Ed Driscoll

The Statist And His Race Against The Clock

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Rich Lowry explains, “Why the GOP should give O a prize”:

The Nobel committee may have chosen President Obama as the Peace Prize winner because of its hopes for his impact on the world — but his top achievement so far has come at home. Indeed, Obama has been on a roll.

In nine months, he has breathed life into the Republican Party, boosted pro-lifers, tarnished the reputation of regulation, bolstered traditional values, increased the public’s desire for immigration restriction and shifted independent voters rightward.

No, Obama hasn’t turned back the oceans. But revivifying conservatism almost before books announcing its death could be published qualifies as a feat almost as miraculous.

The 19th-century author Nathaniel Hawthorne warned of the perverse effects of grand schemes: “We miss the good we sought, and do the good we little cared for.” For Obama, proving that we live in a center-right country presumably isn’t a “good” at all, but he’s done it with a finality that the late sociologist Seymour Lipset — a student of America’s cussedly right-leaning attitudes — might envy.

Obama’s liberal grandiosity has reminded people why they tend to be conservative — something they wanted to forget during the last four years of the Bush administration.

Gallup‘s surveys in recent months are a long catalog of the Obama snap-back. Fifty-three percent of Americans want government to promote traditional values — “a return to the prevailing view from 1993 through 2004.” Half of Americans want less immigration — “a return to the attitudes that prevailed in the first few years after 9/11.” Forty percent of Americans describe themselves as conservative — “a level last seen in 2004.” Fifty-one percent of Americans call themselves pro-life — “a significant shift from a year ago.”

It all explains the Obama administration’s rush to push sweeping legislation. The fall from grace of George W. Bush coupled with the financial crisis, created a golden hour for American liberalism. The public’s attitudes shifted left, and anything — a New New Deal! a Greater Great Society! — seemed possible. Now, public opinion is returning to its natural state, and Democrats are left in a race against the clock.

They want to pass, by roughly yesterday, a health-care program that won’t take effect until 2013. The fact that the program is unpopular (53 percent oppose it, and 33 support it, according to the latest Fox News poll) only makes its swift passage more imperative. Hurry, before the window closes entirely.

(And yes, RINO Olympia Snowe is doing her best to make that happen.)

Related thoughts from Jonah Goldberg and Steve Hayward, and in video form, James Piereson.

(Video found via John Hawkins’ Viral Footage Website.)