The Spectacle Blog

E.J. Dionne and the Left Just Don’t Get It

By on 11.3.10 | 3:01PM

Yesterday I wrote a post paying tribute to the legendary speechwriter, Ted Sorensen, who penned many of President Kennedy's greatest (and often deeply conservative) lines.

Of course, another great (even if more hackneyed) speechwriter, Bob Shrum, famously declared (for JFK's brother, Senator Ted Kennedy) that "the (left-wing) dream shall never die."

For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.

I was reminded of this Shrum-Kennedy declaration this morning after reading Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne's latest brief for the "progressive" Left: Because it seems that, for our leftist friends, no matter how badly reality bites, the dream shall never die. Facts simply will not dissuade them from their deeply felt need to "spread the wealth around" (with other people's money, of course).

Indeed, "Obama was not wrong to fight for health care, to stimulate the economy when it was in deep peril, or to push for financial reform," Dionne argues. 

But by failing to defend these achievements, the president and his allies opened the way for partisan critics, who shifted the conversation to airy language about "big government" and "bailouts." One result: Only a third of Tuesday's electorate, exit polls indicated, thought the stimulus had made the economy better.

Now, we can argue about whether the so-called stimulus has "made the economy better," but what's the point? The reality is that the economy is in the tank and at serious risk of slipping back into another (double-dip) recession.

Unemployment is at a near-record high and shows no signs of abating anytime soon. For millions of Americans, Obama's "economic recovery program" is a cruel joke, a hoax played upon them by sophisticated left-wing apologists like Dionne.

I'm reminded of Groucho Marx's famous quip: "Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?"

Dionne thinks Obama and the Dems have a communication problem and a constitution problem. He thinks the White House has been insufficiently bold and aggressive and inept at communicating the Left's grand deeds and accomplishments (sic).

It never seems to have occurred to Dionne that the Left's dog food won't sell. It doesn't taste good and it's neither appetizing nor nutritious. And, until Obama and the Dems come to terms with this reality -- this political and economic reality -- they are destined to suffer at the polls.

That may not be so bad, of course. The problem is that, in the meantime, they can inflict -- and are inflicting, unfortunately -- a lot of damage on the American economy and the American people.

For these reasons, Obama and the Dems might want to heed the lessons of President Kennedy, who successfully cut tax rates (not just taxes, but tax rates, an important economic distinction this) to spur economic growth. One of the first things that the new Congress must consider, after all, is whether to extend the Bush tax cuts, and for all Americans, not just the politically chosen few.

This should be an obvious no-brainer. Businesses and consumers desperately need cash and capital to invest. And, equally important, they require a more certain and predictable tax, legal and regulatory environment.

As it is, though, businesses and consumers are understandably sitting on the sidelines, uncertain of what Congress and the White House might do to them next. Indeed, the rightly fear the next legislative blow to their rectus abdominis muscle and accompanying knee to their groin.

This era of punishing businesses and consumers, and holding them hostage in a state of suspended economic uncertainty, must end.

In short, Obama and the Dems don't have a communication or courage problem; they have a real-world economic problem! And no amount of gamesmanship and communication smoke and mirrors will change this. For them, reality bites.

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