At the Politico, Joel Kotkin describes how the wheels came off:
In contrast, contemporary liberals seem more concerned about controlling soda consumption and choo-chooing back to 19th-century urbanism. This poverty of ambition hurts Democrats outside the urban centers. For example, when I met with mayors from small, traditionally Democratic cities in Kentucky and asked what the stimulus had done for them, almost uniformly they said it accomplished little or nothing.
A more traditional liberal approach might have focused on improvements that could leave tangible markers of progress across the nation. The New Deal’s major infrastructure projects — ports, airports, hydroelectric systems, road networks — transformed large parts of the country, notably in the West and South, from backwaters to thriving modern economies.
When FDR commissioned projects such as the Tennessee Valley Authority, he literally brought light to darkened regions. The loyalty created by FDR and Truman built a base of support for liberalism that lasted for nearly a half-century.
Today’s liberals don’t show enthusiasm for airports or dams — or anything that may kick up some dirt. Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior Deanna Archuleta, for example, promised a Las Vegas audience: “You will never see another federal dam.”
Harold Ickes, FDR’s enterprising interior secretary, must be turning over in his grave.
Like the TSA agent who’s feeling neglected while groping innocent airline passengers for eight hours a day, spare some sympathy for the average big government leftist. It can’t be very easy for President Obama and his fellow “progressives” to stamp out a century of material progress, while having to deal with everyone complaining about how their efforts have wrecked the economy.