Over at the New Repuublic, Jonathan Chait mistakes the exuberance he (and his allies on the left and in the MSM) must feel at the passage of Obamacare for a shift in the “zeitgeist.” Now, to be sure, Obama looks more like a winner than he did in weeks past. And it is an accomplishment to push such an unpopular bill through an elected legislature. You gotta give Obama credit for that. Even the Vice President says the president would have been “absolutely done” without a health care victory:
“If we were unable to move the ball on this issue, not only in the political sense might we be dead,” Biden said, according to the pool report filed on the event [a fundraiser in Maryland. “But in terms of being able to deal with other major issues on our plate, we would’ve been done. Absolutely done.”
But, to say the “Zeitgeist has shifted” misses the national mood and ignores numerous surveys which show Americans not just opposed to this kind of bill, but to this kind of legislation (i.e., big government solutions). Americans don’t like the health care bill because they don’t like big government. And because Republicans tried to block it, well, Chait, thinks now Republicans are seen as obstructionists:
The psychology of victory and defeat is a remarkable thing. A week ago, the Democrats were perceived to have an enormous political problem. Their agenda was stalled in Congress. There was a mass groundswell of public anger they had to contend with.
Suddenly those problems have been flipped on their head. Now Democrats don’t have a problem because they can’t pass anything, Republicans have a problem because they’re obstructing everything. Whereas right-wing grassroots activism represented a public backlash against the Democrats, it’s now seen as an extremist element that discredits the GOP.
Note here his use of the passive. Now seen as extremist element that discredits the GOP. By whom, Jonathan? By you and your Bush-hating chums working for mainstream and liberal news media and living in urban areas on the East Coast?
Given that surveys show that just shy of 60% of Americans believe the government is doing much, I don’t think Republicans will have a problem if they continue to “obstruct” Democrats’ big-government initiatives. What Chait sees as an extremist element discrediting the GOP, is in reality, a principled one animating the party.
The Zeitgeist hasn’t shifted. But, Mr. Chait’s mood sure has, so he mistakes the glow he surely must feel after a hard-fought victory (for his side) as a shift in the national mood. Sorry, Jonny, people still hate (to use a word you love) big government and still, even with the media cheerleading this “historic” moment, oppose this bill.
To be fair to Chait, there are some nuggets of wisdom in his piece, it’s just his premise that’s off. Being the Party of “No” is not necessarily a bad thing, provided you affirm something with that, “No.” And if Mr. Chait can’t understand that, I suggest he pick up a copy of Albert Camus’ L’Homme Révolté, The Rebel.