It’s Not Only the Economy, Stupid
If the polls are right, the voters are in a very bad mood. They are unhappy with the direction the country is heading. They blame President Obama and Democrats in Congress for spending trillions of dollars we don’t have. They worry about their jobs and the future of their children. They are frustrated – and, if the polls are right, the Democrats will learn just how frustrated in November.
Some of the most important and most elite pundits in what we (out of habit) call the “mainstream” media have been pondering this state of affairs. And these deep thinkers have just now figured out what’s really going on. The discontent, they have concluded, has almost nothing to do with Barack Obama, his policies, or his Democratic big-spending pals in Congress. The problem, my friends, is US!
Let’s start with the brilliant analysis of Eugene Robinson, the Pulitzer Prize winner who writes a column for the Washington Post. In a piece that runs under the charming headline “The Spoiled-Brat American Electorate”, Robinson writes that, “According to polls, Americans are in a mood to hold their breath until they turn blue. Voters appear to be so fed up with the Democrats that they’re ready to toss them out in favor of the Republicans — for whom, according to those same polls, the nation has even greater contempt. This isn’t an ‘electoral wave,’ it’s a temper tantrum.”
Who knew that Eugene Robinson wasn’t merely a brilliant journalist, but a brilliant psychoanalyst too. The voters are reverting to their childhood. They are scared and in desperate need of a security blanket, which they have sadly found in the Republican Party. “In the punditry business,” Mr. Robinson writes, “it’s considered bad form to question the essential wisdom of the American people. But at this point, it’s impossible to ignore the obvious: The American people are acting like a bunch of spoiled brats.”
Funny how those very same American people weren’t spoiled brats at all when they voted for Eugene Robison’s candidate in the 2008 presidential election. As long as the voters were slobbering over Barrack Obama, everything was just fine. But once the swooning ended, once the voters came back down to Earth, well, that’s when they morphed into spoiled brats throwing a tantrum.
Eugene Robinson didn’t come up with this idea all by himself. Peter Jennings made precisely the same point in 1994 after the Republicans won control of both Houses of Congress for the first time since the 1950s. “Some thoughts on those angry voters,” Jennings said in a radio commentary. “Ask parents of any two-year-old and they can tell you about those temper tantrums: the stomping feet, the rolling eyes, the screaming. It’s clear that the anger controls the child and not the other way around. It’s the job of the parent to teach the child to control the anger and channel it in a positive way. Imagine a nation full of uncontrolled two-year-old rage. The voters had a temper tantrum last week. …Parenting and governing don’t have to be dirty words: the nation can’t be run by an angry two-year-old.”
Ah, but Eugene Robinson and Peter Jennings are hardly alone. There are other brilliant pundits who have been examining the sad little mind of the American voter. In the New York Times, Maureen Dowd came to realize that what was ailing America was … Americans. Obama, in this view, was the wise grownup stuck with the unenviable task of governing a nation filled with fearful, mental defects. “The dispute over the Islamic center has tripped some deep national lunacy,” she wrote. “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.”
And in Newsweek, another liberal, columnist Jonathan Alter, concluded that the American people simply do not know what’s good for them. They “aren’t rationally aligning belief and action; they’re tempted to lose their spleens in the polling place without fully grasping the consequences,” he wrote.
Still another liberal elite, Jacob Weisberg of Slate, the on-line magazine, wrote that “The biggest culprit in our current predicament,” he wrote, is the “childishness, ignorance, and growing incoherence of the public at large.” He is referring to the tendency of some voters to want it both ways: give us more stuff but cut our taxes; we want government to fix our problems at the same time we want government to shrink. Let’s be fair: there is something to his argument.
Still, the view is taking over among the liberal media elite that the voters – yes, that means you! — are acting out. And yes, the voters – you again! — are throwing a tantrum. You are children — and not too smart children at that. Of course, there’s a pretty good chance that you would get well in the proverbial New York minute if only you went back into your trance and fell in love with Obama and the Democrats all over again. And did you notice? The pundits didn’t write columns about voter temper tantrums and the like when they sent the Republicans packing in 2006 and 2008. I guess they’re only tantrums worth writing about when the voters turn on their fellow liberal Democrats.
But here’s what the geniuses in America’s elite newsrooms don’t quite understand. No one likes to be called names, especially in the promiscuous manner of the liberal elite. Sooner or later people fight back and tell their supposed “betters” to back off. They find a way – like going to the polls — to say, “We’ve had enough of your disdain!”
How many supposedly “incoherent” Americans are sick of being called bigots just because they don’t want a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero?
How many so-called “ignorant” Americans are tired of being slandered as haters because they support Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration law, which is nothing more, really, than a watered-down version of the federal law?
How many “dysfunctional” Americans have had it with being tarred as racists because we don’t share Barack Obama’s vision of a new America?
I’m guessing a lot. But yes, the crummy state of the economy will be issue number one on the minds of voters this November. But this time around, it won’t only be the economy, stupid.