Thursday, November 20, 2008

Candy Everybody Wants

Thomas Frank (the Nick Coleman of the Wall Street Journal) thinks it's time to give voters the big government liberalism they want:

But it is also possible that, for once, the public weighed the big issues and gave a clear verdict on the great economic questions of the last few decades. It is likely that we really do want universal health care and some measure of wealth-spreading, and even would like to see it become easier to organize a union in the workplace, however misguided such ideas may seem to the nation's institutions of higher carping.

How did he arrive at this conclusion?

That was the sense I got when I met last week with officers of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Their mood was optimistic -- as well it should be, since labor unions spent some $450 million during the 2008 races, orchestrated massive voter outreach, and saw their candidates triumph.

What is coming, they believe, is not triangulation redux. This was, SEIU President Andy Stern told me, "a clear election not on small things." Mr. Obama "talked about what people wanted to hear about," as opposed to the culture wars. "We've redefined the center," Mr. Stern said. "Universal health care is now centrist."

Let's hope that for the majority of Americans (and not the rather small number who are union members) the leftward shift of the "center" isn't that severe. If it truly is, I'm afraid what's going to happen to the country if people get what they supposedly want.

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