Ben Smith posts an e-mail from a "senior Democrat" who says liberals have long been fighting an uphill battle ideologically:
We didn't lose this fight, Barack Obama was in law school when this fight was lost.
The role of Democrats should not be to convince people that government is great, it should be to help people reach their potential -- and government is a tool to do that. There has been a strain of skepticism about the government in the American character since the founding, only the New Deal changed that significantly; but we have been returning to the norm ever since then.
Like David Dayen, I wonder if a stimulus more appropriately tailored to the severity of the recession or a housing program that actually stemmed foreclosures could have changed some people's minds about that. I don't think liberals aren't aware of the ideological landscape of the United States, but part of the critique of Obama is that his presidency was a lost opportunity to turn the tide. After all, it was Obama himself who wanted to be remembered as a "transformative" president rather than a custodial one.