Rich Lowery explains how the democrat minority lucked into control of both electoral branches of government and then proceeded to self destruct.
The frustrations of minority status can drive a political party batty.
The temptation is to substitute belligerence for thought, insist on a self-destructive purity, lash out at the American public and question the wisdom and viability of the country’s institutions. Indulging in these tendencies almost always makes a party’s position worse rather than better.
The Obama Democrats may be the first party to engage in this self-defeating behavior — borne of a frustrated desperation — while holding the presidency and both houses of Congress by substantial margins.
Through an accident of timing (a national election coinciding with a financial crisis) and the exhaustion of the Bush-DeLay Republicans (who lost power almost by default), liberals took the commanding heights of the federal government while remaining a minority disposition in our national life. In short, they became a rump majority.
Through President Obama’s alchemy, these temporarily enlarged congressional numbers were supposed to be transformed into a permanent realignment. It hasn’t worked out, obviously.
In the last 20 months, Democrats have had the power to do almost everything they want, except command the allegiance of the public. That has made them and their allies feel embattled, isolated and perpetually aggrieved. They act like a forlorn minority at the same time they control every lever of elective power in Washington.
The ultimate source of the Democrats’ discontent is quite simple: They’ve lost independents. In 1994, in taking Congress, Republicans won independents by 14 percentage points. In 2006, in taking it back, Democrats won independents by 18 points. In the latest Gallup survey, Republicans lead among independents by 11 points. …
The pollster.com average of Obama’s approval rating among independents is a dismal 37.9 percent. This meltdown should have launched a thousand agonized liberal op-eds, conferences and strategy papers on how to win back the center. If, that is, liberalism had any realistic sense of its limits.
In the midst of a catastrophic loss of the middle, Obama’s supporters exhort him to get more angry, insistent and ambitiously liberal. Having already pushed for a bridge too far, they want to go farther still. When they can’t, they conclude it’s a damning indictment of Obama’s failure of nerve and the nation’s ungovernablility.
There’s little acknowledgment that the country is in a different place than they are. To the extent there is, so much worse for the country, which is condemned for its backwardness and intolerance. The majority is not just wrong on immigration enforcement and the Ground Zero mosque, it’s contemptible. Who knew that the American public would get accused of bigotry more often after electing an African-American president than before?
As former Bush speechwriter Peter Wehner writes, liberals “are expressing deepening alienation from our nation and turning on the American people with a vengeance.” They thought they had a mandate from heaven in 2008 and can’t bear the thought that they deluded themselves. They’ve gone from triumphalism to a petulant and uncomprehending tantrum in less than two years. The rump majority looks more exhausted by the day.