A City Journal Interview with author Charles Kesler. This interview was conducted before the 2012 election, and Kesler’s predictions about increased polarization in an Obama 2nd term are proving to be accurate. His characterization of the 100-year tradition of progressive liberalism, from Wilson, though FDR, Johnson, and now, Obama, marks a turning point for the liberal project. Running out of money, and running out of ideas (The centralized control and enlarged state power required for the ACA is right out of the 1930s) represents the unavoidable conflict with the flexible, nimble 21st-century expectations of cyber-technological-age America: the unavoidable Crisis of Liberalism.
Kesler contends that we’re seeing the fourth and final phase of Wilson-FDR-Johnson-Obama Liberalism’s, with Obama as its iconic last leader. Primarily because the movement’s century of excesses–unrealistic promises of expanded entitlements and benefits that can and will never be realized–signifies the end of an era. Liberalism’s survival will require higher taxation, more government control, more expanded power, Kesler suggests Liberalism will recede, fail, or radicalize toward a more all-encompassing socialist entitlement state. Also discussed is the “politics of meaning”, the left’s dream of a “living constitution”, and Obama’s agenda in his second term, as explored in Kesler’s 2012 book.