Ed Driscoll

"The Liberal Temper Tantrum"

The late Peter Jennings wouldn’t believe it could come from his side of the aisle, but the elite liberal temper tantrum has begun, Rich Lowry writes, adding that involves “as much red-faced foot-stomping, breath-holding, and chair-pounding as you’d expect from a five-year-old who didn’t get a Zhu Zhu for Christmas last year:”

Liberal pundits are beginning to grapple with the fact that President Obama’s “transformational” agenda may be dead, and are lashing out at the American public and our institutions of government. That President Obama himself might be at fault for reaching for too much, too fast, apparently never enters their minds.

The opening salvo came from Joe Klein who declared Americans, as he put it in the title of a blog post, “Too Dumb to Thrive.” Their offense? Thinking that the stimulus has been wasted. Klein hit these fools with a killer riposte — they’ve been getting $60 to $80 extra in their paychecks every month thanks to tax rebates.

Assuming that most Americans noticed, are they really obligated to consider a policy a success because they’re getting a few extra bucks? Many of them are probably saving the money, anyway, when the theory was that they’d all be spending it to rapidly revive the economy in a flurry of renewed consumer demand.

Klein then informs the clueless masses that another $275 billion went to grants to states and localities, and concludes that ignorant Americans don’t realize that only these stimulus funds have kept their teachers employed. Except it’s hard to believe the country would have seen mass layoffs of teachers in the absence of these dollars.

“Remember all those ‘shovel-ready’ projects,” Klein continues. “Well, they didn’t exist.” Really? So the president of the United States sold the stimulus as a quick fix for joblessness based partly on a concept that was fictional and then the American public has the audacity to believe the stimulus hasn’t worked as advertised? What idiots!

Klein thinks all the big hiring will begin during the next year when the highway, smart-grid, and fast-train projects come online. Never mind that Christina Romer says the major effect of the stimulus is already behind us. Even if these projects are an employment bonanza, it’ll be two or three years after the recession began and many of those projects — especially the high-speed rail — are dubious on the merits. People are perfectly reasonable in concluding the stimulus was a gargantuan, poorly conceived scatter-shot spending bill that, yes, has been a waste.

But Klein thunders: “It’s very difficult to have a democracy without citizens. It is impossible to be a citizen if you don’t make an effort to understand the most basic activities of your government. It is very difficult to thrive in an increasingly competitive world if you’re a nation of dodos.”

This is outcome-based respect for the American public and for democracy. The people must have been just as stupid when they elected Barack Obama a year or so ago, no? Funny how their collective IQ suddenly drops as soon as they aren’t as enthralled by the president as his still-besotted journalistic admirers demand.

And for those of us on the other side of the aisle from Krugman, Klein and the bulk of the Northeast Corridor pundit-ocracy, Steve Green cautions against whiplash:

Every morning I wake up and read some tremendous news about how some pond-sucking incumbent is in trouble because the voters in his or her (eh, let’s just say its) district have finally woken up to the fact that they’re being represented by a pond-sucker. And then as you click through the links at Real Clear Politics or Instapundit or Drudge, you find even more good news about voter attitudes, or that the most-recent Stupid Pond-Sucking Bill is now about as popular as Extra Itchy Charmin.

But then, by the time you cuddle up in bed with your laptop for the night, you read the latest news from Washington. And it’s always the same: Obama or Pelosi or Reid (or all three) have decided to double down on Extra Itchy Charmin. Or that we’ve lost another kajillion jobs. Or that the deficit has blown past yet another record. Or that Congress has approved raising the debt ceiling, officially, up to levels where even your great-great-grandkids will need to use a hemorrhoid pillow just to sit semi-upright in a used Barcalounger. Or that, at long last, Barney Frank has finally figured out a secure method of taxing the heterosexual orgasm.

Then the next day is exactly the same, only the other way around.

It’s enough to give a blogger whiplash — and I don’t mean the fun kind you get when your tiny little Prius gets rear-ended by Virgin Galactic’s newest rocket plane.

On the one hand, we have spontaneous Tea Party protests that make you think the “heirs of Patrick Henry” are alive and well and living right next door. Or maybe even sleeping right there in your own bed.

On the other hand, we have an Administration so blatant in its mendacity and so unscrupulous in its incompetence*, that just when I ought to be blogging at my bitter best, I’m instead left speechless. Well, if this White House can be said to have a plan, maybe that’s it: To suborn us into speechlessness.**

So if it’s seemed lately that I haven’t had much to say, that’s the furthest thing from the truth. Except for those times when its been quite precisely the truth. Because we’re living in times so extreme and so extraordinary and so extremely extraordinary that you want to shout from the rooftops — only to find, after climbing up there, that you’ve been confused into near-incoherence.

What a short, strange trip it’s been.

But hang on tight, because from now until November promises to be an even more exciting ride. Just don’t get stuck in the downs or caught up in the highs. And whatever you do, don’t use the Extra Itchy Charmin.

*I might be the first writer, ever, to use the phrase “unscrupulous incompetence.” And it might not even make any sense. But what can I say — President Obama just effing inspires me.

**That phrase might not make any sense either, or at least it didn’t before January 20, 2009. Since then, I think maybe it makes all kinds of unfortunate sense.

And speaking of whiplash, Victor Davis Hanson surveys the latest commandments “on the Animal Farm Barn Wall.”