Mind you, Matt Welch reveals himself to be a rampaging optimist in his last sentence:
In the truer-believing regions of the progressive political world, the broad agenda of carbon price hikes, centralized health care, greater regulation, increased taxes, and government-mandated diversity in boardrooms are not just sound and moral policy. They are inherently popular, if only the usual obstacles to justice and reform can be neutralized or removed. Back when he was still considered a plausible stand-in for “the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party” (enough to win 2.7 percent of the presidential vote in 2000, much of it from progressives disgruntled at New Democrat policies), Ralph Nader insisted on a daily basis that his agenda was essentially “majoritarian.”
Such fantasies can serve as a salve when you live on the margins of the policy debate. And as long as you remain on the sidelines, the underlying proposals tend to go largely unchallenged. But now that progressive economic thought has its first real foothold in Washington since the 1970s, many long-marginalized ideas are being dusted off for real-world testing, from taxing stock transactions to “getting people out of their cars.” If we’re lucky, those debates will take place before the ideas are cemented into law. Better yet, maybe the growing unpopularity of central planning will dissuade the enthusiasts from inflicting their experiments on the rest of us in the first place.
Bolding mine, and no: that’s not going to happen. A scapegoat will be found. Remember: we are talking about a group that is currently claiming with a straight face that having a 59/41 split in the Senate, a 255/178 split in the House, and the Presidency is not sufficiently overwhelming to let them accomplish their goals. Losing the House will not act as a laudable shock to their system; losing the House and the Senate will not do it, either. Losing both Houses of Congress in 2010 and the Presidency in 2012 won’t do it. God could descend from Heaven in all His glory (with Thorstein Veblen and William Jennings Bryan in attendance) and carrying a signed note from Franklin Delano Roosevelt telling progressives that they are being muddle-headed – and it won’t dissuade them from their belief structure.
Fortunately, it’s not them that we have to convince. Just the centrist voters who are swiftly coming to understand that what they signed up for is not what they’re getting…
Crossposted to Moe Lane.