To the Victor Go…
As he often does, Jonah Goldberg captures something almost intangible, but true, with this:
Ramesh asked yesterday: “I’m not quite sure why so many liberals are spluttering with rage over the Republicans’ failure to go along with their stimulus ideas.” He then went on to provide perfectly rational explanations for why liberals should still be happy.
But I think there’s an answer for liberal rage: They won. They’ve been yearning for victory for a very, very long time. They’ve been full of passionate, netrooted, intensity. Like a starving man dreaming of his next big meal, they had all sorts of ideas about how great their repast would be. Moreover, they believed their own hype. They actually believed that the in-the-tank press was accurately describing reality when they described Obama’s FDR-like and Lincolnesque abilities — and opportunities. They bought the idea that because Obama wanted a post-partisan era, he would get it. And they won, they won, they won! And like any kid on their birthday, they think everything should go their way.
That’s why this stimulus bill isn’t a stimulus bill. It’s a bill to catch-up on liberalism’s yearnings for social democracy and a more generous welfare state. God gave them this financial crisis as the perfect excuse and Barack Obama as the perfect leader to bring it home.
And yet, it didn’t happen the way they hoped. Republicans didn’t rollover. Conservatives haven’t dropped their convictions. In fact, they seem to have found them.
Goldberg may go a bit far, here. Be individual commentaries what they will, the broad mood of the American public is of breath-holding. There’s a come-ye-spring longing, and one can hope that even dyed-in-the-wool liberals are a little apprehensive of the broad strokes of the fiscal brush swooping across the canvas.
Conservatives are fighting under a common-knowledge pall of hopelessness, and liberals aren’t sure how much to grab — or how much they trust those doing the grabbing. Perhaps what’s spurring some to anger isn’t so much the petulant demands of the birthday girl, but a nagging feeling that Republicans resolve against the inevitable is evidence of moral — and political — justification.