There’s Something About Matty

Obviously, I’ve got to stop reading Matt Yglesias for the same reason I’ve got to try again to get mom to cancel the New Republic gift subscription. These people don’t have a clue about real life. Yglesias’s latest whining (thanks Digby) about Democrats is why aren’t we patriotic enough?

At today’s Take Back America conference I saw some interesting polling data from Diane Feldman on a subject I’d pondered now and again. Unfortunately, the written summary of the presentation doesn’t contain the exact numbers and I didn’t write them down because I assumed this question would be included in the summary. The point, however, was that when you ask if America is “the greatest country in the world” most voters say that it is. When you ask if Democrats believe that America is the greatest country, most voters say that they do not.

I think it’s clear that this perception creates some electoral problems. Indeed, it’s a particularly serious kind of electoral problem because my guess is that the perception is probably correct.

Imagine yourself in an America where segregation hasn’t yet been ruled unacceptable. Say, the years between the end of WWII and the mid-1960s. Or take, perhaps, the ante-bellum era.

Was America the greatest country then?

All of the institutions we cherished before the Republicans began gnawing away at them: the Bill of Rights, the separate executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, etc. They were all in place.

Was America the greatest country then?

As it’s been since its founding, America is a great country, with a lot of potential. But people who blindly say that everyone must bow and proclaim it the greatest are closing themselves off to the need for improvement and progress. Why would a greatest country need to improve at all?

The “greatest country” thing is just a “swinging dick” statement: “Yeaaah, I got the greatest damn country on the planet. Suck it, rest of the world!” Worrying about this kind of crap is for the people who try to run campaigns by polls. And quite frankly, those people keep losing races.

Maybe, instead of trying to figure out what’s wrong with Democrats, Matt could spend some time hammering on the people in the administration who’ve messed up America’s economy, foreign policy, health care, etc.