Throughout most of my life, one of the worst things that a political candidate can call their opponent is a “liberal”. Usually the word is said with a little sneer, and made to rhyme with “Godless communist bastard.” But this is apparently set to change, at least according to Bruce Bartlett (presumably no relation to Jed Bartlett), who says in The Financial Times:
The Republican takeover of Congress in 1994 was simply the formal climax of the rightward trend in politics that had been underway for many years and which has largely continued under Barack Obama. One can argue about how liberal Obama is, but it is obvious that he has not been a transformational president. It is clear that the energy remains on the Republican side with almost all policy issues debated within a conservative framework.
Moreover, it seems almost certain that Republicans will retain control of the House of Representatives next year, and they will have an excellent shot at getting control of the Senate. But, as I explained earlier, Republican hopes of retaking the White House appear long, as the party’s demographic woes grow yearly as its base dies and the Democratic base grows.
Just as the political energy of conservatives turned in their favor long before Republican politics caught up with it, I think there are signs that conservative energy is weakening and liberal energy is rising today.
The entire article isn’t very long, and it’s well-worth reading. It does also make it clear that, for all Obama’s many strengths as president, he is not the long-term, transformational figure that liberalism really needs to have. We need our Reagan, and with luck, we’ll get such a person come 2016 or 2020.