Wednesday, December 26, 2012

De-ratifying the Reagan revolution

Another article that is getting a lot of attention is the one written by Joe Hagan about his experience on National Review's Post Election Cruise. Its a long read, but fascinating in its inside look at a movement in its death throes.

The thing that stood out to me is the racism.
Rasmussen blasted the assembled Republicans with one crushing statistic after another. The exit poll data, he said, “create a negative brand image of the Republican Party as a party that only cares about white people.”

The audience murmured unhappily.

“And that image is hurting among the youth,” he continued. “It is hurting across the culture. It is something that has to be addressed across the party. It has to be addressed. You can’t just wish it away.”...

Rasmussen offered some friendly advice about approaching minorities. “You show them that you really care, you talk to them as grown-ups on a range of issues, you get them involved,” he suggested, “and you accept the fact that it’s a long-term investment. And you accept that you can learn as much from them as you can teach them.”

This was harsh medicine to reluctant patients, and afterward some of them made their discomfort known. “That depressed me!” one woman said. To my right, a man snapped, “That’s bullshit!”
There are several other snippets that contain the same theme.

But it was something Jonah Goldberg said that struck me as the most significant.
“Their conception of what the country is about, they really were sure the country would reject Barack Obama,” he continued. “I do think it hits them hard. The fear I have, why this election stung, I think, Obama has successfully ­de-ratified some of the Reagan revolution in a way that Clinton never could and didn’t even try to. That’s what freaks people out, that feeling in their gut, either Obama has changed the country, or the country has sufficiently changed that they don’t have a problem with Obama. That’s what eats at people.”
In my mind, the heart of the Reagan revolution was "government can't solve the problem; government IS the problem." What's eating at these people is that President Obama is changing that narrative. The majority of Americans chose to re-elect a President who has staked his claim on the idea that the government can't solve all of our problems - but it can play a substantial role in addressing many of the challenges that face us. That's what the whole "you didn't build that" freak-out was all about.

I've talked endlessly about President Obama's long game. And the President himself has often used the metaphor of the ship of state as an ocean-liner that changes course slowly. This is how it happens folks.

Oh...and its a Black man doing it.  


  1. I highly recommend everyone read that Blues Cruise article. It's haunting and informative and we need to know what that author learned from these people. They really are living in the 50's and can't get past it. One of the things that stood out for me was that woman who is still traumatized by the 70's. I wish the author had asked if her drugged out, homeless son was a Vietnam Vet. The other thing that stood out was the woman who recognized that they don't have any cultural icons like our late-nite comedians. The comments by the shrink were enlightening, too. Also how they are all on guard not to 'go too far' in their commentary, even among themselves. Fear of censure is pretty real with these folks.

  2. And although Rasmussen gave them some hard advice, it seems to me that if you go cruising with Republicans any cred you have left as a pollster is pretty much shot.

  3. This one's for the people on the cruise.

    I'm ready to move on without them. They're dead weight to me.



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