On a broad philosophical level, where words and abstractions rather than tangible actions and accomplishments are a measure of value, the left is often correct in it perceptions. After all, who is against providing a safety net for those who need one, encouraging diversity, helping the old and the infirm, and emphasizing tolerance? But these noble philosophical goals are not achieved by growing government without bound, by creating a broad dependent class that is subsided by a shrinking taxpayer base, or by demonizing those who disagree with the mechanics of achieving the broad philosophical goals that just about everybody agrees with.
Under the Obama presidency, the left's philosophical goals have taken center stage. If achieving them took only words, Barack Obama would be a great president. But achieving goals requires mechanics (the details that allow the goals to be achieved), and that's where things have fallen apart.
Peggy Noonan writes:
We are suffering in great part from the politicization of everything and the spread of government not in a useful way but a destructive one. Everyone wants to help the poor, the old and the sick; the safety net exists because we want it. But voters and taxpayers feel bullied, burdened and jerked around, which again is not new but feels more intense every day. Common sense and native wit tell them America is losing the most vital part of itself in the continuing shift of power from private to public. Rules, regulations, many of them stupid, from all the agencies—local, state, federal—on the building of a house, or the starting of a business. You can only employ so many before the new insurance rules kick in so don't employ too many, don't take a chance! Which means: Don't grow. It takes the utmost commitment to start a school or improve an existing one because you'll come up against the unions, which own the politicians.Actually, it's even worse. For those who pay attention and derive their information from sources other than the mainstream media (who have become shills for this leftist president), there's a growing feeling that the government is intrusive, dishonest, vindictive, and untrustworthy. Washington has become the fictional House of Cards and the nation's leadership have become clones of the Netflix series antagonist, Frank Underwood.
It's all part of the malaise, the sclerosis. So is the eroding end of the idea that religious scruples and beliefs have a high place that must culturally and politically be respected. The political-media complex is bravely coming down on florists with unfashionable views. On twitter Thursday the freedom-fighter who tweets as @FriedrichHayek asked: "Can the government compel a Jewish baker to deliver a wedding cake on a Saturday? If not why not." Why not indeed. Because the truly tolerant give each other a little space? On an optimistic note, the Little Sisters of the Poor haven't been put out of business and patiently await their day in court.
I think a lot of people right now, certainly Republicans and conservatives, feel like a guy in a batting cage taking ball after ball from an automatic pitching machine. He's hitting the ball and keeping up and suddenly the machine starts going berserk. It's firing five balls a second, then 10. At first he tries to hit a few. Then he's just trying to duck, trying not to get hurt.
That's how people feel about the demands and dictates. The balls keep coming at them politically, locally, culturally. Republicans and conservatives comprise at least half the country. That's a lot of people.
The NSA scandal indicates that the government no longer views individual privacy as an important matter. The Benghazi scandal (although downplayed in the media) is illustrative of a government that will lie without shame in order to maintain political advantage. And when the lies are uncovered, will lie about the lies. The IRS scandal (although downplayed in the media) is illustrative of a vindictive government that will weaponize its own agencies to intimidate its opposition. Finally, the Obamacare debacle is representative of a government that will lie to get legislation passed and then cannot be trusted to implement it in a competent manner.
The fastballs keep coming and will do so for at least another three years. With every swing (or duck) confidence erodes. It's only a matter of time before an erosion of confidence will morph into despair.