Magazine April 5, 2010, Issue

The Dead End of Liberalism

(Roman Genn)
Why progressives can’t govern

The chief obstacles to new liberal policy victories these days are past liberal policy victories. As a matter of political philosophy, contemporary liberalism may exalt government, but in practice, it enfeebles it.

No group of voters has resisted the president’s project of transforming American health care more than senior citizens. Their health care was already transformed, by Medicare. That program is one of Lyndon Johnson’s great liberal achievements, but also a major source of funding for Obama’s health-care initiative. The old beneficiaries, in both senses of “old,” don’t want to give new beneficiaries a cut.

The very recent beneficiaries don’t, either. When

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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Actor Sean Penn says that anyone who calls Hugo Chávez a dictator should go to jail. In Venezuela, Chávez is way ahead of him.

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