During the Bush years, the Left prided itself on being what it mockingly called the “reality-based community.” But judging by their delusional reaction to this week’s election, in which Democrats received a historic drubbing, it’s clear that left-wing analysts and pundits have lost whatever connection to reality they once claimed. There are two basic narratives that run through progressive commentaries, neither of which has much to do with reality. The first is that the resurgent Republican Party, infested with all those nasty, racist Tea Partiers, are going to do horrible things with their new-found power – up to and including deliberately igniting a global economic meltdown. The other, is rationalizing why Democrats took such a pounding: the party wasn’t nearly progressive enough. The Left is more certain than ever that the road to victory in American politics follows the same path that it does in NASCAR: you just have to keep turning left.
Lawrence O’Donnell kicked off predictions of the coming GOP-induced apocalypse on MSNBC after the network’s election night crew (consisting of O’Donnell, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, and Eugene Robinson) listened to Rand Paul’s victory speech on Tuesday. It was an amazingly paranoid performance on O’Donnell’s part, one that has to be seen to be believed. (His rant starts at about the eight minute mark, if you want to skip Paul’s speech). In O’Donnell’s world, Senator-elect Paul is the most dangerous man in the world today, due to Paul’s commitment to reducing federal spending. If he doesn’t get his way, Kentucky’s newest Senator will hold the federal debt reauthorization hostage, destroying America’s credit. This will “create a worldwide depression.” Not only did O’Donnell spew this fear-mongering nonsense, he did so repeatedly, apparently certain that the end is nigh now that Rand Paul will be going to Washington.
Analyzing the storm that would decimate his beloved progressive causes, Washington Post columnist Robinson was less apocalyptic, but made up for that failing by being equal parts intellectually lazy and insulting. Ruminating on why the nation has turned its back on the president and therefore on the president’s party, Robinson concluded: “I ask myself what’s so different about Obama, and the answer is pretty obvious: He’s black…I can’t help believing that the Tea Party’s rise was partly due to circumstances beyond his control – that he’s different from other presidents, and that the difference is his race.” So we’re back to that. Two years ago, leftists like Robinson were cheering America for having moved beyond race and electing a black man to the lead the nation. Now, it’s impossible for him to consider that America has been equally color-blind when judging this president’s performance and that of the party he leads. For Robinson, this election was not a rejection of failed policies, but proof that racism is on the rise in this country and that the Tea Party movement is the principal manifestation of this phenomenon.
Lost on leftists like Robinson is that two new black congressmen were elected in the deep south – supposedly the most bigoted part of the nation – during this election cycle. Tim Scott won in South Carolina and Allen West won in Florida because each is committed to reducing the size, power, and cost of the federal government. If America is as racist as guys like Robinson want us to believe, how could Scott and West possibly win? But this is part of the left’s apocalyptic vision as well. The race card has long-ago lost its power in middle-America, but it remains a vital part of the progressive hand. The obvious importance of the Tea Party movement – despite the Left’s denial for so long that Tea Partiers mattered – demands that progressives continue to tar and feather the movement with charges of racism.
Chris Matthews abandoned any pretext of impartiality (what little remains) during an interview with Tea Party favorite and Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Bachmann refused to take the bait when Matthews sneeringly inquired whether or not Bachmann was going to investigate Democrats in Congress. Bachmann did what politicians in this media-driven age almost always do: she ignored the question and stuck to her talking points. Matthews, who apparently has never dealt with that kind of reaction before, then decided to take the lowest road available, repeatedly asking Bachmann if she was “in a trance.” Contrast Matthews’ churlish, childish behavior with that of Fox News’s Greta van Susteren, when she interviewed Florida governor Charlie Crist recently. Crist ducks van Susteren’s questions as well as Bachmann did, but the difference between van Susteren and Matthews is that only one of them believes that it’s important to act like a grown up.
Yet, how could the electorate so decisively and overwhelmingly reject the Left’s benevolent agenda? George Soros’s minions at Media Matters For America repeated the only explanation that they are capable of providing: it’s all Fox News’s fault. Blaring the headline “Fox Wins!” the day after the election, MMFA’s “fellows” stuck to the playbook: Americans are incapable of thinking for themselves and, but for the nefarious influence of the maverick Fox network, would have readily embraced all of the wonderful things that the Obama administration and its allies in Congress have done to make this nation so much better.
Other progressives placed the blame squarely at the feet of their favorite party, saying that Democrats had been defeated because they didn’t give the nation nearly enough of the far-left policies that America so yearns for. Interviewed by O’Donnell, neo-socialist faux-umentary film maker Michael Moore said that Democrats needed to stick with “the base” in order to be successful. The “base” in Moore’s alternate universe, in fact, consists of the poor segments of society who are entirely dependent on government munificence and the rich liberal elite who can afford to ignore the excesses of Big Government. Naturally, voters in districts dominated by one of these categories dutifully elected the leftist-sanctioned candidate. This is proof to uber-leftists like Moore that the progressive message has traction. Moving toward the center, on the other hand, is electoral suicide. Almost half of the “Blue Dog” Democrats lost, after all. Isn’t that proof that the Dems need to swing even further toward the left?
Actually, it’s not. The reason that so many Blue Dogs lost isn’t because they weren’t far enough to the Left; it’s because: 1) they held office in areas that are much more centrist than traditional leftist bastions, and 2) the fact that they were otherwise more centrist than their party was more than outweighed by the neo-socialist policies that Obama, Pelosi, and Reid championed.
The real “base” of the Democratic Party is in fact rather small. Its key components consist of the very poor, union members, government employees, educators, and the ultra-rich liberal elite. In each case, the party’s key supporters believe that government should be responsible to either take care of them, or to ensure that everyone is taken care of. Government simply doesn’t have the resources to accomplish that mission, no matter what progressives might wish to believe. The lesson that the far Left has taken from this election is that Big Government can indeed achieve such noble ends and that the entire free-market system that America was built upon should be sacrificed to achieve that goal. The 2010 election shows that America has indisputably rejected that kind of thinking, but the left hasn’t yet come to grips with even the slightest possibility that is true.