I’ve been out of the country for a couple of days, so let me see if I’ve got this right:
America is preparing to celebrate the first anniversary of Good King Barack the Hopeychanger’s reign by electing a Republican?
In what the tin-eared plonkers of the Democrat machine still insist on calling “Ted Kennedy’s seat”?
Remember the good old days when the glossy magazine covers competed for the most worshipful image of the new global colossus? If you were at the Hopeychange inaugural ball on Jan. 20, 2009, when Barney Frank dived into the mosh pit, and you chanced to be underneath when he landed, and you’ve spent the last year in a coma until suddenly coming to in time for the poll showing some unexotically monikered nobody called Scott Brown — whose only glossy magazine appearance was a Cosmopolitan pictorial 30 years ago (true) — four points ahead in Kennedy country, you must surely wonder if you’ve woken up in an alternative universe. The last thing you remember before Barney came flying down is Harry Reid waltzing you round the floor while murmuring sweet nothings about America being ready for a light-skinned brown man with no trace of a Negro dialect. And now you’re in some dystopian nightmare where Massachusetts is ready for a nude-skinned Brown man with no trace of a Kennedy dialect. How can this be happening?
You don’t need to have been in an actual coma. Subscribing to the Boston Globe, the unreadable and increasingly unread Massachusetts snooze-sheet, has much the same effect. As the house organ of a decrepit one-party state, the Globe endorsed Martha Coakley with nary a thought — using its Sober Thoughtful Massachusetts Election Editorial template (“[INSERT NAME OF CAREERIST HACK HERE] For Governor/Senator/Mayor/Whatever”) — and dutifully obscured what happened when one of the candidate’s minders shoved to the sidewalk a reporter who had the lèse majesté to ask an unhelpful question. If you’re one of the dwindling band of Bay Staters who rely on the Globe for your news, you would never have known that a Massachusetts pseudo-“election” had bizarrely morphed into a real one — you know, with two candidates, just like they have in Bulgaria and places. On Friday, the paper finally acknowledged that something goofy was happening: As the revealing headline put it, “Race Is In A Spinout.” As in “spinning out of control”? You mean, out of the control of the party and its dopey media cheerleaders? What they really mean is that the Democrats’ coronation procession is in a spinout.
Now, this is Massachusetts, so the Dems may yet regain control of the spinout and get back on track for victory. If not, they’ve already taken the precaution of tossing Martha Coakley under the bus the way her minder sent that guy to the sidewalk. Martha? Oh, hopeless candidate. Terrible campaign. Difficult climate. Yes, but this is Massachusetts. Tone-deaf candidates running on nothing but a sense of their own entitlement are all but compulsory: This is a land where John Kerry demonstrates the common touch by windsurfing off Nantucket in buttock-hugging yellow Spandex.
As for the “climate,” that gets closer to the truth — but, as my colleague Jonah Goldberg pointed out, in this case the Democrats created the climate. If Scott Brown gives Martha Coakley a run for her money on Election Day, Jan. 19, 2010, will be a direct consequence of Jan. 20, 2009. Once upon a time, Barack Obama — in the words of Newsweek editor Evan Thomas — was “standing above the country, above the world, he’s sort of God.” Seeking to explain why the God of Hope had fallen farther faster than any modern president, David Brooks of the New York Times argued that the tea-party movement had declared war on “the educated class.” He seemed to think this was some sort of inverted snobbery: If “the educated class” is for it — “health” “care” “reform,” cap-&-trade, Miranda rights for terrorists — Joe Six-Pack and his fellow knuckledragging morons are reflexively opposed to it.
This almost exactly inverts what really happened over this last year. “The educated class” turned out to be not that educated — if, by “educated,” you mean knowing stuff. They were dazzled by Obama: My former National Review colleague Christopher Buckley wrote cooing paeans to his “first-class intellect” and “temperament.” I used to joke that “temperament” was for the Obammysoxers of “the educated class” what hair was to Tiger Beat reporters. But you don’t really need analogies. As David Brooks noted after his first meeting with Obama, “I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant, and I’m thinking, a) he’s going to be president and b) he’ll be a very good president.” And once you raised your eyes above pant level it only got better: “Our national oratorical superhero,” gushed New York magazine, “a honey-tongued Frankenfusion of Lincoln, Gandhi, Cicero, Jesus, and all our most cherished national acronyms (MLK, JFK, RFK, FDR).”
Where’d that guy go? “People once thought Obama could sound eloquent reading the phone book,” wrote Michael Gerson in the Washington Post last week. “Now, whatever the topic, it often sounds as though he is.”
If “the educated class’s pant legs weren’t as perfectly creased as Obama’s, that’s because they were soaking wet. While the smart set were demonstrating all the sober forensic analysis of a Jonas Brothers audience, the naysayers were looking at the actual policies: What is this going to cost me? And my children? And the country? A week before the presidential election, I wrote in this space: “Settled democratic societies rarely vote to ‘go left.’ Yet oddly enough that’s where they’ve all gone. In its assumptions about the size of the state and the role of government, almost every advanced nation is more left than it was, and getting lefter.”
For the most part, that’s just the ratchet effect of Big Government, growing, expanding, remorselessly, under cover of darkness. What happened this last year is that Obama and the Democrat Congress made it explicit, and did it in daylight. And, while Barack may be cool and stellar if you’re as gullible as “the educated class,” Nancy Pelosi and Ben Nelson most certainly aren’t: There’s no klieg light of celebrity to dazzle you from the very obvious reality that they’re spending your money way faster than you can afford and with no inclination to stop. “The educated class” is apparently too educated to grasp this insufficiently nuanced point.
It’s not just the money. The notion that the IRS should be able to seize your assets if you don’t arrange your health care to the approval of the federal government represents the de facto nationalization of your body, which is about as primal an assault on individual liberty as one could devise.
As Michael Barone observed, “the educated class” was dazzled by style, the knuckledragging morons are talking about substance. They grasp that another year of 2,000-page trillion-dollar government-growing bills offers America only the certainty of decline. Just before the Senate’s health-care vote, Obama, the silver-tongued orator, declared that we were “on the precipice” of historic reform. Indeed. On Tuesday, we’ll find out whether even Massachusetts is willing to follow him off the cliff.