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donkhater 11-18-2012 11:53 AM

The Liberal Gloat
 
The Liberal Gloat
By ROSS DOUTHAT
Published: November 17, 2012

WINNING an election doesn’t just offer the chance to govern the country. It offers a chance to feel morally and intellectually superior to the party you’ve just beaten. This is an inescapable aspect of democratic culture: no matter what reason tells us about the vagaries of politics, something in the American subconscious assumes that the voice of the people really is the voice of God, and that being part of a winning coalition must be a sign that you’re His chosen one as well.

This means the losing coalition must be doomed to wander east of Eden, and liberals have been having a good time with this idea of late. “Those poor, benighted Republicans!” runs the subtext of their postelection commentary. “They can’t read polls! They can’t reach Hispanics! They don’t understand women! They don’t have a team of Silicon Valley sorcerers running their turnout operations!”

Back in 2011, the Obama White House earned some mild mockery for its “win the future” slogan. But now that the president has been re-elected, the liberal conventional wisdom is that the Democrats have done just that — that Republicans are now Radio Shack to their Apple store, “The Waltons” to their “Modern Family,” a mediocre Norman Rockwell to their digital-age mosaic.

Maybe it’s too soon to pierce this cloud of postelection smugness. But in the spirit of friendly correction — or, O.K., maybe curmudgeonly annoyance — let me point out some slightly more unpleasant truths about the future that liberalism seems to be winning.

Liberals look at the Obama majority and see a coalition bound together by enlightened values — reason rather than superstition, tolerance rather than bigotry, equality rather than hierarchy. But it’s just as easy to see a coalition created by social disintegration and unified by economic fear.

Consider the Hispanic vote. Are Democrats winning Hispanics because they put forward a more welcoming face than Republicans do — one more in keeping with America’s tradition of assimilating migrants yearning to breathe free? Yes, up to a point. But they’re also winning recent immigrants because those immigrants often aren’t assimilating successfully — or worse, are assimilating downward, thanks to rising out-of-wedlock birthrates and high dropout rates. The Democratic edge among Hispanics depends heavily on these darker trends: the weaker that families and communities are, the more necessary government support inevitably seems.

Likewise with the growing number of unmarried Americans, especially unmarried women. Yes, social issues like abortion help explain why these voters lean Democratic. But the more important explanation is that single life is generally more insecure and chaotic than married life, and single life with children — which is now commonplace for women under 30 — is almost impossible to navigate without the support the welfare state provides.

Or consider the secular vote, which has been growing swiftly and tilts heavily toward Democrats. The liberal image of a non-churchgoing American is probably the “spiritual but not religious” seeker, or the bright young atheist reading Richard Dawkins. But the typical unchurched American is just as often an underemployed working-class man, whose secularism is less an intellectual choice than a symptom of his disconnection from community in general.

What unites all of these stories is the growing failure of America’s local associations — civic, familial, religious — to foster stability, encourage solidarity and make mobility possible.

This is a crisis that the Republican Party often badly misunderstands, casting Democratic-leaning voters as lazy moochers or spoiled children seeking “gifts” (as a certain former Republican presidential nominee would have it) rather than recognizing the reality of their economic struggles.

But if conservatives don’t acknowledge the crisis’s economic component, liberalism often seems indifferent to its deeper social roots. The progressive bias toward the capital-F Future, the old left-wing suspicion of faith and domesticity, the fact that Democrats have benefited politically from these trends — all of this makes it easy for liberals to just celebrate the emerging America, to minimize the costs of disrupted families and hollowed-out communities, and to treat the places where Americans have traditionally found solidarity outside the state (like the churches threatened by the Obama White House’s contraceptive mandate) as irritants or threats.

This is a great flaw in the liberal vision, because whatever role government plays in prosperity, transfer payments are not a sufficient foundation for middle-class success. It’s not a coincidence that the economic era that many liberals pine for — the great, egalitarian post-World War II boom — was an era that social conservatives remember fondly as well: a time of leaping church attendance, rising marriage rates and birthrates, and widespread civic renewal and engagement.

No such renewal seems to be on the horizon. That isn’t a judgment on the Obama White House, necessarily. But it is a judgment on a certain kind of blithe liberal optimism, and the confidence with which many Democrats assume their newly emerged majority is a sign of progress rather than decline.

RedNeckRaider 11-18-2012 01:13 PM

Bound together by enlightened values LMAO yeah that's the Obama crowd alright. I almost spit my drink on that one~

J Diddy 11-18-2012 02:19 PM

An alternate name for this could be "Why the Liberals are teh debil"

BucEyedPea 11-18-2012 02:26 PM

What we can count on is that hubris and pride lead to a fall. Give it time. This time Obama will get the blame.

RedNeckRaider 11-18-2012 02:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by J Diddy (Post 9129486)
An alternate name for this could be "Why the Liberals are teh debil"

Not at all his supporters are not based on secular ideology. It is an insult to those of us that are to be lumped in with his voter base. I hope to live to see the day a candidate runs on a secular platform. A return to the vision of those who founded this country where personal beliefs do not corrupt the the decisions made for this country~

Brainiac 11-18-2012 03:20 PM

All I know is that I'm getting damn tired of liberals spouting the "Elections have consequences" line, as though there is now an enormous mandate to implement all of Obama's policies.

I also know that I'm going to say "Elections have consequences" whenever I hear anyone bitch about the cost of their health insurance going up, businesses failing, ... etc.

stevieray 11-18-2012 03:46 PM

spot on.

Baby Lee 11-19-2012 10:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by J Diddy (Post 9129486)
An alternate name for this could be "Why the Liberals are teh debil"

Where did you get that?

I'm not much of a 'fostering traditional institutions' [ie, the 'everyone should be married with 2.5 kids and attend church regularly for society to function' crowd] guy, relative to other issues.

But he does as much chastising of Republicans for not seeing the pressures put on people that drive them to government reliance as he does chastising liberals for taking advantage of those demographic forging pressures.

BucEyedPea 11-19-2012 11:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RedNeckRaider (Post 9129695)
A return to the vision of those who founded this country where personal beliefs do not corrupt the the decisions made for this country~

Personal beliefs now? Not just religious? That's impossible since that is what politics includes. My personal belief is that envy is wrong because encourages theft via govt. Theft is a crime to me, no matter who does it.

You do know that our Founders also said a moral and virtuous people are necessary to maintain a free society too, right?

The Rick 11-19-2012 12:00 PM

Good article.

For the most part, Republicans don't need to change their positions and principles and become more liberal in order to maintain relevancy and win elections. It's just that, as we recently found out in the last election, one or a few political leaders standing up in front of the country preaching conservative values isn't going to work. Conservatism needs to be more of a grassroots effort and like the article states, it starts with churches, families, and civic organizations.

Comrade Crapski 11-25-2012 12:55 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eam_X...A587D4F7F102D2

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Eam_XScivh8?list=PL2AA587D4F7F102D2&amp;hl=en_US" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

http://tpc.pc2.netdna-cdn.com/images..._Obama_160.gif

Ugly Duck 11-25-2012 03:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by donkhater (Post 9128268)
the weaker that families and communities are, the more necessary government support inevitably seems.

By now we have all learned that Romney supporters are more "dependent on government" than Obama supporters are. We've all absorbed the statistics that have shed light on the fact that its the Blue states that support the Red states through federal taxes. And within states, its the Blue counties that support the Red counties. And within counties, its the Blue districts that support the Red districts. The group most "dependent on government" are older folks, and they went heavily for Romney. Yet Red folks continue to pretend that it is they who are being forced to support us. We Blue folks give to Red folks freely, of our own volition, through our elected representatives. (Thank you! .....You're welcome ). Thats just the way it is - and such truth is available to anyone who believes in simple arithmatic. Its a routine fact as easily understandable as polling data, unemployment statistics, evolution & climate change. Its simply the real world that you stand in right now. Look around you - its really there. And as righties search for "takers" that are "dependent on government," they need look no further than the nearest mirror.

Brainiac 11-25-2012 02:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ugly Duck (Post 9147983)
By now we have all learned that Romney supporters are more "dependent on government" than Obama supporters are. We've all absorbed the statistics that have shed light on the fact that its the Blue states that support the Red states through federal taxes. And within states, its the Blue counties that support the Red counties. And within counties, its the Blue districts that support the Red districts. The group most "dependent on government" are older folks, and they went heavily for Romney. Yet Red folks continue to pretend that it is they who are being forced to support us. We Blue folks give to Red folks freely, of our own volition, through our elected representatives. (Thank you! .....You're welcome ). Thats just the way it is - and such truth is available to anyone who believes in simple arithmatic. Its a routine fact as easily understandable as polling data, unemployment statistics, evolution & climate change. Its simply the real world that you stand in right now. Look around you - its really there. And as righties search for "takers" that are "dependent on government," they need look no further than the nearest mirror.

That really IS you in your avatar picture, isn't it?

Reaper16 11-26-2012 12:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by donkhater (Post 9128268)
The Liberal Gloat
By ROSS DOUTHAT
Published: November 17, 2012

WINNING an election doesn’t just offer the chance to govern the country. It offers a chance to feel morally and intellectually superior to the party you’ve just beaten. This is an inescapable aspect of democratic culture: no matter what reason tells us about the vagaries of politics, something in the American subconscious assumes that the voice of the people really is the voice of God, and that being part of a winning coalition must be a sign that you’re His chosen one as well.

This means the losing coalition must be doomed to wander east of Eden, and liberals have been having a good time with this idea of late. “Those poor, benighted Republicans!” runs the subtext of their postelection commentary. “They can’t read polls! They can’t reach Hispanics! They don’t understand women! They don’t have a team of Silicon Valley sorcerers running their turnout operations!”

Back in 2011, the Obama White House earned some mild mockery for its “win the future” slogan. But now that the president has been re-elected, the liberal conventional wisdom is that the Democrats have done just that — that Republicans are now Radio Shack to their Apple store, “The Waltons” to their “Modern Family,” a mediocre Norman Rockwell to their digital-age mosaic.

Maybe it’s too soon to pierce this cloud of postelection smugness. But in the spirit of friendly correction — or, O.K., maybe curmudgeonly annoyance — let me point out some slightly more unpleasant truths about the future that liberalism seems to be winning.

Liberals look at the Obama majority and see a coalition bound together by enlightened values — reason rather than superstition, tolerance rather than bigotry, equality rather than hierarchy. But it’s just as easy to see a coalition created by social disintegration and unified by economic fear.

OK, this seems like an interesting and possibly useful article so far. I see where it is coming from and I am interested in the rest of this perspective.

Quote:

Originally Posted by donkhater (Post 9128268)
Consider the Hispanic vote. Are Democrats winning Hispanics because they put forward a more welcoming face than Republicans do — one more in keeping with America’s tradition of assimilating migrants yearning to breathe free? Yes, up to a point. But they’re also winning recent immigrants because those immigrants often aren’t assimilating successfully — or worse, are assimilating downward, thanks to rising out-of-wedlock birthrates and high dropout rates. The Democratic edge among Hispanics depends heavily on these darker trends: the weaker that families and communities are, the more necessary government support inevitably seems.

/stops reading

Cave Johnson 11-26-2012 03:24 PM

By all means, keep characterizing Hispanics and unmarried women as moochers. I'm sure that'll work out well.

For the record, Douthat has it exactly backwards. The "leaping church attendance, rising marriage rates and birthrates, and widespread civic renewal and engagement" of the 1950s were a product of an economic climate that promoted stable employment in solid middle class jobs. Living wages have been stagnant to declining for 30+ years, leading to the decline of those institutions.


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