- for 20 years, no less -- was married in and had his daughters baptized in. The title of Obama's autobiography came from the title of one of Wright's sermons and snippets from Wright's sermons have appeared in Obama's work.

    So the sole evidence of Obama's supposed Christianity is his longtime pastor, who everyone admits is a racist nut.

    No sentient human is required to take Obama's profession of Christianity any more seriously than if it were coming from a 1980s blow-dried, money-grubbing televangelist with a mistress on the side.

    All liberals are atheists. Only the ones who have to stand for election even bother pretending to believe in God.

    Not being acquainted with any actual Christians, they aren't particularly good bluffers. That's why Democrats babble incoherently whenever the subject of religion comes up. Liberals acting devout always looks like the love scenes between Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis in "Top Gun": awkward and unconvincing.

    Former divinity student Al Gore famously botched a biblical verse, switching God's instruction that we put heaven before earthly things ("For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also," Matthew 6:21) by saying we should make the Earth our treasure. (In the druidical religion of liberalism, not separating your recyclables is a sin, but abortion is just a medical procedure.)

    Howard Dean told a reporter his favorite book of the New Testament was Job.

    It took the Democrats' born-again Christian Jimmy Carter three decades to announce, in 2005, that he didn't think Jesus would approve of abortion ("unless the mother's life or health was in danger or perhaps the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest," etc. etc.).

    There's only one true Christian liberal in the country and that's Mike Huckabee."