"... a few partisan leftists rolled their eyes at conservatives who think death panels are a feature of socialized medicine...
"All that said, the reason this stuff is so much more offensive on the right is because the nation has basically drifted leftward, in some respects rapidly, over the past several years. Who would have thought, even 15 years ago, that opposition to gay marriage would be basically fringe in the US? Or that we would reach a point where the viability of political candidates is largely, perhaps mostly, predicated on how well they avoid taking stuff away from key constituents? It is, practically, an increasingly liberal country and world." -- A plainblog commenterI started to write a comment arguing against this viewpoint. It's easy to defeat the idea that avoiding "taking stuff away from key constituents" is only a problem for the left. I can point to some juicy benefits for the wealthy and medical corporations during the Bush administration to show that the GOP does constituent service the same as the Democrats, but do I really need to?
It's so easy to talk about marriage for same-sex partners as being mixed lefty and conservative, since marriage is a traditional, conservative sort of institution.
However, it was a lot harder to argue that the country hasn't drifted leftward over the past several years, or maybe I should say four decades. I wanted to make the argument that, in terms of social acceptance, there has been definite leftward shifts, but not on fiscal issues.
Yet when I tried to find examples of conservative ideals becoming more prevalent in society and government, I could think of only one example--the welfare reform of the 1990's. Most government policy has expanded government's role, responsibilities, and expenditures. But remember that not all government spending is "liberal" spending. Increased defense spending, which we've had, has more of a conservative constituency. Increased spending on Medicare had bipartisan support when it was voted on in Congress, so it's not exactly fair to label it "liberal" now. If the country is in a rightward shift now, as shown in the GOP/Tea Party gains in the 2010 election, it hasn't penetrated spending or policy yet.
For movement in a fiscal conservative direction, you may have to look to business. Many are pushing back on healthcare with co-pays and higher employee contributions. They're also offering 401K retirement plans instead of fixed pensions.
Whether you think the leftward direction is good or bad depends on your political viewpoint. I'm afraid (or glad) you'll have to make up your own mind about that.