Tuesday, February 17, 2009

This Just In: Liberals Can't Lead Because Americans Believe In Republican Values

At the core of the tiresome argument over whether Americans are center-right or center-left that is currently raging following the passage of President Obama's $787 billion economic stimulus package is the belief of conservative pundits that the liberal-left is incapable of leading because Americans are deeply traditional and therefore only believe in Republican values.

Beyond Democrat, Republican, Independent and so on, I despise political labels with a passion because they inevitably dumb down the discourse, and the recent use of liberaltarian is a cake taker.

As it is, too many people are comfy with being labeled liberals (aka progressives, as some liberals prefer these days) or conservatives and so on because that way others can think for them. This despite the fact that these are anything but one-size-fits-all labels. But don't try to point out to commentator Robert Stacy McCain that some people on the right-of-center favor liberalizing marijuana laws and some on the left-of-center are against abortion. And how many far right-wingers (on certain occasions known as the religious right) have been outted as being gay or having diaper fetishes or something?

McCain, who draws his oxygen from a parallel universe that makes what he and many other pundits say seem so disconnected from our own lives, self-righteously opines that:
"As a political impulse, the sort of libertarianism that scoffs at creationism and traditional marriage wields limited influence, because it appeals chiefly to a dissenting sect of the intelligentsia. It's a sort of free-market heresy of progressivism, with no significant popular following nor any real prospect of gaining one, because most Ordinary Americans who strongly believe in economic freedom are deeply traditionalist. And most anti-traditionalists -- the feminists, the gay militants, the "world peace" utopians -- are deeply committed to the statist economic vision of the Democratic Party."
Having thus laid out this orthodoxy, McCain goes in for the kill:
"There is no natural political constituency for the sort of libertarianism that considers marijuana legalization and the flat tax as equally estimable objectives. When it comes to the basic electoral calculus of 50-percent-plus-one, this theoretical equation has never been shown to add up in terms of real-world coalition politics. (Maybe the stoners just forget to vote?)"
Alas, poor Robert Stacy has a hole in his memory card.

While he asserts that Democratic presidential candidates like Michael Dukakis and John Kerry went down in flames because they advocated gay marriage, abortion and transhuman
biotechnology, among other cardinal liberal sins and therefore were out of that traditional mainstream, there is nary a peep from him on Obama's historic landslide. You know, the landslide in which voters from across a broad spectrum -- the very essence of that traditional mainstream -- embraced the views of a man of the center-left. In fact, a man whom The Other McCain and Sarah Palin and their surrogates implied or accused outright of being a socialist, communist and terrorist.

This was so not just because people were a lot more fearful about their economic future than an African-American with a funny name, although that was a driving factor for Republicans leaving the fold, Democrats coming back to the fold and Independents who had been on the fence.

It remains to be seen whether the stimulus package will work as intended. The degree to which that happens, how quickly that happens or whether that happens is anybody's guess. But as the most important economic bill in 70 years and considering that the Obama administration has been in office for less than a month and had virtually no help from Republicans, it is quite impressive.

It should be noted that once in office Obama resolutely tacked toward the center as he unsuccessfully reached out across the aisle only to have his hand bitten by Robert Stacy's buddies. But he ended up getting pretty much what he had wanted going in, as well as the support of a majority of Republican governors who feel the pain of the economic meltdown in a way that the feckless Limbaugh Republicans in Congress obviously do not.

Limbaugh Republicans. Now there's a label I can live with.

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