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A Liberal Problem

June 24, 2012
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933. Lietuvių: Fra...

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About one year ago, I wrote the following in and email to several of my friends (you can see it here). It remains applicable today. Liberals tend to forget that old story about Franklin Roosevelt, when pressed by his staff to support creation of the Social Security System, famously replied, “Make me.” In a liberal democracy like ours we do not elect someone to “do the right thing.” That is not only unspeakably naive but ignores the fact that once elected that person represents not just you and your interests but many others and their interests. The best you can hope for is that you have elected someone who you can “make” do what you believe is right. To follow-up an election waiting to see if the person you helped elect does the right thing, in my opinion, is an abandonment or your duties as a citizen. A liberal, even one with the most unsophisticated view of politics, should recognize that he will never be able to “make” a Republican do what he thinks he should do on the issues closest to his heart.

English: In January 2009, President of the Uni...

In January 2009, President of the United States of America, George W. Bush invited then President-Elect Barack Obama and former Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter for a Meeting and Lunch at The White House. Photo taken in the Oval Office at The White House. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The liberal wing of the Democratic Party continuing their tradition, extending back about 50 years, of turning on the person they helped elect President because he failed to deliver on their favorite single issue, thereby more often than not assuring his defeat, have turned on Obama. Despite shepherding through a balky Congress the most progressive agenda since Lyndon Johnson, the liberal élite are furious at learning that Obama actually is the liberal leaning centrist he said he was during election and not the fire-breathing leftist ideologue they imagined him to be in their mad rush to defeat a representative of the previous administration that they helped elect and then abandoned for committing the unforgivable sin of political realism.

On the right, on the other hand the Republicans seem to almost always forgive their leaders for recognizing political reality or, god forbid, actually doing something right among the stream of disastrous policies that so please their rank and file (e.g., Nixon on the Environmental Quality Act, Reagan surprisingly on Social Security). Only George W. Bush seemed bereft of a single socially positive domestic policy initiative and yet despite the almost universal recognition among even those on the right that his policies were a disaster for the nation and his Party, virtually no significant criticism of either him or his policies emerged from the conservative press.

President of the United States Barrack Obama

President of the United States Barrack Obama

The liberal journalist icon , Frank Rich in the NY Times recently has written:

“The president’s failure to demand a reckoning from the moneyed interests who brought the economy down has cursed his first term, and could prevent a second.”

Never has a conservative journalist so blithely abandoned their leader because of a failure of ideology or policy. If that were not so, George W. Bush would never had won a second term.

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