Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns


Listening to good sense of the people

I want to make sure you get this Peter Baker piece ("Education of a President") in the New York Times Magazine.  It is revealing.  So is this Bob Herbert op-ed on the same issue today.  This is a pretty good attempt by a Dem--as close as his ideology will allow--to come to grips with their problem.  In other words, They understand it as not reflecting the interest of the American people (high unemployment, bad economy, etc., doesn't show that their prospects are improving), they can't get to the larger point of the character and the sentiment of the people.  The most surprising thing about Obama is how UNpersuasive he is; everyone expected the opposite, we all thought he would be very persuasive.  Now the people see that he is not capable of persuading because he doesn't understand the sentiments--character of, and political opinion of, if you like--of the American people.  It is arguably the case that the GOP, at the moment, also does not understand the sentiments of the American people.  It is probably true that the Te Party represents the sentiments of the people, even though it is not able to articulate it (vide Sarah Palin).  Is it surprsing anyone that no one is persuasive?  It is probable that the same reason Bush and the GOP lost in '06 and '08, is the same reason the Dems will lose in 2010: Neither listened to the people, neither was able to persuade, neither got the people's consent before acting.  Julie once wrote (or said to me) that when the people heard Obama say in the campaign that "we are the change we have been waiting for" they thought he was talking about them, the people.  But, it turns out he wasn't talking about us but rather about his elititist and haughty friends, at least that's what the people think now. This is why Obama ended pushing through health care, instead of persuading the people to support it.  But their political sentiments are well formed enough to oppose those Dems who are not seeing this, hence the coming tidal wave.  Then, the next two years will be enough time to reflect and persuade on all this, and again to choose, for even better reasons.
Categories > Elections

Discussions - 3 Comments

That was good.

Still, would someone please tell the president he has policy problems, not just persuasion problems. He might yet figure out how to persuade. I sure hope he doesn't, given his policy direction on all sorts of issues. Can he persuade us that the "pig in a poke" of health care policy he forced on us is a good idea? Boy, I hope not. "Give up your liberty! It is too much for you. You have right to government that takes care of such needs. It is good for you to depend on government!" God help us, I hope he is never able to persuade enough of the American people to such policy.

Did you see this?

He might persuade us to this, abandoning the Afghan war by forcing accommodation with the Taliban. Making a "reasonable peace" with unreasonable people might be reasonable to a nation sick of that war. That article was sent to me by my son, who is serving in a hospital near Kandahar. The Obama Administration is pressuring Karzai to negotiate a peace with the Taliban. Our men over there know that peace at any price is always too expensive. Our sons and daughters think they are fighting over there for the cause of liberty and that their friends and comrades in arms died for that. They are angry both about the negotiations and that their fighting of the war is being constrained by rules of engagement seemingly designed to ensure that they lose. That seems to be the Obama policy about war.

I know, I am digressing from the point about politics and persuasion into what may be a romance about liberty. Maybe for Afghan people liberty is not a natural state or maybe even if it is natural, it is too expensive: like diamonds, which are natural, but expensive.

The point about Dr. Schramms' point that I would point to is that some things we should not be persuaded to. "Too much, too soon" on the health care issue is the wrong way to look at it, if you think that government-directed health care is a bad idea in the first place.

Nice post, Peter. I recall that during the campaign, Obama had a clever turn of phrase (i.e., Democratic dig) about Bush's "ownership society": to wit, he means everybody is on their own! Ha ha. He also said that in Bush's America, McCain's America, you have to "fend for yourself." Well, it appears the Tea Party folks have seconded that sentiment, and reminded us all that this is merely a disparaging way of referring to plain ol' self-government. In short, the Founders called this liberty, and it's that freedom, that impulse to fend for oneself, that is precisely what is at stake in the current morass that passes for a debate over the direction of our country. "Land of the free, and the home of the brave." This is exactly what it takes to be a self-governing person and people. The party that latches onto that spirit, and helps us recover that sense of self-ownership and direction, will enable the United States to prevail as a free country.

A dialogue between Peter and Lucas about republican self-government ~ now that is a real treat! Thank you!

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