There are red states and blue states, and there are states of denial that liberals turn to when things do not go well.
How come their side was trounced in the 2010 election? Chris Matthews of “Hardball” offered his views:
“[The Republicans] won the argument because they made [Obama] look lefty … [they] blocked everything the president tried to do, and forced him to the left. Forced him to build left-wing or center-left coalitions without help from the center-right.”
They forced him to turn to health care and not the economy, and then forced him to put forth a plan crafted by the left-wing House leadership. “It’s brutal politics,” Matthews said. “But they won.”
“Obama couldn’t evolve into a post-partisan leader because [Republican Senate leader Mitch] McConnell wouldn’t let him,” said Joshua Greene of the Atlantic Monthly. As an example of even more “brutal politics,” Greene cited this speech:
“We’ve had an opportunity over almost two years to take a look at what this administration has been doing,” McConnell said in October. “It’s been running banks, insurance companies, car companies, nationalized the student loan business, took over health care. Passed a financial services bill that not a single banker in Kentucky thought was a good idea.”
Apparently, red meat such as this was enough to trick the masses en masse into hating Obama, though he began his term with approval ratings near 70 percent while the Republican brand was in widespread disfavor.
At Think Progress, Matthew Yglesias thinks this is likely, as voters “don’t pay attention to politics,” and “reason about issues backwards,” from what “elites” do and say.
Then there’s the problem of President George W. Bush.
If Obama is so much smarter than Bush, how come he cannot come up with new ways to do things, but ends up instead with the Bush tax cuts, with the Bush protocols for the war on terror, with the Bush wars, the Bush generals, the Bush surge strategies and the Bush policies on Guantanamo Bay?
How come Bush’s approval ratings now match Obama’s? How come Bush beat out President Bill Clinton for second place in the annual ranking of men most admired? And how come his memoir sold 2.2 million copies in the two months since it has been published, a little more than Clinton’s memoir sold in six years?
“Who’s actually buying the poorly reviewed book of a failed former president?” asked the Washington Monthly.
“I think it’s the fact that he was hated by so many people,” Salon’s Alex Pareene said.
Other excuses Pareene offered: People wanted to read Bush’s excuses for the terrible things that he did; people bought it as gags for people who did not want to receive the book; they were bought in bulk by conservative think tanks and book clubs; it was shorter than Clinton’s book, and people hate reading; and it is easy now to buy a book via Amazon whereas when Clinton’s book was published, you had to walk to a bookstore and buy it yourself.
Or, as Pareene put it, “having to actually go out to Barnes & Noble … was probably a lot of work a few years ago.”
Almost as much as trying to live in the state of denial, it seems.
Examiner columnist Noemie Emery is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and author of “Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families.”