Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How 'Life of Julia' Prevailed

From William McGurn, at the Wall Street Journal, "How Obama's 'Life of Julia' Prevailed":

The name of the program now escapes me. Several months ago, while flipping channels with the remote, I stopped on an MTV show about a working mom whose whole life was upended when her partner announced that he was splitting. It caught my attention because this mother lived in a nice apartment that looked like one in my suburban New Jersey town, and she was applying for food stamps.

This wasn't your caricature "taker"—the woman had a real job. With her partner leaving, however, she could no longer afford the rent, and she would have trouble providing for her two young boys alone. As she walked up to an office to sign up for food stamps, she said something like, "I can't believe I am applying for public assistance."

Her situation provoked two questions. First, how could her boyfriend just abandon his sons without having to pay child support? Second, what is the conservative response to a woman who finds herself in this situation?

The show comes back to me in wake of the thumping Mitt Romney took in the presidential election among the demographic this mom represents: unmarried women. During the 2012 campaign, we conservatives had great sport at the expense of the Obama administration's "Life of Julia"—a cartoon explaining the cradle-to-grave government programs that provided for Julia's happy and successful life.

The president, alas, had the last laugh. For the voting blocs that went so disproportionately for the president's re-election—notably, Latinos and single women—the Julia view of government clearly resonates. To put it another way, maybe Americans who have reason to feel insecure about their futures don't find a government that promises to be there for them when they need it all that menacing.

The dominant media conclusion from this is that the Republican Party is cooked unless it surrenders its principles. I'm not so sure. To the contrary, it strikes me that now is a pretty good time to get back to principles—and to do more to show people who gave President Obama his victory why their dreams and families would be better served by a philosophy of free markets and limited government.

Well, I couldn't agree more, but it's going to be a long tutorial with the lunkhead progressives. These people are diehard Democrat dependency freaks. I think the trick is actually to get people before they start going Democrat, since weaning people from progressive entitlements will be even harder than encouraging a natural scavenger to hunt for itself.

PREVIOUSLY: "Meet Julia: The Big-Government Dependency Robot and Dream Woman of Leftist Ideology."

RELATED: Recall this piece, "Health-Care Law Spurs a Shift to Part-Time Workers"? (Excerpted here.) I mentioned it in one of my American government classes. Boy were there some glum faces when students realized that the negative externalities of the law might make their lives more difficult and less prosperous. So yes, explaining how ever-increasing government reduces opportunity and increases dependency can have an impact. The lessons may stick, even though the hurdles remain extremely high in the current environment.