...and finally gains insight and understanding, much like a dying man sees the light in the last few moments of his life. Too late to save him, to late to undo what has been done, the truth is revealed with tears, for all that which has been unnecessarily lost.
The State of Conservatism is the name of the Sunday book review of Scott Rasmussen and Doug Schoe's new book, MAD AS HELL: How the Tea Party Movement Is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System. The Times' Chris Caldwell first reaches some conclusions about Rasmussen - long the left's polling punching bag:
Lately, Rasmussen’s polling, more than others’, has favored Republicans. Not coincidentally, perhaps, it has picked up certain recent shifts earlier and more reliably — like the surge that won the Republican Scott Brown the late Ted Kennedy’s Massachusetts Senate seat in January.
But here is the great awakening:
It is often said in the president’s defense that Republican obstructionism left him no choice. Today, this is true — and it has put an end, for now, to the productive part of his presidency. But it was not true at the time of the stimulus in early 2009, when the president’s poll numbers were so stratospherically high that it appeared risky to oppose him on anything. Republicans certainly cannot be blamed for the way Democrats passed their health care bill. Whether or not the deal-making and parliamentary maneuvering required to secure passage was unprecedented, it was unprecedented in the era of C-Span and blogs, and many voters found it corrupt. The president’s legislative program has been bought at a huge price in public discontent.
And the light shineth:
It is vital to understand where this steamroller is coming from. According to Gallup, support for Obama has fallen only slightly among Democrats, from 90 percent to 81 percent, and only slightly among Republicans, from 20 percent to 12 percent. It is independents who have abandoned him: 56 percent approved of him when he came into office, versus 38 percent now. The reason the country is getting more conservative is not that conservatives are getting louder. It is that people in the dead center of the electorate are turning into conservatives at an astonishing rate.
The frustration and disappointment of these voters is probably directed as much at themselves as at their president. There were two ways to judge Obama the candidate — by what he said or by the company he kept. The cable-TV loudmouths who dismissed Obama right off the bat were unfair in certain particulars. But, on the question of whether Obama, if elected, would be more liberal or more conservative than his campaign rhetoric indicated, they arrived at a more accurate assessment than those of us who pored over his speeches, parsed his interviews and read his first book.
On the elites:
Republicans enjoy the advantage of running against the party of the elite. This seems to be a controversial proposition, but it should not be. ...broadly speaking, the Democratic Party is the party to which elites belong. It is the party of Harvard (and most of the Ivy League), of Microsoft and Apple (and most of Silicon Valley), of Hollywood and Manhattan (and most of the media) and, although there is some evidence that numbers are evening out in this election cycle, of Goldman Sachs (and most of the investment banking profession)....the Democrats have the support of more, and more active, billionaires. Of the 20 richest ZIP codes in America, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, 19 gave the bulk of their money to Democrats in the last election, in most cases the vast bulk... Meanwhile, only 22 percent of non-high-school educated white males are happy with the direction the country is going in. The Democrats appear sincerely deluded about whom they actually represent....
The only question left, of course, it whether the Times will "go NPR" on Chris Caldwell's ass...