21 Jul 2009

Suicide of the Left

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When certain centrist Republican commentators were seen abandoning the defense of George W. Bush and endorsing Obama over John McCain, one cynic observed that it is always nice to be so obviously winning that all the trimmers, conformists, and opportunists are busily scrambling to climb on board your political side.

New York Times token conservative columnist David Brook’s defection last Fall was one of the minor landmarks on the road to Republican defeat. But, now, not even a year later we find David Brooks scurrying down the ropes and right off the good ship Obama, with a column remarking on the decline in public support for the Chosen One’s policies and predicting his thorough and well-deserved comeuppance.

Why, welcome back, David. Save a seat for Peggy Noonan, will you?

In March, only 32 percent of Americans thought Obama was an old-style, tax-and-spend liberal. Now 43 percent do.

We’re only in the early stages of the liberal suicide march, but there already have been three phases. First, there was the stimulus package. You would have thought that a stimulus package would be designed to fight unemployment and stimulate the economy during a recession. But Congressional Democrats used it as a pretext to pay for $787 billion worth of pet programs with borrowed money. Only 11 percent of the money will be spent by the end of the fiscal year — a triumph of ideology over pragmatism.

Then there is the budget. Instead of allaying moderate anxieties about the deficits, the budget is expected to increase the government debt by $11 trillion between 2009 and 2019.

Finally, there is health care. Every cliché Ann Coulter throws at the Democrats is gloriously fulfilled by the Democratic health care bills. The bills do almost nothing to control health care inflation. They are modeled on the Massachusetts health reform law that is currently coming apart at the seams precisely because it doesn’t control costs. They do little to reward efficient providers and reform inefficient ones.

The House bill adds $239 billion to the federal deficit during the first 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. It would pummel small businesses with an 8 percent payroll penalty. It would jack America’s top tax rate above those in Italy and France. Top earners in New York and California would be giving more than 55 percent of earnings to one government entity or another.

Nancy Pelosi has lower approval ratings than Dick Cheney and far lower approval ratings than Sarah Palin. And yet Democrats have allowed her policy values to carry the day — this in an era in which independents dominate the electoral landscape.

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