Emmett Tyrrell

WASHINGTON -- With Scott Brown's election to the senatorial seat held by Edward Kennedy for 47 years, a few things are suddenly clear. Americans in large numbers fear a further government encroachment on our private health care system. There are other means of reforming it. Americans do not want to bear higher tax burdens, more profligate government spending or crushing deficits to be borne by future generations. One other thing is clear. For the most part, the American press is not very informative.

When Bill Clinton went up to Massachusetts to campaign for the Democratic candidate, not one mainstream news organization reported what is a matter of cold fact, to wit, when Bill Clinton campaigns for others, they lose. In fact, when Clinton was president, the Democratic Party mostly lost. In 2004, as I reported in my 2007 book on Clinton in retirement, of the 14 Democrats Clinton campaigned for, 12 lost. He was not even able to campaign successfully for his pal Terry McAuliffe's gubernatorial bid in Virginia last year. Equally unhelpful is outside campaigning from the Prophet Obama. He was no help for Democratic candidates in the recent elections in New Jersey and Virginia. Right now, Obama's presidency is a failed presidency. Nowhere in the mainstream media is that reported in their one-year assessments of his presidency. Yet it is now thunderously clear.

Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution

There are still wisenheimers out there who will say that this very clever president will now recalculate and change course. He will steal to the center. His Democrats will follow. Truth be known, the Democrats led by Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are no likelier to change course than the artistes of the Grateful Dead were ever likely to take up aerobics, join Alcoholics Anonymous and resort to golf before they all died years short of the average longevity for an adult American male. The Democrats vote the way they do because they are captives of a culture, the youth culture of the 1960s, a culture that has endured and aged but never smartened up.

This week, in a very funny segment of his radio show, Rush Limbaugh made a very pertinent point. He did so after playing what he called "patriotic music," in this case the Venezuelan national anthem, which sounded as though it was being performed by a large orchestra of kazoos. Then Rush referred to the "1960s hippies who govern us." Given to amusing hyperbole as he is, El Rushbo was not far off. Most of the real 1960s hippies are doddering around in early retirement (retirement from life spent on park benches) or long ago served as crepes suzette for the worms. Sure, one or two of the left-wing Democrats in Congress might have been hippies once -- one can envisage a longhaired Henry Waxman shuffling through Haight-Ashbury in bell-bottoms and Jesus sandals -- but today's dominant Democrats in Congress, for a certitude, have been hippie fellow travelers since their troubled youths in the 1960s and early 1970s. They have lived ever since in a closed society, closed to the realities of the Ronald Reagan and post-Reagan years.

The Prophet Obama may be a bit too young to have joined what, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, was called the New Left, but his mentors, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and the late Saul Alinsky, were true believers. They saw America as a failed state years ago, and the president agrees. Remember his extraordinary statement last April to 2,000 Europeans at his Strasbourg, France, town hall? "In America," he said, "there's a failure to appreciate Europe's leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive." This is vintage 1960s left-wingery. Jimmy Carter was the first former president to speak ill of a sitting president while on foreign soil. Obama now has surpassed him. He is the first sitting president to speak ill of America while on foreign soil, and he has done so repeatedly.

Most probably the president sees nothing wrong with this sort of diminishment of his country. Most probably the Democratic leadership sees nothing wrong with it, either. Liberals like them get elected not because they understand Americans, but because they understand American journalists, who also are part of their 1960s culture. Yet it is a culture from an America of long ago. As even Massachusetts demonstrated this week, most Americans believe Americans know how to solve their problems through initiative, limited government and hard work, not through the nanny state.


Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
 
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