Jonah Goldberg

But while Americans don't like the direction the country is heading, and hate high gas prices, they're pretty satisfied with their lives. Some 94 percent of Americans polled by Harris Interactive this month said they were satisfied with the lives they lead. According to Gallup, only 9 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with their jobs and only 13 percent are dissatisfied with their job security. The unemployment rate is at a five-year high of 5.7 percent, but it wasn't long ago when that was considered close to full employment.

"Ladies and gentlemen ..." mourned Senator Biden, the "American dream feels like it's slowly slipping away. ... I've never seen a time when Washington has watched so many people get knocked down without doing anything to help them get back up."

Quick question: Was this the same Washington that oversaw the largest expansion of entitlements (a.k.a. the prescription drug benefit) since the Great Society? Was this the Washington that recently started doling out $168 billion in stimulus checks?

Biden's keen ability to hear only awful news is symptomatic of a Democratic Party that is not merely eager to return to the White House, but desperate to launch a new New Deal. The mind-set is on display in almost every speech. Hillary Clinton decried the policy of "giving windfall profits" to oil companies. Clinton seems to believe that all of the money, everywhere, is the government's, and your profits are a gift. Windfall profits are defined as too big a gift from government. Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, borrowing a line from Obama, complained that John McCain wants to give "$4 billion in tax breaks for big oil?"

No. McCain wants to lower the corporate tax rate to make us more competitive with our rivals. Yes, oil companies are included, but by this logic (as my colleague Ramesh Ponnuru notes), Obama's middle-class tax cut will be a tax break for hookers and serial killers.

The greatest irony is that the one area where the Democrats are right about American pain - high gas prices - is the one area where they are most reluctant to do anything substantial. Why? Because global warming appears to be their best shot at finding a major crisis to justify a new New Deal.

The bad news for the throngs in Denver is that Americans aren't as miserable as the Democrats need them to be.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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