Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Narrative

This would be a good story for the Post Modernist to respond to, but, as you know, he is still on his mission to safe us all from "u" deprived madness.

Anyway this is an article by Michael Barone that discusses the dominant political narrative of our times. Barone notes that for most of this century presidents were judged according to President Roosevelt. President Ronald Reagan, however, changed the narrative by rejecting government solutions to domestic problems.

Barone's theory is that Reagan's narrative is now the dominant one and Democrat's struggling against it isn't likely to accomplish very much.
Democrats were used to writing our history in most of the past century. But without a competing vision of their own, they seem no more likely to succeed than Roosevelt's or Reagan's furious opponents.
Barone rejects the Clinton narrative, and his disdain for Clinton causes him to miss out on the opportunity to further his theory. Clinton clearly had paid attention during the Reagan years and was willing to say things like "the era of big government is over." But, Clinton was the enemy, so it's more fun to portray his years as a failed attempt to create a new narrative.

Barone is right that history moves in cycles, and the last few years have been years of conservative ascendancy. But now that Conservatives have pretty much everything they could want as far as political power goes, they are going to actually have to perform. They have to make things better. And to a lot of Americans, both liberals and conservative, they just aren't doing it.

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