Is Obama forcing liberalism to its crisis point?

But then, after Beth Fouhy’s dumb explanation and Maureen Dowd’s super-dumb explanation of why Obama’s program is facing such strong head winds, here is a startlingly insightful appraisal of the situation from none other than liberal war horse Walter Russell Mead. The obstacle that Obama’s program is running up against, he says, is nothing other than the structural ills of liberalism itself:

But there is, I think, a cold dark fact at the heart of this that means trouble for incumbents of all kinds, but especially for Democrats. The fact is that the liberal society we’ve built since the New Deal looks less and less capable of honoring its promises. It’s not just Medicare and Social Security; there are a lot of state governments out there that have no way of paying for all the pensions they’ve promised their workers over the years—and no way to pay for all the services they’ve promised the voters. Private sector labor unions seem to drive jobs overseas or to saddle their employers with unpayable costs. Public sector unions drive state and local governments into fiscal dead ends as well. People look at public schools and the postal system and they don’t see much sign that the old institutions work very well. (I’m not saying this is all 100% true—only that it looks that way to a lot of people.)

… It isn’t a liberal or a conservative thing in the end. It’s that the American people are losing faith not only in the promises of the liberal society but in the experts and the professionals who design, administer and explain it. Increasingly, the lower middle class and the middle middle class want to fire the snooty upper middle class know it alls who collectively have gotten the country into such a mess.

How this all will work out, I don’t really know. But it’s a big deal and it isn’t going away anytime soon.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 13, 2009 10:15 PM | Send

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