Friday, November 11, 2016

Cass Sunstein, Jonathan Gruber, and Michelle Obama: Why Clinton Lost

I don’t think it’s enough to blame Clinton’s loss on her lack of charisma, inability to carry a speech, unusually unpleasant personality, or penchant for being wrong on every major policy issue, foreign and domestic. Still less can it be blamed on her genitalia.

Rather, it’s the product of the approach to governance of three unelected Democrats who have had an outsized influence on the Obama administration and on the Democratic Party as a whole:

  • Jonathan Gruber, who famously attributed Obamacare’s passage to American stupidity: “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass.” (The Hill)
  • Michelle Obama, who led the fight for “nutritious school lunches” — which no one wanted to eat. (Washington Post)
  • Cass Sunstein, Obama’s Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, who popularized the idea of using public policy to “nudge” people into making decisions that he would approve of. (Amazon)

The common thread is the idea that people who have the best credentials (MIT, Princeton, and Harvard, respectively) have the right — indeed, the obligation — to tell everyone else how they should live their lives and, naturally, to inform them at length of how wrong they are if they don’t do as they’re told.

Oddly, most human beings react poorly to such condescension.

More and more, the Democratic Party has been about telling people what they must and must not say, must and must not do, must and must not think, must and must not question, must and must not believe. Yet Americans do not seem to have the same faith in the moral superiority and infinite sagacity of Progressive technocrats that the Democratic Party (and, to a lesser extent, the Republican Party) elites do. This lack of faith is too often borne out by events: the stimulus, Obamacare, Libya, Syria — all dismal failures that Americans, unaccountably, blame on the Democrats who perpetrated them rather than the Republicans who tried to stop them, even though the Democrats have not ceased from explaining how everything is, always and everywhere, the Republican's fault. (E.g., Al Franken on Obamacare.)

It may be that Democrats have been seduced by their college-age voters, who do, in fact, want to be told precisely what to do and have no obvious ability to make their own decisions. Unfortunately for the Democrats, most Americans are adults.

I suspect that they will be in the political wilderness for a while yet.

No comments:

Post a Comment