NYT's Blow: 'Too Many Liberals Just Want to Whine'

Charles Blow made some political observations in his New York Times column Saturday that are destined to anger many of his left-leaning readers.

Just imagine how the average New York Democrat is going to respond to being told the future of his Party is being jeopardized by the fact that "Too many liberals just want to whine":

Now there are twice as many liberal Democrats as conservative ones.

Long-term, that may be fine, as demographics work in the Democrats’ favor. But, near-term, this could prove problematic as Republicans and independents grow ever more conservative, and liberals remain by far the smallest ideological group. For one thing, liberalism remains a coastal condition that leaves out much of middle America, especially the South. For instance, although 40 percent of Texans leaned Democratic in 2009, just 17 percent identified themselves as liberals in a February Gallup poll. And, in fact, the November elections wiped out almost all southern Democratic congressmen. Unless the Democrats want to cede the South, they will have to maintain space for moderate and conservative views.

Indeed. Compounding matters is Republican victories this past November in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. If Democrats have difficulty in those states in 2012 as well as the entire South, retaining the Senate and the White House seems almost impossible.

Blow continued:

Another problem for far-left liberals is that they demonstrate an insatiable appetite for eating their own. Another Gallup poll, also released on Thursday, found a worrisome trend: President Obama’s approval rating among liberal Democrats, while still high, has slipped 10 percent since Nov. 1; but, among moderate Democrats, it has held steady. [...]

To adapt a phrase from Bill Maher, these far-left liberals would rather fight the friend who disappoints them than focus on the enemy who wants to destroy them...Too many liberals just want to whine. It’s like they’re perpetually humming the chorus to Lesley Gore’s hit from the ’60s: “It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to.”

Sadly, if the Democrats’ big tent of openness shrinks to a little fortress of liberalism too fast and too soon, they may well have a reason to cry.

Shocking how things have changed in just 24 months after Obama's victory when much of the media and the Democrat punditry were declaring the Republican Party dead. Now the very same folks are questioning the Donkeys' future.

Something to consider though is whether both of these views are unfounded given the past three elections showing staggering changes in voter sentiment.

Why should one believe these winds aren't going to continue to shift? Is it possible we're seeing the end of Party loyalty and that the pace of modern day life has created a tremendously impatient electorate willing to change allegiances at the drop of a hat?

In 2004, George W. Bush got re-elected in what many thought was a political realignment that would give Republicans control for many years. This was due to his win coinciding with his Party expanding majorities in both chambers of Congress, something no one had accomplished since Roosevelt in 1936.

Yet, two years later, Bush's Party got swept out of Congressional power only to lose the White House in another two years with the new president expanding Democrat majorities in both chambers. Fast-forward two years later and Republicans orchestrated the biggest transfer of power in the House since 1948.

That's amazing political volatility in six years.

Rather than all these shifts having any long-term significance, isn't it more likely the electorate - possibly as a result of the instantaneous gratification of the internet, video games, etc. - now demands immediate returns on their voting decisions?

The concept of "staying the course" when the change folks were hoping for doesn't come quickly enough might be a thing of the past. Victorious candidates might therefore have two years to make visible, tangible improvements to people's lives or risk being cast aside for someone else offering different promises.

If this fickle voter nature continues, we could see political shifts every two years until the economy improves and the party lucky enough to be in power at the time gets all the credit.

This of course ignores the Tea Party, which is a powerful variable Blow chose not to address in his column.

Despite Time magazine's decision to not name this conservative movement "Person of the Year," the Tea Party's impact on this election was bigger than anything or anyone else. This was evidenced Thursday by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) decision to pull the trillion dollar omnibus bill from consideration.

Even the Huffington Post's Howard Fineman recognized this nexis. As such, this movement's muscles are being flexed before most of its members are even sworn in.

With this in mind, although Blow ignored this powerful group, it is likely their longevity or lack thereof that will decide if the Democrat Party's leftward shift is fatal or just another blip on a constantly changing radar screen.

Stay tuned.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.