‘Politics Is Hard!’

by Steven F. Hayward

Anyone remember the ruckus a few years back when (if I recall this correctly) the toy people came out with a talking Barbie doll that included in its repertoire the phrase “Math is hard!”? As I recall it, the feminists went nuts (but I repeat myself). Well, I’m starting to think we need a liberal Ken doll who says “Politics is hard!” (Wait, I know what you’re thinking! That’s what MSNBC is for! I concede.)

I’m continually amazed at the liberal inability to decide if Reagan was as awful as they always said years ago (Think Progress is happy to stay faithful), or really a swell guy, certainly a moderate if not a closet liberal, as Eugene Robinson argued his Washington Post column this week. I deliver a long and thorough fisking of Robinson’s argument about Reagan and taxes over at the Powerline Blog this morning, but there’s more to say about this, namely, that this whole line of argument, based on an inability to tell the difference between a person’s principles and his necessary compromises, reveals a childlike grasp of politics.  

Ultimately, Robinson’s column refutes itself in a single sentence whose irony is surely lost on him: “[Reagan's] biggest impact on domestic politics was that the center of gravity shifted to the right — enough, in fact, that what were once extreme views have become orthodox.”   

Precisely, Eugene. That’s how the big-time players in politics do things. Still think Reagan was a crypto-liberal?