January 11, 2005

Slow and Steady...

In the New Republic today, Jeremy Buchman argues that, if conservatives appoint a bunch of judicial activists who dismantle the New Deal system, they'll suffer the same backlash that the left did with Roe v. Wade. Seems doubtful. Abortion (at least first-trimester) abortion is an all-or-nothing thing: either you legalize it or you don't. The backlash is immediate and fierce. On the other hand, it's a lot easier to roll back New Deal legislation, bit by bit, over a longer period of time.

More generally, there's a bit of an asymmetry here. Most of the stuff that liberals want to institute or legalize needs to happen all at once—legalized abortion, gay marriage, universal health care, the Kyoto protocols—so it's easy for the right to get people worked up over it. Meanwhile, the right can bleed unions to death, or pick off environmental regulations, or slowly let the minimum wage get sunk by inflation, without crossing the public's outrage threshold.
-- Brad Plumer 2:56 PM || ||