Liberal ideas sound attractive to many when liberals propose them. But when liberal policies are put into practice, they become unpopular, because they don't work:
• His $823 billion stimulus bill would reduce unemployment to 5.8 percent, President Barack Obama said. Instead, we've had the longest period of sustained high unemployment since the Depression.
• He'd cut the deficit in half in his first term, Mr. Obama said. It's doubled.
• Obamacare will cut the health insurance premiums the average family must pay by $2,500, the president said. Instead, they've risen by that amount.
• His outreach to Islamists would increase respect for the United States in the Middle East and make us safer, Mr. Obama said. But respect for the U.S. has plummeted, according to Pew's annual poll. On 9/11/2012 and the three days following, al-Qaida launched its most successful attacks since the first 9/11. Voters beguiled by liberal promises become disenchanted with liberal results, and vote accordingly in the next election.
We saw this happen in the Carter administration; after the first two years of Bill Clinton's presidency, and now, especially, in the Obama administration.
President Clinton was spared Jimmy Carter's fate because he heeded the message voters sent via the GOP takeover of Congress in the 1994 midterms. He's the only Democratic president since FDR to be re-elected.
When the voters in 2010 told President Obama to change course, he paid no attention.
Liberals notice, eventually, that their policies have become unpopular. But they are unwilling or unable to link cause and effect. Bill Clinton excepted, it never occurs to them to adjust their policies, or to rethink them altogether. There must be some other explanation for why voters turn away.
The problem was marketing, a Democratic senator told Politico a few weeks after their midterm thrashing. "The public is with us on our policies, but they're not getting the message," he said.
This was hilarious. Before that election, liberals were telling us what a great communicator Barack Obama is. He's the third greatest orator of the modern era -- after JFK and FDR -- said communications strategist Richard Greene.
No, said Roger Simon of Politico, "he's the greatest orator of modern times." He's "world historic good at political communication," said consultant John Weaver.
The problem is the voters, other liberals said. They're too ignorant, too stupid to appreciate how good Mr. Obama's policies are for them, or they oppose his policies out of racism.
If this canard weren't so vicious, it also would be hilarious.
There were many things voters in 2008 did not know about Barack Obama, but the color of his skin was evident to all. Yet Mr. Obama got a higher percentage of the popular vote than any Democrat since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
You're a liberal. You realize that the voters you hailed in 2008 for their enlightenment didn't turn overnight into ignorant bigots. You still think the guy in the White House is a great communicator. You know the news media promotes and amplifies his message. So marketing can't be the problem.
But you still won't consider the message might be the problem. What's left?
Blaming the messenger. The day after the election in 2004, liberal pundits saw myriad flaws in John Kerry that had been invisible to them the day before. If Barack Obama loses, count on this happening again.
Blaming the messenger this time will be awkward, because liberals have attributed to Mr. Obama virtues no mere mortal possesses.
A "lightworker," said Mark Morford of the San Francisco Chronicle.
"In a way, Obama's standing above the country, above the world," said Newsweek editor Evan Thomas after the president's speech in Cairo in June 2009. "He's sort of a god."
That was the speech, you'll recall, in which Mr. Obama announced his policy of outreach to Islamists, which blew up on 9/11/2012.
But liberals would rather eat their extravagant words of praise than admit it's the president's policies -- not how they've been marketed and implemented -- that are chiefly responsible for his plunge in the polls.
Their insistence upon finding someone or something other than the culprit to blame for failure explains why Democrats form a circular firing squad after they lose an election.
The fun begins Nov. 7. I'm buying popcorn.
Jack Kelly is a columnist for the Post-Gazette (firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1476). This story originally appeared in The Pittsburgh Press. To log in or subscribe, go to: http://press.post-gazette.com/