The Corner

The Issues That Affect People in Their Daily Lives

This is the standard trope, cliche or talking point used by Democrats and liberals to explain the sorts of issues they think their party is better at dealing with. If you ever watch West Wing, paid attention to Bill Clinton’s eight year rule, listen to Hillary Clinton, read liberal magazines or blogs or care about politics at all than you’ve heard some variant of this 8 hundred katrillion times. I understand what they mean: Maternity leave, health care etc.

Fine. Good. Nice.

But here’s the thing I’m missing. These people who hate Bush with such blinding passion, the ones who talk about fascism this and lost civil liberties that: when I ask them what they hate about Bush and his policies they almost never talk about the issues that affect their daily lives. It’s all this righteous indignation about Abu Ghraib or Gitmo or Jose Padilla. Or it’s about the Patriot Act. Or the tax cuts.

But in almost all of these cases these folks can’t describe in concrete terms how Bush’s policies affect their daily lives (let’s leave gay marriage out of this for a moment). I think it is entirely legitimate, even necessary, to complain about political decisions on principle even if they have no affect on your own comfort. The Patriot Act, Abu Ghraib etc are all real issues. But they are not issues that affect 99.999999% of these gripers’ daily lives. Show me a hundred thousand people picked at random who say the Patriot Act has made their life worse and I will show you nine hundred and ninety nine thousand nine hundred and ninety nine liars.

How you can talk about creeping fascism under the Bush administration and joke about how you might leave the country when nothing, nada, zip has happened to you or anyone you know that would provide evidence for such views is beyond me — if your yardstick for political merit is how it affects your daily life.

It seems that the “affect our daily lives” criteria for politicians is really an expression of a preference for politicians who will “give me stuff.” And politicians who don’t give me stuff are automatically fascists.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Most Popular


The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More