Newsweek: “Go to your room, voters!”

I started out my “adult” life, at least to about halfway through college, as a liberal.

But starting in high school, I had doubts; the Dems were a disaster on national security; the economy was falling apart; I started to have doubts that “giving everything to everyone” was anything more than a good campaign promise to people who didn’t think all that hard in the first place.

Those doubts culminated in looking furtively about the polling station in November of 1984 and pulling the lever for Ronald Reagan.  And then lying to my parents about it.  For the time being, anyway; I obviously stayed conservative; within two years, I was hosting a conservative talk show in the Twin Cities.

So here’s a question: was my political evolution, which was a  considered result of a whole lot of reading and thinking and discussion, a sign of growing up and finding myself when it came to my political worldview?

Or a sign that I was just incoherent?

The latter, claims Jacob Weisberg in a Newsweek article called “Why the Public Is to Blame for the Political Mess

In trying to explain our political paralysis, analysts cite President Obama’s tactical missteps, the obstinacy of congressional Republicans, rising partisanship in Washington, and the Senate filibuster, which has devolved into a super-majority threshold for important legislation. These are large factors to be sure, but that list neglects what may be the biggest culprit of all: the childishness, ignorance, and growing incoherence of the public at large.

That’s a fairly big thought, there.  We’ll come back to that.

Anybody who says you can’t have it both ways hasn’t been spending much time reading opinion polls lately. One year ago, 59 percent of the American public liked the economic stimulus plan, according to Gallup. A few months later, with the economy still deeply mired in recession, a majority of the same size said Obama was spending too much money on it. There’s nothing wrong with changing your mind, of course, but polls reflect something more troubling: a country that simultaneously demands and rejects action on unemployment, deficits, health care, and other problems.

They neglect one other things; polls don’t exist in a vacuum.

A year ago, “the public” was wracked with Bush fatigue.  With the full connivance of a media that was completely in the bag for Barack Obama (painting him as a centrist, for crying out loud), they had a brief fling with radical liberalism.  Then they saw the price tag, and the rot that would set in if Obama’s agenda passed, and changed their minds.

They may be demanding action – but not the action that Reid, Pelosi and Obama want to bring them.

Weisberg is half right. The public had a moment of immature incoherence.  It lasted through all of 2008.

We’ll see if people grow up by 2012.

7 thoughts on “Newsweek: “Go to your room, voters!”

  1. Pingback: The Greenroom » Forum Archive » Newsweek: “Go to your room, voters!”

  2. Childish, ignorant and incoherent. I think he just described 80% of the Media. Berg’s what, Seventh Law?

  3. In Weisberg’s defense, there is a certain level of incoherence with a good sized chunk of the public when it comes to spending and taxes. They favor government spending on things they like (more $ for my kid’s school) but want someone else to pay for it. This was part of the beauty of Obama’s campaign promises: everyone saw something in them for themselves and assumed that someone else would be footing the bill.

  4. C-T-E……..sort of like California. They want low taxes so vote for that…but also want tons of free stuff. The third issue that we don’t hear as much about is brutal state gov’t regulation and mandates. From unrealistic pay and benefits mandates… things like…..well, my employer has to report to the gov’t the skin colors of our employees. So a fat bureaucrat with a bad combover can look at the list and see if it is acceptable or not.

  5. I hope when they ‘grow up’ that the voting public breaks up with BOTH of its (big govt) childhood romances. In their ‘youth’ voters fell for the Valentine’s day box of liberal fascism chocolates from both the Dem’s or Repub’s. The tea party movement seems to me a sign that SOME voters are weary of the old line spoken up at lovers’ lane by both Dem’s & Repub’s, “but I love you….”

  6. Mitch, a year ago folks didn’t know what was in the stimulus plan. Now that they’ve seen it for what it was (a giveaway to state employee unions, politically connected contractors, and every collectivist special interest group) of course they’re down on the stimulus.

    There’s all sorts of reasons for a balanced budget amendment, and the dichotomy on taxes and spending is the big one. It didn’t matter pre-FDR when the federal government wasn’t the solution to all problems, but since we’ve shredded the limits of the Constitution, it matters.

  7. The article is very weakly reasoned and written. What good can it possibly do, and what call to action are we supposed to heed, when, as the author ways, the biggest culprit is “the childishness, ignorance, and growing incoherence of the public at large”?
    Given Newsweek’s demographics I suppose the idea is to make the reader feel superior because he stands apart from the “childishness, ignorance, and growing incoherence of the public at large”. But then why use the words “we” and “our” so frequently?
    By far the stupidest line in this stupid essay is ” . . . the Senate filibuster, which has devolved into a super-majority threshold for important legislation”
    The Bush administration ruled for eight years without a super-majority. Nevertheless it began two wars, passed NCLB, and the Medicare drug benefit.
    Weisberg won’t admit the truth. This is a center-right country. It can’t be ruled from the left and remain a democracy.

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