By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: October 24, 2010
This is what happens when you need to leap over an economic chasm — but either can’t or won’t jump far enough, so that you only get part of the way across.
If Democrats do as badly as expected in next week’s elections, pundits will rush to interpret the results as a referendum on ideology. President Obama moved too far to the left, most will say, even though his actual program — a health care plan very similar to past Republican proposals, a fiscal stimulus that consisted mainly of tax cuts, help for the unemployed and aid to hard-pressed states — was more conservative than his election platform.
A few commentators will point out, with much more justice, that Mr. Obama never made a full-throated case for progressive policies, that he consistently stepped on his own message, that he was so worried about making bankers nervous that he ended up ceding populist anger to the right.
I think Paul Krugman summed it up very well with this one sentence: “The tragedy here is that if voters do turn on Democrats, they will in effect be voting to make things even worse.”
The caliber of the candidates on the Republican line across this nation is clearly lacking. It doesn’t take a Nobel Prize to appreciate the craziness of Carl Paladino, the childishness of Christine O’Donnell, or the dangerous mentality of so many congressional candidates across this country. Does America really want to go back to an age of “Know-Nothing” politics? especially at a time of such turmoil?
Sure, the Democratic Party has had missteps in the past two years, but does a few missteps mean that the GOP would have done better? If we implemented any of the Republican’s policies in the past year, our current economic situation would be far worse off than we see today. From healthcare and financial reform to foreign policy, President Obama is bringing America in the right direction, and if any progressive cannot appreciate that, they are stuck in a dreamland. Change takes time, especially with the lackluster support President Obama’s once dedicated supporters back him today.
I have seen first hand the challenges of keeping progressives focused on a common goal while helping direct the focus of this group. It isn’t easy with our 1,000 or so members, so I cannot imagine the difficulty that must be faced on a daily basis by this White House – herding cats is a far to generous analogy for keeping progressives in line.
When it comes down to it, I think these once active activists will see the light and support this President and come out and vote for the Democratic candidates this year. No matter how disappointed someone feels with the results of the Obama Presidency to-date, a Republican/Tea Party controlled Congress will be far, far worse for this nation at this time! I think by the time November 2 roles around, voters across this nation will use their common sense, see through the deceptions and lies, and sanity will reign in America once again.