Daniel Henninger at The Wall Street Journal has an interesting take on why the Democrats see a demon under every bed. In an opinion piece that describes why race baiting, class warfare and predictions of right wing violence predominate Democratic rhetoric today Henninger points to some data in a recent Pew Research Center report:
There was always something eerie about the way the Democrats said their health-care legislation was what the American people had waited “70 years” for. Invoking the ghosts of 1939 was kind of creepy. Then when the moment in history finally arrived, history got no votes from the other party. Whatever the politics, there was something ominous about all this. One felt something else was going on.
A Pew Research Center report just out, the one that says trust in government is at an “historic low” of only 22%, looks like the something else.
Dig past the headline of the Pew study and one discovers why Bill Clinton is insinuating that “demonizing” government could cause another Oklahoma City bombing. If these numbers are at all close to reality, something one can hardly doubt just now, the American people have issued a no-confidence vote in government, at both the national and state level. To the extent one believes in the “consent of the governed,” consent is being eroded.
This report isn’t bad news for the Democrats. It’s Armageddon.
The survey compares views sampled in 1997 with now. The “now” is the Democrats’ problem.
The survey took place this mid-March. After one year of the charismatic, ever-present Barack Obama, after passage of the party’s totemic health-care bill, after spending zillions on Keynesian pump-priming, the American people–well beyond the tea partiers–have the lowest opinion ever of national government.
The “consent of the governed” is a phrase that has appeared frequently not just in the articles on this blog but more so in the comments here, where the real pulse of an engaged electorate can be measured. Henninger believes, and I agree, that something more profound happened in the past year. The news filter that always existed between the electorate and the makers of the news has suddenly dissolved and voters are digesting real time news faster than the political class can respond and spin.
Something unique happened in the first Obama year, about the last thing the Democratic Party needed: The veil was ripped from the true cost of government. This is the ghastly nightmare Democrats have always needed to keep locked in a crypt.
Before the Internet, that was easy. Washington, California, New York, New Jersey–who knew what the pols were spending? The Democrats (and their Republican pilot fish) could get away with this. Not now. Email lists, 24/7 newspapers, blogs, TV and talk radio–the spending beast is running naked.
Of course, the Tea Parties understood this sea change as it was happening last spring. The MSM response (best characterized by Susan Roesgen ) never evolved and is predictably still stuck on stupid at about eighteen months behind the curve. I’m looking forward to their analysis of the 2010 midterms as they figure out what happened just in time for the Presidential primaries in 2012. Similarly, David Brooks is blaming the Democrat’s current dilemma and Obama’s hard left policies on the collision of “history” and current events. Allah does a good job shredding that complaint (follow the links in his piece to other good takedowns of Brooks). Brooks, along with the current administration, the old media organs and the Democratic Congress can’t see the forest for the trees. But their chorus of complaints appear to be an accurate indicator of one thing: when Democratic Leaders like Barrack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid play the race card so casually, attack Rush Limbaugh so easily and demonize the Right as violent so wantonly we can be certain they have lost the debate and the electorate. This is why Daniel Henninger is calling their predicament Armageddon.