The Liberal Reagan, Ctd


“It is of course possible that the inauguration of a reelected president is his moment of maximum triumph. It is of course possible that Obama’s second term may turn out like George W. Bush’s, when the lyricism and passion of the second inaugural collided with the realities of strategic miscalculations and unexpected events. I have my doubts. What I do not doubt is that the generation of conservatives and Republicans who return one day to power will be forced to reckon with the consequences of the Obama revolution, just as a generation of defeated liberals were forced to confront and in some cases accept the revolution of Ronald Reagan,” – Matthew Continetti.

“I got tax increases without entitlement cuts, I flipped the script on the culture war, and now Marco Rubio is going to help me pass an immigration bill. I’m still up for a grand bargain, but I don’t need one: The economy’s limping back, the deficit should stabilize in the short run, and the long term — well, that’s my successor’s problem. I’d like to win on gun control and climate change, but I’ll settle for making the case and seeing whether a Biden administration (you only think I’m kidding) can finish the job. Sure, second terms can be dicey propositions. But as long as I don’t get impeached or start a land war in Asia, I’m feeling pretty good about my legacy. And oh, you centrist chin-strokers who kept saying I was no Clinton? You were absolutely right. I’m the liberal Reagan. Deal with it,” – Ross Douthat, in a column written as Obama’s Second Inaugural.

I’m glad they get it now. But it didn’t take a genius to see this years ago, i.e. May 24, 2007:

I went to see Obama last night. He had a fundraiser at H20, a yuppie disco/restaurant in Southwest DC. I was curious about how he is in person. I’m still absorbing the many impressions I got. But one thing stays in my head.

This guy is a liberal. Make no mistake about that. He may, in fact, be the most effective liberal advocate I’ve heard in my lifetime. As a conservative, I think he could be absolutely lethal to what’s left of the tradition of individualism, self-reliance, and small government that I find myself quixotically attached to. And as a simple observer, I really don’t see what’s stopping him from becoming the next president…

I fear he could do to conservatism what Reagan did to liberalism. And just as liberals deserved a shellacking in 1980, so do “conservatives” today.

My 2012 elaborations on this argument are here and here.

(Photo: A spectator on the National Mall holds a photoshopped picture of President Barack Obama and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the 57th presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C., Monday, January 21, 2013.  By Gabriel B. Tait/MCT via Getty Images.)