Voters and values
You can always count on David Brooks to bring the values. Amid some data that should be disturbing for Democrats and exciting for Republicans, this tidbit on why progressives are failing:
Bitterly and too late, Dr. Faustus saw that liberals can’t have their way and still win elections in places like North Carolina, Ohio and Missouri. Bitterly and too late, Dr. Faustus recognized that economic policies are about values. If your policies undermine personal responsibility by separating the link between effort and reward, voters will punish you for it.
While I find the point intriguing, I can’t really believe it. Voters are upset because perceived big government efforts to jump-start the economy and create jobs don’t seem to be working (at least from the perspective of the unemployed).
If the Obama administration had curtailed benefits or pursued some other economic program that more strongly linked benefits to work, it’s hard to see that voters would be any more forgiving (assuming the economy would wind up in the same place).
Economic policies are about values. No question there. But the public success of those policies is about results.