The same holds true of the ongoing efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq that somehow reverted to back-page news. Moveon.org could care less about the new involvement in Libya, and the media now could care less about Moveon.org -- in the same manner that Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore are now no more than extinct dinosaurs of a forgotten Jurassic age. After all, Iraq magically went from the "worst" mistake in U.S. foreign policy history to one of the Obama administration's "greatest achievements."
Social Security and Medicare are nearing implosion. The aging baby boomers are about ready to retire in mass. They have no reputation for either stoic acceptance or self-sacrifice. The people are overtaxed, and the government is running a $1.6 trillion annual deficit. So either the retirement age must be upped, benefits cut, high payroll taxes further increased, or portions of the entitlements privatized to spur competition and efficiency.
And the progressive response to proposed remedies? Instead of a detailed plan of salvation, we see ads portraying a Rep. Paul Ryan look-alike, who is not just throwing an elderly woman out of her wheelchair, but sending her over a cliff as well.
There is a vast machinery of selective liberal outrage, fueled and lubricated by the media, universities and celebrity entertainment. When the redistributive welfare state starts to run out of money, the gears and pulleys are flipped on and shrill charges of greed, cruelty, nativism and racism spew out of the production line. The machine sputters and shuts down when an aggrieved liberal suddenly either must make cuts or adapt the very policies that he used to damn.
Understand the mechanics of selective outrage, and our upside-down politics become comprehensible: A state suing to enforce immigration law is tantamount to a racist intrusion on federal jurisdiction, but a state openly flouting federal statutes for the Dream Act is acting in enlightened humanitarian fashion.
Greedy Wall Street insiders at the center of the 2008 meltdown could not possibly include progressive bureaucrats and their liberal enablers in Congress, who are interested in people first, profits last. Everything in 2006 that we were told was near fascistic about national security suddenly evolved into what is wonderful and necessary.
Heck, General "Betray-Us" is now Obama's pick to run the CIA!
(Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author, most recently, of "The Father of Us All: War and History, Ancient and Modern" You can reach him by e-mailing email@example.com.)