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August 02, 2011

If You Think You're Upset About the Deal, Read the Liberals

A little schadenfreude. If we're miserable, at least they're more miserable.

AllahPundit rounded up reactions to this deal last night, with Peter Kirsanow providing one of the more displeased takes on the right.

Many British papers are declaring this to be Obama's surrender. One quotes American liberal-but-won't-say-so Dave Wiegel:

This debt deal is a gun-to-the-head recanting of everything Obama and his Democrats say they believe in.

And of course there is Paul Krugman's continued hysteria.

Republicans will surely be emboldened by the way Mr. Obama keeps folding in the face of their threats. He surrendered last December, extending all the Bush tax cuts; he surrendered in the spring when they threatened to shut down the government; and he has now surrendered on a grand scale to raw extortion over the debt ceiling. Maybe itís just me, but I see a pattern here.

...

Make no mistake about it, what weíre witnessing here is a catastrophe on multiple levels.

It is, of course, a political catastrophe for Democrats, who just a few weeks ago seemed to have Republicans on the run over their plan to dismantle Medicare; now Mr. Obama has thrown all that away. And the damage isnít over: there will be more choke points where Republicans can threaten to create a crisis unless the president surrenders, and they can now act with the confident expectation that he will.

In the long run, however, Democrats wonít be the only losers. What Republicans have just gotten away with calls our whole system of government into question. After all, how can American democracy work if whichever party is most prepared to be ruthless, to threaten the nationís economic security, gets to dictate policy? And the answer is, maybe it canít.

One thing I notice from a lot of leftists today (like that other columnist whining about "terrorists" earlier) is how quickly the left proclaims that democracy can't work... when they lose a political fight.

Their entire definition of democracy (and government) "working" is "The left wins." The moment the left does not win, democracy is ruinous.

This is not new, of course. One critical difference between a classical liberal (of which "conservatives" are one strain) and a leftist is a respect for the process, the procedure, of democracy.

Leftists do not have any great regard for the process of voting, or for securing the consent of the governed. What they care about almost entirely is outcome -- if democracy can produce the outcomes they wish, then bully for democracy; if it results in outcomes they oppose, then perhaps we need to look at another system.

Perhaps one in which some kind of educated, civilized Vanguard (to give it a name) makes all important decisions on behalf of "The People."

This is not new. This is the standard leftist model, dating back all the way to 1793 and the Reign of Terror in the French Revolution.

It's similar to (and not coincidentally so) the divergence between leftists and classic liberals on economic opportunities versus economic outcomes. Classic liberals desire a system in which economic opportunities are maximized, a system in which the most people possible will be prosperous; leftists fixate not on the process of wealth creation but only the machinery of wealth confiscation and redistribution -- determined to intervene (and take away people's liberty) in order to arrange outcomes the way they wish.

People like Krugman support democracy in exactly the same way they support capitalistic enterprise -- which is to say they don't, but need to occasionally mouth platitudes about each to hide their real agenda of destroying both in favor of a socialist tyranny.

Krugman's colleague at the Times, Tom Friedman, has been championing the supposed efficacy and wisdom of the Chinese autocracy for a year now. Democracy's nice and all, but if we're going to really solve this Global Warming Varying crisis, we're going to need to better insulate the government from the desires of the people.

There is an old saying that democracy is the absolute worse form of government, except for all the others.

But there remain true believers in critical institutions who are pretty willing to give that other form of government another chance.

Just one more chance. It'll be different this time. We know better now. Whereas previous tyrannies of the left thought they were smart enough to actually make all this work, we actually are smarter.

For a more sanguine take from someone on the right, moderate-ish conservative Jon Podhoretz thinks Obama's bluff was called, and, precisely as he described it, it did turn out to be a bluff.

After his bluff was called...

[J]ust 10 days after Obama insisted he would not agree to any deal without tax hikes -- "Don't call my bluff, Eric," he warned House Majority Leader Eric Cantor -- he assented to a deal without any tax hikes.

"I'm going to the American people on this," Obama told Cantor. And he did. He gave three press conferences and a nationally televised prime-time address from the Oval Office. And over the course of the week he did so, his poll numbers plunged 10 points.

...

There was no evidence from the political behavior of the major players that Obama was winning any argument on any point.

...

What do you call a leader who can't lead -- who has lost the ability to turn the public discussion and turn the conversation in the direction he wants and needs it to go?

You call him a loser.

"This may bring my presidency down," Obama reportedly told Cantor in their testy exchange, "but I will not yield on this."

He yielded on this. And it may bring his presidency down.



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posted by Ace at 02:33 PM

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