Tuesday, November 18, 2008

No More Ifs

Good piece in today's WSJ by Bret Stephens pointing out that with an Obama administration and control of Congress, there are no more Excuses for Liberals:

Now the long wait is over, and the liberal ship has come in. In Mr. Obama, liberals have a president who seems to have stepped out of the last episodes of the West Wing. He has the Congress in his left pocket, the news media in his right pocket (or is it the other way around?), and he floats on a tide of unprecedented international enthusiasm. The Republican Party has no obvious standard-bearer, as it did in Ronald Reagan after Gerald Ford's defeat in 1976. It could well spend the next four years, or eight, tearing itself to pieces.

Instead, the only things that stand in Mr. Obama's path are what Marxists like to call "objective factors": the financial crisis, the mess in Detroit, the disposing of Guantanamo detainees, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Russian hostility, Chinese assertiveness, maybe the disintegration of Pakistan.

Mr. Obama will get, and deserves, a period of political grace. Let's say a year. After that, it will become increasingly difficult to attribute whatever mistakes he makes to the legacy of his predecessor. American liberalism, such as it is, is finally being put to the test that fate has denied it these last many decades. Succeed or fail, this time there can be no excuses.


This of course is probably the most silver of linings in Obama's presidency. The left will no longer be able to wistfully wish for what might have been if only this or only that had or hadn't happened. As Stephens adroitly notes:

This liberal narrative of its own near-misses, bad luck and tragic interventions of fate is supplemented by a parallel liberal tale of unbridled conservative malevolence.

They can't blame fate, bad luck, or evil Republicans for what happens in the next four years. Along with the power that they've now achieved, comes the responsibility.

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