More telling than Barack Obama’s victory is the consensus, steadily building since Election Day, that the nation has sunk — or been plunged — into its darkest economic passage since the Great Depression. And, as Obama pushes boldly ahead, apparently with public support, the right is struggling to reclaim its authority as the voice of opposition.
The contrast with 1993, when the last Democratic president took office, is instructive. Like Obama, Bill Clinton was elected in hard economic times and, like him, promised a stimulus program, only to see his modest proposal ($19.5 billion) stripped almost bare by the Senate minority leader, Bob Dole, even though Democrats had handily won the White House and Senate Republicans formed nearly as small a minority as they do today.
The difference was that the Republicans — disciplined, committed, self-assured — held the ideological advantage, which Dole leveraged through repeated use of the filibuster. Today, such a stratagem seems unthinkable.
There is instead almost universal agreement — reinforced by the penitential testimony of Alan Greenspan and, more recently, by grudgingly conciliatory Republicans — that the most plausible economic rescue will involve massive government intervention, quite possibly on the scale of the New Deal/Fair Deal of the 1930s and ’40s and perhaps even the New Frontier/Great Society of the 1960s. All this suggests that movement doctrine has not only been defeated but discredited.
(Excerpt) Read more at newrepublic.com …
via Conservatism Is Dead.