Did the voters really part with Obama because he hasn't been socialist enough?
Bill Maher was befuddled by last week’s election as he discussed the results with his Real Time panel, which included Time magazine editor-at-large Fareed Zakaria. Maher could not understand why voters would cast their ballots for Republicans.
The leftist ideologue stubbornly refused to accept the simplest explanation, that voters parted with President Obama and his Democratic party on ideology. In fact, the simplest explanation was so unpalatable to Maher, he conjured up a nonsensical alternative.
[The blue dogs] lost on Tuesday. Those [Democrats] who said, “You know what? I’m not with Obama. I disavow him, even though he’s my president in my party.” They lost.
What does that tell you? You know, it tells me that this election was lost when Obama didn’t back the public option. To me, that was the one key thing that said to the people – You know what? This is no different than the Al Gore Democrats, the old Al Gore playbook. “Let’s run from our achievements. And let’s not stand for what we believe in.”
To his credit, Zakaria did not let Maher get away with such cognitive acrobatics.
It’s difficult to imagine independents saying, “I’m gonna vote for extremely right-wing Republicans because Obama wasn’t left-wing enough… I think it’s more plausible to say that they perceived, rightly or wrongly, that he had moved too far left… Fundamentally, 85% of the country has healthcare and worries about cost. 15% [of the country] doesn’t [have healthcare] and worries about access. What [Obama] did was, he dealt with the issue of the 15% before he dealt with the issue of the 85%.
Zakaria is hardly a conservative apologist, but has a capacity Maher lacks to see beyond his own perspective. Indeed, it strains credulity to imagine voters turned out for Republicans in retaliation for not getting an explicit public option in Obamacare. If anything, voters holding to such far left ideology likely stayed home for lack of enthusiasm.
We shouldn’t give Zakaria too much credit though, as he fails to acknowledge how the cost concerns of those 85% of Americans he cites have been exasperated by Obamacare, while the access worries of the other 15% remain. It is not as though the minority was seen to at the expense of the majority. No one outside Washington got what they wanted, except for insurance companies who were lured by the short-term boon of an expanded customer base into ignoring the long-term death sentence of unsustainable mandates.
This election was a referendum on socialism. It was a rejection of elitism, arrogance, and the nanny-state. It follows that arrogant elitists who fancy themselves our nannies, like Maher, would be incapable of understanding that.
Walter Hudson is a political commentator and co-founder of Minnesota’s North Star Tea Party Patriots, a statewide educational organization. He runs a blog entitled Fightin Words. He also contributes to True North, a hub of Minnesotan conservative commentary. Follow his work via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.