I don't want this blog to turn into the "David Ignatious Critique Site," but Ignatious is the voice of the Ivy league educated, transnational liberal elite that thinks it ought to be running things, even during GOP administrations. And that elite is looking at the endless bailouts and bourgeoning debt, and is beginning to see the handwriting on the wall - for themselves.
Ignatius now writes that the inadequate economic performance of the Obama Administration's team of Indispensables is giving rise to fears that a gathering storm is about to break. The elites don't line this one bit because they know their positions are tenuous should there be a true popular revolt at the ballot box.
First the good stuff: Ignatious draws a parallel between the early months of 2009 with another false spring:
For all the legislative commotion surrounding the economic crisis, we are still living in the equivalent of "the phony war" of 1939 and 1940. War has been declared on the Great Recession, but it's basically politics as usual. The bickering and mismanagement that helped create the crisis are continuing, even though we elected a president who promised a new start.
History tells us that phony war doesn't last forever and that when it ends, all hell breaks loose.Utterly by coincidence, I just read "Put Out More Flags" by Evelyn Waugh, which is set during the "Phony War." Like Waugh's characters, we are aware that there is a great disruption in our world, but we have tried to adjust and live our lives normally, even as events seem to occasionally threaten to hurtle out of control. Ignatious correctly diagnoses the problem is too much "normalcy" and too little effort to man the battle stations:
One reason this season feels so political is that Obama has stacked his administration with politicians and former government officials. You might think that with the greatest financial crisis of his lifetime, the president would want a few business leaders with experience managing large organizations in crisis. But no.I believe I have been complaining about the same thing. There are a lot of smart, innovative thinkers in America, but they have largely been shut out of the room for no better reason than they are not part of the Democrat's NYC-DC axis.
But then, Ignatious sees storm clouds and emerges with his head all wet:
What will happen if Obama's efforts fail? That's the question that really worries me when I think about history. During the 1930s, European politicians failed to solve the economic crisis through normal democratic means. So the public turned elsewhere. People became so angry with bankers and business tycoons, and with the bickering parliamentarians, that they turned to authoritarian leaders who promised national action -- in the form of fascism. That nightmare scenario may seem far off today. But there's an ugly mood developing, as people start looking for villains to blame for the economic mess.
Oh, piss off. The elites don't fear "fascism," even if they tell themselves that they are holding the line against the "ugly mood" of "people (who) start looking for villians to blame for the economic mess." They fear that Americans will revolt against the cozy Big Government world that has been built in DC since the FDR administration. And their greatest fear is that the revolt will not be lead by the easily mocked likes of Ross Perot, Ron Paul, Pat Buchanan, or Ralph Nader, but will come from someone with a large national constituency and the sort of populist appeal that DC's Indispensable Men completely lack, someone like say Sarah Palin.
Voters are not looking for "revenge." A resurgent electorate isn't going to be a pack of lumpen proles thrilling at the sight of goose-stepping brownshirts. Frankly, the increasing corporatization of the US gov't is closer to real fascism than whatever cartoon fascism that Ignatious is thinking of. Liberals love to believe that the US middle class is forever on the verge of turning to authoritarian "saviors" - the famed "dark cloud of fascism that is forever descending on America, but always lands somewhere else." Maybe it gives them a secret thrill to believe that they are holding the line against an American Gulag Archipeligo, but really it's a sign of their insularity and historical illiteracy.
We have seen this before in the querelous cries that greeting the ascension to power of Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, George W Bush, and Sarah Palin. Much of what we think of as liberal bias in the media is often directed at attacking such figures before they can permanently reform the welfare state. Many conservatives and Republicans have shown themselves to be less than stalwart in the face of media swarms that accuse them of such Modern Sins as Creationism, Racism, Oppression of the Poor, and Starving "The Children." After all these years, it should be clear that such attacks - and the furious "Nazi" insults that accompany them - are little more than an illusion stirred up by the likes of Ignatious in order to protect their world from The People for whom they claim to act.