It is typical for politically-engaged people to note the weaknesses and defects of their own side, while overestimating the strength and prowess of their opponents. This is not a bad instinct, but sometimes it’s worth stepping back and trying to view the whole scene from a neutral perspective. It is possible a neutral or objective observer would conclude that the Left has just had about the worst month in longer than I can recall.
First came the Sandra Fluke controversy. What looked like a well-staged triumph for the Left because of a rare overreach by Rush Limbaugh resulted instead in a ferocious blowback against Bill Maher, Louis C.K. (cancelled from the White House correspondents’ dinner because of his vile comments about Sarah Palin), and HBO, while Rush’s ratings have spiked and advertisers came groveling back after the anti-Rush boycott was revealed to have been trumped up by Media Matters. Meanwhile, while the media elites identify with Fluke as one of their own, it is less clear that ordinary Americans think the government owes free contraception to 30-year old college students.
Second, Obama is in full retreat and panic mode over gasoline prices, and energy generally. To be sure, the EPA is still advancing its jihad against coal, and cheap natural gas is bailing out Obama to some extent (but also driving another nail into the coffin of wind and solar power), but I’ve always thought that liberal opposition to domestic oil production would not survive an extended period of $4 gasoline prices. Byron York flatly predicts that Obama will be forced to approve the Keystone pipeline before the election. Obama’s embrace of the GOP slogan of “all-of-the-above” energy means that environmentalists are being largely thrown under the bus. (Meanwhile, keep your eyes on the Post-It note gas pump protests, and consider joining the swarm.)
Then came the Trayvon Martin incident. But what looked like a by-the-numbers drill for the racial grievance industry has started to collapse beneath certain inconvenient facts that don’t fit the narrative such as Zimmerman’s ethnicity and political party registration (Democratic), eyewitness testimony that Martin was assaulting Zimmerman (perhaps with cause), and Spike Lee advocating vigilantism against Zimmerman, but tweeting an incorrect home address, endangering an innocent elderly couple. Again, while the media lap up the antics of Al Sharpton, it is doubtful most ordinary Americans are impressed with this. More blowback.
Then of course we have the Obamacare argument in the Supreme Court this week. Even if the Court ultimately upholds the Affordable Care Act, the course of the argument is extremely damaging to the Left. And if it is struck down, I predict the Left will overreact in ways that will also backfire badly. (I’ll have more thoughts on this in a separate post later today.)
Finally, yesterday the House voted down Obama’s proposed budget for next year by a vote of 414 – 0. Not even the most leftist members of Obama’s own party are willing to go on record in support of his unserious and irresponsible budget. Political stunt by the GOP? Sure, but so what? Back in the Reagan years, when every Reagan budget proposal was pronounced “dead on arrival” when it came to Capitol Hill, it could rely on substantial GOP support, and became a fixed point from which serious budget compromises would then be hammered out. Obama’s budget was dead before it left the White House, and is irrelevant to any serious effort to confront our fiscal abyss.
None of this should be taken as a sign of a decisive “turning point,” or that our side has won, or even that we’re winning. “There are no lost causes because there are no gained causes,” T.S. Eliot wrote. This is a never-ending struggle, and these incidents just the latest skirmish lines in the hundred years war with the Left. But it’s been a lousy last month for the Left. Go ahead, enjoy a smile, have a drink, and then get back in the arena.
UPDATE: Special thanks to Rush Limbaugh for the shout out for this post on his broadcast just now!