EDITOR’S NOTE: This article appears in the Dec. 8, 2003, issue of National Review.
Over the past year, the bile in the writings of left-wingers has become so extreme that even they have begun to notice. The New York Times’s Nicholas Kristof, for example, devoted a recent piece (titled “Hold the Vitriol”) to the intemperateness of the Left, while The New Republic’s normally blithe-spirited Jonathan Chait wrote a lengthy apologia for his own hatred of Bush. If anything, the flurry of delightful economic news has increased the intensity of liberals’ emotions, so much so that they are turning on one another like hungry cannibals. Witness Slate’s announcement that “the long-awaited Krugman Gotcha Contest can begin. A prize, to be announced, for the reader who comes up with the gloom-and-doom opinion from the fabled Princeton economist’s recent writings that now looks the most embarrassingly wrong.”
Jonathan Chait’s hypothesis is that Bush-hatred is attributable mostly to the president’s advocacy of policies that are not liberal. But that criticism could have applied equally to any other Republican who held significant political power. No, the intensity of emotions is attributable to a different and far more interesting development: Because of President Bush’s aggressive tax policies, the economic worldview adopted by the Democratic party in recent years is proving, through collective experience, to be totally and irrevocably incorrect. Their champions are now exposed to ridicule–because they have failed.
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–Kevin A. Hassett is director of economic-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.