Eugene Robinson has had it with American voters who, in his words, are “acting like a bunch of spoiled brats.” In his recent piece in the Washington Post, Mr. Robinson posits that Americans may benefit from a good old-fashioned trip the political woodshed so that we may better appreciate the fact that quick-fixes to our most serious national problems are impossible. This childish mentality, he argues, is at the heart of the political whirlwind that threatens to blow scores of Democrats from Congress and replace them with a Republican majority no better equipped to handle our current state of affairs than their liberal foes. Of course Mr. Robinson insists that his assessment is non-partisan in nature and has nothing to do with his well-known liberal predilections. While I acknowledge there is some truth to Mr. Robinson’s assessment that many Americans do regularly fall for the populist “quick fix” claptrap peddled by political snake oil salesmen, I disagree that this dynamic is largely to blame for the Democrats’ imminent, Icarus-like plummet back to earth. And, also unlike Mr. Robinson, I’m willing to disclose that my political views, correct as they are, heavily inform my argument.

To say that the most visible grass-roots campaign responsible for the Democrats’ inevitable political misfortunes, the Tea Party, is driven by a desire for quick-fixes or get-rich-quick schemes is laughable in the extreme. Their platform consists almost entirely of austerity measures that promise none of the entitlement or stimulus sweeteners that the Eugene Robinsons of the world have long championed and which, often with bipartisan support, have left the country in its current state of economic and fiscal decrepitude. At best and by their own open admission, Tea Party sympathizers like Paul Ryan hope to implement policies which, if enacted today, will get the country on track for fiscal solvency by mid-century. Hardly a quick fix, but certainly better than the prospects Americans face under continued Democratic leadership.

Mr. Robinson seems unable to confront the fundamental truth underlying the current political mood: that when it comes to promises of an “easy way out” and the populist low-road, liberals are and always have been the usual suspects, and Obama is without doubt the granddaddy of the quick-fix. Unfortunately for them and contrary to Mr. Robinson’s assertion, the American people are, at least for the time being, wising up and demanding more from their government. And who can blame them? When the Obama administration pushes through a $787 billion stimulus package that it promises will hold unemployment under 8% only to see current heights of 9.6%, the expensive quick-fix is debunked. When the White House touts a delusional “Summer of Recovery” that has seen a downturn driving some economists to openly talk about a double-dip recession, the American people rightly lose confidence in their leadership. When Obama’s campaign rhetoric promised that by sheer force of his singular personality he would make America likeable again on the world-stage was followed by continued attacks on American citizens by Islamic extremists and newly-incited animosity against us by our allies, the flim-flam operation begins to fall apart.

There is a powerful, primal emotional response driving the backlash against the Democrats, but it has little to do with a search for quick-fixes and much to do with an electorate fed up with such empty promises. Those leading the movement for change this November are distinguished by the seriousness with which they intend to address our nation’s problems, rather than the politics-as-usual approach that has created them. Americans should be commended for their firm grounding this election season, not chastised by an angry pundit unable to comprehend the overwhelming failure of his own policy preferences.

No comments: