Ed Driscoll

TNR's John Judis, Then and Now

In his latest USA Today column, Glenn Reynolds notes that there really are two Americas — “One that works, produces value, and overcomes problems, and one that for the most part doesn’t work, consumes wealth, and produces more problems than it solves:”

The America that doesn’t work was very much in evidence this past week, as the Obamacare roll out continued to be — in Democratic Sen. Max Baucus’ memorable phrase — a “train wreck.” Writing in The New Republic, John Judis observed that the Obamacare fiasco should make fans of activist government angry, because it will damage big government’s brand for decades to come. Well, if you support big government because you think that politicians are more competent or honest than the rest of us, yes, it’s a big bummer. Then again, if you really think so highly of politicians, you have more serious problems than that.

And Judis does. As he wrote in the New Republic on Christmas Eve of 2008, at the dawn of the era of Hopenchange, when the left was certain that We Are All Socialists Now,” America was Starting From Zero, and were simply dazzled by the crisp, cool, kabuki confidence displayed by the mystical Office of the President-Elect:

A decade ago, I might have been embarrassed to admit that I was raised on Marx and Marxism, but I am convinced that the left is coming back. Friedrich Hayek is going to be out; Friedrich Engels in. Larry Kudlow out; Larry Mishel in. And why is that? Because a severe global recession like this puts in relief the transient, fragile, and corruptible nature of capitalism, and the looming contradiction between what Marx called the forces and relations of production evidenced in unemployed engineers and boarded up factories and growing poverty amidst a potential for abundance. As capitalism itself–or at the least the vaunted miracle of the free market–becomes problematic, the left is poised for an intellectual comeback.

So, how’s that working out these days? With Paul Krugman predicting Carter-esque permanent recessions, TNR needs something to take their minds off the horrors unfolding before them in the White House. No wonder they have a new article titled “High Times Magazine May Be the Most Influential Publication of Our Era.”

After his Website went 404, I’m sure President Choom wouldn’t mind declaring that it’s gotta be 4:20 somewhere, and sparking up a doober himself right about now.