TROUBLE ON THE LEFT - AT 8:34 P.M. ET: Even the New Republic, a responsible liberal publication, is noticing the political collapse on the left. The Republican Party may not be winning the Miss Congeniality contest, but the right is resurgent:
...there are hard-to-ignore signs of a conservative resurgence. A 15,000-person Gallup survey out today shows that 40 percent of Americans now identify themselves as conservative (up from 37 percent at the time of Obama’s election), while only 20 percent regard themselves as liberal (down from 22 percent). Far more independents (35 percent) consider themselves conservative than was the case a year ago (only 29 percent).
These findings would be less compelling if they were not linked to conservative shifts on specific issues--but they are, and the Gallup organization enumerates a considerable list. Among them: increasing opposition to government regulation of business and gun ownership; an uneasy feeling about the influence of labor unions; increasing support for immigration restrictions and government promotion of traditional values; and diminished support for strong action on climate change. The percentage of Americans who believe that government is trying to do too much stands at its highest level (57 percent) in many years. Trust in government is near all-time lows, and Americans believe that 50 cents of every federal tax dollar is wasted--the highest level ever.
It is hard to avoid the conclusion that unified Democratic government has sparked a conservative counter-mobilization. Because we cannot rerun history as a controlled experiment, we will never know whether this could have been avoided had the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats adopted a different strategy. In any case, it’s too late to reverse it.
COMMENT: Very well said. But, again, we argue that overconfidence on the right, a refusal to do the daily building of a voter base, or to write an effective program, or to recruit candidates with going heartbeats and pulses, will undo any potential gains.
October 27, 2009