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A fellow named Rick Moran on The Next Right is troubled that the energy behind the Santelli Tea Party rant and movement is generated by rage. He opines that while rage may be politically useful in a transient populist way – it may even win an election or two – it can't provide a solid foundation for a rebirth of limited government. Moran suggests that a more promising motif is optimism. (A colleague of mine has more regard for the power of rage to light a fire, but acknowledges that it's hope which ultimately provides the fuel.)
What's interesting is the contrast between optimism and the policy mix that's being served up by our political class these days. Their policies are founded on a profoundly dismal and pessimistic view of the prospects and capabilities of America and Americans. The underlying assumptions are that Americans are victims who need to be "taken care of," that business and entrepreneurs are threats from which the people must be protected, that "American exceptionalism" is an outdated and possibly dangerous myth, and that in general that America is going down.
Maybe we shouldn't be surprised that this view has some resonance with the public, given the persistent talking-down of our economy and prospects by the mainstream media over the past eight years, much of it politically motivated by their Bush-hate.
Some recent sources of middle-class angst are real, too. Globalization and other "evolutionary" economic trends have unquestionably increased feelings of insecurity and a sense that things are "out of control" (never mind that it was an illusion that they were ever really "under control").*
On top of all that, now comes a so-called "stimulus" bill that drives home the e...
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