I think it's fair to say that the Obama presidency could be viewed as a controlled experiment on the worthiness of liberalism. With a very liberal president and overwhelming Democratic majorities, America is going to get a heavy dose of liberalism until at least 2010. (unless that is the President has a moderate epiphany as I suggested) Yet, if the president continues on his current path, he will also lead an imprint for history to judge liberalism in America.
So far, that judgment is incomplete but it's also near an incomplete failure. We first started with the stimulus. On the economy, the president famously said, "only government has the resources to jolt our economy back into life". He went on to say, "Tax cuts alone can't solve all of our economic problems" and so totally rejecting the conservative fiscal solution to an economic recession. Nothing could be more liberal than seeing the government as the driver of economic growth. So, he passed his $787 billion stimulus. Its results so far have been well documented. Our unemployment rate is inching toward ten percent. Our deficit is nearing two trillion dollars and we've only spent one tenth of it. Meanwhile, the president took over several banks, two auto companies, and an insurance company. One way or another, the outcome of all this government intervention will also be a historical judgment on liberalism as well.
In fact, though, the greatest judgment against liberalism so far has been the president's total inability to move his agenda going forward. In fact, despite overwhelming popularity, he barely got the stimulus through. Since then, he's been totally impotent. Things don't look to get any better. Cap and trade barely passed the House and the Senate has no plans to take it up anytime soon. Health care reform is in even worse shape. What sort of a judgment on liberalism is it if the liberal party has veto proof majorities in both chambers and still can't pass a liberal agenda? One might ask if liberalism can't pass now when will it pass.
Even lesser known policies like his $75 billion loan modification plan have been colossal failures. It's important to point out again that this judgment is still incomplete. The economy could have a stunning turnaround and by this time next year our unemployment might be in the 6's. GM and Chrysler might both be profitable by 2012 and the government will have sold its shares by then. In light of all of this, the president will then be able to pass sweeping health care, energy, and education reform. In 2012, we'll be a liberal nation and history's judgment on liberalism in America will be a glowing success. It's still early and so the judgment is incomplete.
There will also be those liberals that will claim that the Bush presidency was a failing referendum on conservatism. That is a popular and totally inaccurate argument. There are some liberals that claim the tax cuts caused the recession we are in now. That's just ludicrous. The tax cuts were enacted in 2001-2003. The recession didn't occur for five years. The two have nothing to do with each other. Others proclaim that deregulation caused the meltdown. Of course, it wasn't a lack of regulation but a lack of enforcement that lead to the crisis. It isn't a conservative policy to look the other way on mass fraud, but a bad policy. In fact, most of Bush's biggest problems came from embracing liberal ideas, big budget deficits, bloated government programs and bailouts. In fact, history's judgment on conservatism should already be written with the wildly successful Reagan presidency. Yet, those with an agenda attempt to cloud the issue. Our economy came out of a recession because government shrank, regulations were slashed, and taxes were cut. Yet, some cloud the issue and leave that debate open still.
Make no mistake, by November 2010, and certainly November 2012, history will be ready to judge liberalism as well. While its currently incomplete, the judgment so far is a total failure.
Please check out my new books, "Bullied to Death: Chris Mackney's Kafkaesque Divorce and Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and the World's Last Custody Trial"