Why We Did What We Did

     

    Liberals need to understand something about the defeat they suffered: that concerns about the national debt and the growing power of the federal government aren’t just right wing fantasies or excuses to hate an African American president. They have a rational basis, and this one of two thoughts I leave on the national issues in the mid-terms.

    While it’s true Bush ran up big deficits with wars and tax cuts, a look at any chart comparing the new debt levels to the national GDP can be chilling, and worrying about them doesn’t make you a closet racist.

    Also, it’s a fact that achieving universal health care is an ambitious policy goal at a time of fiscal stress, and the requirement that everyone buy insurance represents a an expansion of the reach of the government.

    While they may be sensible policy goals, it isn’t crazy to have reservations about them.

     

    Thought two: I marvel at the blame heaped on the Obama administration for its inability to put everybody quickly back to work after the economic calamity it inherited.

    This impatience is unfortunately an axiom of political life. All over the world, throughout history, when leaders take power at times of crisis with great support, they get about six months to show results. If they don’t, an angry populace wants to turn them out.

    Look at the Russian revolution in 1917. In February, the country loves the Alexander Kerensky and his social democrats. By October, everybody’s fed up and ready to hand the keys to Lenin and his Bolsheviks.

    Meaningful solutions to big problems take time, and especially in this world of internet punditry and instant judgment, we just ain’t gonna wait.

    When Associated Press exit pollers asked who was responsible for the economic mess, more people blamed Wall Street than Bush or Obama, and more blamed Bush than Obama. But even those who blamed Wall Street voted more Republican than Democrat.

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