Friday, February 19, 2010

Ungovernable again

Charles Krauthammer:
It’s 2010, and the first-year agenda of a popular and promising young president has gone down in flames. Barack Obama’s two signature initiatives — cap-and-trade and health-care reform — lie in ruins.

Desperate to explain away this scandalous state of affairs, liberal apologists haul out the old reliable from the Carter years: “America the Ungovernable.” So declared Newsweek. “Is America Ungovernable?” coyly asked The New Republic. Guess the answer.


[Obama's attempt to sell his Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi's health care plans] failed because the utter implausibility of its central promise — expanded coverage at lower cost — led voters to conclude that it would lead ultimately to more government, more taxes, and more debt. More broadly, the Democrats failed because, thinking the economic emergency would give them a political mandate and a legislative window, they tried to impose a left-wing agenda on a center-right country. The people said no, expressing themselves first in spontaneous demonstrations, then in public-opinion polls, then in elections — Virginia, New Jersey, and, most emphatically, Massachusetts.

That’s not a structural defect. That’s a textbook demonstration of popular will expressing itself — despite the special interests — through the existing structures. In other words, the system worked.

Yup. As I wrote back in December when this all started up (this time):
it strikes me as yet one more difference between the right and the left, how they view Government, what it's for, what it's capable of and what it's limitations are....Well, they're exactly right. America is "ungovernable." With one caveat. They're using the word "ungovernable" but the idea that they're implying is "unruleable." Because they don't want to govern - they want to rule. They don't want to work with Republicans, deal with grass-roots movements, compromise to improve things. No, they want to impose their rules by fiat. Because, you see, they're smarter and they know better...Utopia is within our grasp if those pesky right-wingers would just get out of the way and let St. Barack engage in his beneficient rule. If you know that you can make things perfect if only given the authority to do so, you're bound to be impatient at any obstacles that might prevent, or even slow, the achievement of that perfection.

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