Peggy Noonans most recent column in the Wall Street Journal (Friday, October 14), Its No Time for Moderation, had some keen insights on recent developments in public opinion. She is thinking about the coming of the Occupy Wall Street movement and other manifestations of discontent and asks:
Why is this happening now, and not two years ago? Because at some point in the past year or six months, people started to realize: The economy really isnt going to get better for a long time. Everyone seems to know in their gut that unemployment is going to stay bad or get worse. Everyone knows the jobless rate is higher than the government says, because they look around and see that more than 9% of their friends and family are un- or underemployed. People put on the news and hear aboutEuropeand bankruptcy, and worry that its going to spread here. Eighteen months ago smart people could talk on TV about how were on a growth path and recovery will begin by fall of 2010. Nobody talks like that now.
And people have a sense that nothings going to get better unless something big is done, some fundamental change is made in our financial structures. It wont be small-time rejiggeringa 5% cut in this tax, a 3% reduction in that programthat will get us out of this.
She also comments perceptively on the demise of President Obamas jobs proposal and why it lacked any momentum:
President Obamas jobs bill failed in the Senate this week, and the headline is not that it lost, its that it lost and nobody noticed. Polls actually showed support for various parts of it. You know why it failed? Because he was for it. Because he said, Pass this bill. So weak is public faith in his economic leadership that people figure if hes behind it, it must be a bad idea.
In conclusion, it appears that the political energy that characterized 2010 lies ready to be tapped by candidates with good, BIG ideas in 2012.