Can Liberals Handle Adversity?
Liberals just had a bad week watching the Supreme Court munching on ObamaCare and spitting out the pits. They thought it was rather bad manners.
It seems that each week this year raises the stakes, making 2012 a year which will live...either in infamy or glory, depending on who wins and whose side you are on. Instead of the usual political fudge, events are demanding that the American people make a choice, not an echo.
President Obama is running a campaign that sharpens the differences, drawing bright lines: on sex with the contraception question, on race with the Trayvon Martin question, and on health care with the ObamaCare decision. Presumably he thinks that's how to get 51 percent of the vote.
Unless he is wrong.
For years, liberals thought they owned the sexual revolution, owned the race question, owned health care, owned the Supreme Court. Suppose they are wrong? Suppose that President Obama brings out every last liberal to vote on November 6, but nobody else?
How could he make a mistake like that? Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind, has researched the liberal mind. According to Peter Suderman in Reason, Haidt writes:
Liberals just aren't as good as conservatives and libertarians at understanding how their opponents think. Haidt helped conduct research that asked respondents to fill out questionnaires about political narratives -- first responding based on their own beliefs, but then responding as if trying to mimic the beliefs of their political opponents. "The results," he writes in the May issue of Reason, "were clear and consistent." Moderates and conservatives were the most able to think like their liberal political opponents. "Liberals," he reports, "were the least accurate, especially those who describe themselves as 'very liberal.'"
You can see that Haidt is right when you read Neera Tanden from the Center for American Progress complaining to The New York Times that Democrats are going to be really upset if Obamacare is overturned. "The idea that we would have gone through Bush v. Gore, Citizens United and now this," she says. "Inconceivable," as the son of longtime New Yorker editor William Shawn kept saying in The Princess Bride.
Liberals are still mad about the hanging chads? You betcha! I met a "very liberal" woman in March who is clearly still enraged about the "selection" of President Bush. She didn't seem to recall that the recount took place only in Democratic counties, that Bush never lost a recount, and that the mainstream media's own proprietary recount still made Bush the winner. Not to mention that the mainstream media called the state before the polls had closed. You have to live in a very liberal bubble indeed to hang onto the liberal narrative on the 2000 election eleven years later.
Then there's President Obama. After last week, you'd have wonder about his "dissing" of the United States Supreme Court on its Citizens United decision at the 2010 State of the Union speech and his attempted bullying of them Monday. Why would he want to make enemies on the Supreme Court?
Let's get back to the ObamaCare train wreck. Forget about liberal outrage; let's remember the real issue. My friend Stephen reminded me on Sunday how people really think about health care. The average American is not worried about the 30 million uninsured or the 45 million (or the 45,000 that have actually signed up for ObamaCare's pre-existing condition coverage). She (and it is usually a she) worries about whether she can afford health care in the future. She worries about her chronic health care issues and wonders if she will be able to afford care after ObamaCare starts in earnest.
We all know that Mitt Romney has taken some knocks about being out of touch. Maybe he is, although given his years of local leadership in the Mormon church you'd think he'd have learned a thing or two about ordinary folks. But what about liberals? It turns out that the science is in on that. We now have peer-reviewed research that shows that liberals, intelligent as they are, can't put themselves in the place of the "other."
But what can liberals do to mend the damage? I think they should be assigned to read Little Lord Fauntleroy. You'll remember that Fauntleroy is the story of a plucky all-American lad growing up in 19th-century New York City. Heavily influenced by his Republican corner grocer, Mr. Hobbs, in the importance of freedom, fireworks, political parades, and the Fourth of July, this fatherless boy turns out to be the heir to the Earl of Dorincourt back in Britain. And does he teach those stuffy Britishers a lesson!
The trouble with our liberal friends is that very few have ever sat on a barrel listening to the commonplace wisdom of a Republican small businessman. And it shows.
Christopher Chantrill is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his usgovernmentspending.com and also usgovernmentdebt.us. At americanmanifesto.org he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism.