Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Gerson: Beware of Radical Democrats!

Following an electoral victory, Obama is likely to face a massive challenge: The least responsible, least respected, least popular political institution in America -- the Democratic-led Congress -- would also be the most emboldened. Democratic leaders with large majorities would be pushed by conviction and hubris, and pressured by Democratic constituencies, toward divisive measures that punish and alienate businesses, seek backward-looking political vengeance and impose cultural liberalism. This predictable story of overreach, backlash and bitterness easily could destroy Obama's presidency, even before his first achievements -- unless he can suddenly find the ability to shape, tame, even fight, the self-destructive tendencies of his own party.
We're talking about a Democratic Party that's still afraid of its own shadow. If the Dems wake up two weeks from now with a dozen new Democratic Senators, and 40 new Dems in the House, they'd still not have the instinct for boldness; they'd still be worried about moving too far, too fast, and offending the voters that elected them, or the pundit class, or someone.

There's no Lyndon Johnson here, ready to arm-twist extensive legislation through the Senate. There's only Harry Reid. There's no lefty equivalent of Newt Gingrich in the House, only Nancy Pelosi - constrained by Steny Hoyer (D-K Street) and his Blue Dogs.

If we were to see the total collapse of the GOP as we know it in the next few years, it would still take five years afterwards for the Dems to realize they had a clear field ahead of them, and get up the gumption to pass the sorts of programs they'd like.

Lay off the hallucinogens, Mike. For your own good.

1 comment:

MR Bill said...

Well, the whole shtick of Right has been to play false equivalences: "Dems=Left, Reps=Right" without regard to the center, which the Right has been dragging right for years. A moderate like Clinton (or Obama) is the Leftist; and the real left (Kucinich?)is marginalized.
Ezra Klein and others have been talking about this bit of conventional wisdom in some good bits recently. (Here's a good one from Paul Waldman at HuffPo
"Heads They Win, Tails You Lose: For the Beltway Media, Even Democratic Victories Prove the Country is Conservative"
And this from the Heritage Institute:
"Let's put this in context," said Heritage legal eagle Hans A. von Spakovsky. "The left has not had unlimited power since 1965."
From , "Been Caught Stealing "
Yeah I long for the days of those great leftists like John Stennis and Richard B. Russell and Speaker John McCormick, in LBJ's day...