I think so. Here's some excellent analysis from George Weigel (and Alexis de Tocqueville):
That half the country was prepared to reelect a manifestly failed president whose personal incapacities, like the incapacities of the bloated governmental bureaucracies over which he presided, were on full display in the weeks before the election, and in venues ranging from North Africa to Staten Island, is a very disturbing “indicator,” as the pollsters like to say. That a goodly proportion of that half of America seemed susceptible to the Obama campaign’s class warfare is also disturbing. But perhaps most disturbing of all is the exit-poll data showing that a healthy majority of the electorate believed Obama more capable than Romney of handling foreign crises: and this, after the lethal fiasco of Benghazi, itself the embodiment of an ideologically driven pusillanimity in foreign policy that has been on display since the president’s apologize-for-America tour at the beginning of his first term. “Missing greatness,” it turns out, is not just a function of who’s in charge. It’s a result of democratic citizens’ not paying attention. Or worse, it’s the result of citizens’ suffering such severe ideological glaucoma that they cannot see what is in front of them.Read the whole thing.
What has obviously changed, in other words, is American political culture: and it is hard to make a case that that change has been for the better. Shortly after Ohio sealed the deal on Election Night, a friend (who earlier in the evening had said that she was having a hard time recognizing the country she grew up in) sent me an e-mail with a salient Tocqueville quote:
In the United States, the majority rules in the name of the people. This majority is chiefly composed of peaceful citizens who by taste or interest sincerely desire the good of the country. . . . If republican principles are to perish in America, they will succumb only after a long social travail, frequently interrupted, often resumed; they will seem to be reborn several times, and they will disappear without return only when an entirely new people has taken the place of the one that exists in our day.
David Gelernter has a partial explanation for the degradation of the electorate. It's the schools, stupid:
. . . you can’t graduate class after class after class of left-indoctrinated ignoramuses without paying the price. Last night was a downpayment.Mr. Gelernter goes on to make a hopeful statement about righting our education system. I don't share his optimism at all. Our public school system is a deeply-entrenched leviathan. And most parents, products of it themselves (and unable to imagine their lives without state-sponsored daycare) aren't all that unhappy with it. Where will all this big change come from?
If you want your kids to arrive at adulthood un-co-opted by liberal group-think, be a radical and homeschool them.
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