Opinion: Columnists

When prophets are false

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Photo - A light shines behind President Barack Obama as he speaks during a campaign event at Bayliss Park, Monday, Aug. 13, 2012, in Council Bluffs, Iowa, during a three day campaign bus tour through Iowa. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
A light shines behind President Barack Obama as he speaks during a campaign event at Bayliss Park, Monday, Aug. 13, 2012, in Council Bluffs, Iowa, during a three day campaign bus tour through Iowa. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Liberal pundits, liberals, the Obama machine and Obama himself all call Paul Ryan a disastrous pick for vice president. That looks like a good sign for the Mitt Romney ticket, given the multiple records Team Obama has set since 2009 for making bad forecasts, losing elections and in general getting things wrong.

They said Obama was a transformational leader who was about to ring in the next great liberal era; that the conservative movement was dead for the next quarter-century; and that the Democratic majority, "emerging" since the late 1990s, was now finally being born. They said a crisis was a bad thing to waste, and instead they got wasted. They said a crisis would make people turn to the state, but they turned against it. They said the stimulus would keep unemployment under 8 percent and voters would love it. Unemployment has been above 8 percent for 40-plus months in succession, and voters did not.

They said people would come to love health care (they didn't), and that people wouldn't resent or remember the way that they'd passed it (they did). They said the Tea Party was "Astroturf," "racist" and would destroy the Republican Party. But it was authentic; it embraced and elected blacks, Hispanics and women; it gave the GOP a bumper crop of magnetic new leaders and led it to a succession of wins.

Meanwhile, Obama lost both his touch and his bearings, and every campaign he came near. He couldn't sell the stimulus or health care to voters. He campaigned for Creigh Deeds (blown away by Bob McDonnell), for Jon Corzine (blown away by Chris Christie) and for Martha Coakley (blown away by Scott Brown.) His party was blown away in the 2010 midterms, losing the House and many statehouses, whose occupants began turning right.

In New Jersey, Christie slashed the budget, cut perks and ripped public unions. His poll numbers dropped at first when teachers complained, but then they began rising. They are now at 56 percent. In Wisconsin, Walker cut costs and then ripped public unions. The unions fought back, took over and trashed the State Capitol, and then launched three separate and unsuccessful drives to defeat him and his supporters at the ballot box. (The only victim worth mentioning is a state senator who had deserted his wife and shacked up with a floozy outside his district). In their drive to nail Walker himself, they raised tons of money and flooded the state with out-of-state workers. Walker won by 7 points, increasing his original 2010 margin of victory against the same Democratic opponent.

Democrats did beat the Tea Party twice (on incompetence, not ideology) and won one House seat in upstate New York, but these were small saves in a cascade of losses. Meanwhile, Occupy Wall Street, embraced by the Left as the Tea Party's counter, drew a collection of looters and losers, and petered out in a pile of debris, filth and feces. A winning campaign this is not.

Greece has gone bust. Spain is in trouble. Around the world, what Walter Russell Mead calls the "blue state model" of welfare state governance is taking on water, including in the U.S. states under liberal governance. Every day, a new town in California goes bankrupt, even as its governor dreams of light rail. This may be why the Mediscare tactics that worked so well from 1996 and 2005 may not work in this era. This why Marco Rubio, who embraced Ryan's "Roadmap" plan in 2010 to reform both Medicare and Social Security, was attacked from the Left by Charlie Crist and the Democrat, yet handily won a three-way election -- in Florida.

Liberals, who may be feeling too cocky, might give a thought to these things.

Examiner Columnist Noemie Emery is contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and author of "Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families."

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