On paper, given Obama’s record, this election should be a cakewalk for the Republicans. Why isn’t it? I am afraid the answer may be that the country is closer to the point of no return than most of us believed. With over 100 million Americans receiving federal welfare benefits, millions more going on Social Security disability, and many millions on top of that living on entitlement programs–not to mention enormous numbers of public employees–we may have gotten to the point where the government economy is more important, in the short term, than the real economy. My father, the least cynical of men, used to quote a political philosopher to the effect that democracy will work until people figure out they can vote themselves money. I fear that time may have come.In a followup post, Hinderaker expands on this:
Because Obama’s policies have suppressed economic growth, the ranks of the unemployed and underemployed have grown steadily. As unemployment benefits have finally run out, the long-term unemployed have, by the millions, declared themselves to be permanently and totally disabled. Millions of Americans have come to be dependent on government largesse as a result of the economic folly of the Obama administration. So how are those people going to vote? One might think that, angry at the government policies that have robbed them of their ability to be self-supporting, they would vote Republican. No doubt some will. But many more will cling to the only life raft in sight, and will vote for the party that promises the never-ending continuation and expansion of government benefits.Hinderaker also links to Andy McCarthy, writing at National Review Online:
Here is the blunt explanation: We have lost a third of the country and, as if that weren’t bad enough, Republicans act as if it were two-thirds.
The lost third cannot be recovered overnight. For now, it is gone. You cannot cede the campus and the culture to the progressive, post-American Left for two generations and expect a different outcome. So even if Obama is the second coming of Jimmy Carter — and he has actually been much more effective, and therefore much worse — it is unreasonable to expect a Reagan-style landslide, and would be even if we had Reagan. The people coming of age in our country today have been reared very differently from those who were just beginning to take the wheel in the early 1980s. They have marinated in an unapologetically progressive system that prizes group discipline and narrative over free will and critical thought.
The narratives are not always easy to follow. In the progressive weltanschauung, good and evil are relative. Good is whatever it is said to be in the moment; don’t ask anyone to explain why “choice” is a value when it involves killing the unborn, though it is seen as an obvious nuisance when it involves the right to choose the double cheeseburger over the salad. Evil is contextualized and root-caused into vaporous abstraction. [Emphasis added.]More and more writers are coming to understand that, as much as they may be believe that Romney "ought to win", and even in a landslide, Obama is doing better than they expect -- and far better than they like to admit. And so they're beginning to predict that this election will be a squeaker. The truth is that Obama is still doing better than they're able to admit. The rules of elections have changed, too. They're playing the fool's game right up to the end.
What they're not doing is coming out and admitting that the world no longer works the way it did when they acquired all their expertise as commentators. Which would require them to admit that they no longer have much in the way of special relevant expertise as commentators. They're also not offering any explanation of what the new rules are, and how you can succeed under those rules.
For example, as McCarthy correctly notes, "good is whatever it is said to be in the moment." This is one of the new rules. Good and evil are no longer eternal and immutable, they are whatever they are felt to be at the moment. But: felt to be by whom? Assert yourself! You can assert that what you want is "good" just as easily as the next fellow. If you can't force your morality on them, you can at least demand that they not force their morality on you. And believe me, that's exactly what they want to do. Even under the new rules, you don't have to let them.