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The false 'liberal overreach' narrative

Adam Serwer of the American Prospect is guest blogging on The Plum Line this week.

Michael Scherer, who generally writes good stuff, succumbs fully to village fever here:

It's not as if the White House didn't see this coming. After a meeting in December 2008 about the severity of the economic crisis, Axelrod pulled Obama aside. He recalls saying, "Enjoy these great poll numbers you have, because two years from now, they are not going to look anything like this." But even as Obama aides were aware of a growing disconnect, it didn't seem to worry their boss. Instead, the ambitious legislative goals usually trumped other priorities. Both in the original stimulus package and then in the health care and energy measures, the White House ceded most of its clout to the liberal lions who controlled the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. That maneuver helped assure passage of reforms, but it also confirmed some of the worst fears about how Washington works. "I'd rather be a one-term President and do big things than a two-term President and just do small things," he told his team after Republican Scott Brown was elected Senator in liberal Massachusetts and some in the Administration suggested pulling back on health reform.

This isn't even a remotely accurate reading of recent history. Liberals wanted a bigger stimulus package and more infrastructure spending, the moderate Republicans in a position to kill the bill wanted a smaller package and more tax cuts. With health care, liberals wanted a (popular) public option, centrist Democrats in the Senate arbitrarily decided that it was more important to make liberals unhappy than to have a more fiscally responsible and effective health-care bill. In the House, liberals agreed to stronger restrictions on abortion then they wanted to appease the pro-life faction led by Bart Stupak.

With both bills, the point of leverage was somewhere in the center right, not on the left. Which is why liberals ended up making concessions, leaving Democrats feeling more ambivalent about their legislative victories than they should have been.

Furthermore, as an empirical matter, it's clear that it was compromising with Republican centrists by making the stimulus smaller that is hurting Obama and the Democrats now. As Jonathan Cohn points out today, had the stimulus been twice as big, "unemployment would have been more than a full percentage point lower than it is today. And it would be heading down faster." And the Democrats poll numbers would look substantially better.

"Liberal overreach" is a beltway rule of thumb, and in a country where more people identify as conservative than liberal, it's sure to be a crowd-pleaser. But that doesn't mean it's accurate. Liberals didn't "overreach;" they didn't reach far enough. They didn't reach far enough in part because they were unwilling or unable to counter silly beltway narratives of "liberal overreach" with empirical evidence. And now Democrats are paying the price, not just with Americans who are angry about the economy, but with their own frustrated, demoralized base.

By Adam Serwer  |  September 2, 2010; 4:42 PM ET
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Obamacare is NOT liberal overreach?!

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 2, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Adam - That is exactly right.

Then again, all this under/over is irrelevant. Obama is a pragmatist, not an ideologue. The votes for the public option weren't in the Senate, and the Senate wouldn't allow a bigger stimulus.

Obama did what he could in the face of a Senate GOP desperately searching for Obama's "Waterloo." Did it PO liberals? You betcha. Did it PO conservatives? You betcha.

Posted by: nisleib | September 2, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

It's not overreach, it's not underreach - it's just not working.

Adams' assertion that "it's clear that it was compromising with Republican centrists by making the stimulus smaller that is hurting Obama and the Democrats now," is false. The Krugman krap that he links to states:

"In December 2008 Mr. Obama’s top economic and political advisers concluded that a bigger stimulus was neither economically necessary nor politically feasible. Their political judgment may or may not have been correct; their economic judgment obviously wasn’t."

Posted by: sbj3 | September 2, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Apparently, Mr. Sewer (and now, nisleib) thinks that the extreme left wing did not "overreach" because, you see, they didn't get EVERYTHING they wanted!!! We'll see if the American voters agree with that soon enough ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 2, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Adam, good post. This kind of Politico-esque steno crap needs to be taken down. I don't know how people can avoid the simple facts, but they obviously do.

Add this:

and you see how the liberal wing of the party wants sensible things and not just the BS the right is crowing about.

Posted by: BGinCHI | September 2, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

I would argue that the AMERICAN VOTERS will be the ultimate arbiter of whether there was 'liberal overreach' or not.

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 2, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, those liberal lions like Kent Conrad really pushed a liberal agenda down our throats, and don't forget Lieberman and Nelson, two of my personal favorites. And who did we cater to in the stimulus, Snowe, Collins and that liberal hero Arlen?

We knew this was coming, but it's going to be tough to take. Anyone notice the links I posted earlier about how to get our mojo back before the elections? They're in the (D)oomed thread at 1:19 and 1:43 before the thread fell apart.

Posted by: lmsinca | September 2, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

lms, if SS gets cut because of the stupid deficit commission, and the Dems renew Bush's tax cuts, I'm going into deep, deep hibernation.

I can't believe the party is running away from its strengths, but then again the AR primary still sticks in my craw as the first sign of trouble.

Posted by: BGinCHI | September 2, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

re: Liberal Lion -- NEWSFLASH: Ted Kennedy died and was replaced by a REPUBLICAN!

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 2, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Riiight....liberals have failed because they didn't spend MORE money that they didn't already have with the stimulous. Yeah, that makes sense.


Posted by: luca_20009 | September 2, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse


The ex journ-O-listers are simply trying to position themselves to claim that they wouldn't have lost the House (maybe even the Senate?) if they had just been MORE liberal!

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 2, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Were Obama's commitments in 2008 made to the American People - or to the far left wing ?

Obama promised the American People he would be bipartisan - which means Obama committed himself to compromising with the Republicans, not with the far left.

This piece is ridiculous.

We have been over this territory over and over.

Obama had his chance when Scott Brown was elected - and Obama's ego was already destroying the democratic party when Obama chose the health care bill over concentrating on the economy.

Overall, this piece forgets that Obama is unqualified and inexperienced.

Most Presidents come to Washington with more experience - they know more people - they have decades of people they can rely on.

The democrats said that - like in affirmative action - qualifications don't matter. There is an attitude that if you take a minority, stick him in there, he will do a job just as good as anyone else. That isn't true.

Qualifications matter. Experience Matters. Obama spent four years in Washington - much of which was NOT doing his job - but going on a book tour and then running for President.

How much experience does that add up to?

In sharp contrast, democrats had people running with decades of Washington experience - who surely would not have made the same mistakes.

Democrats - blame Obama - it is about time.

Democrats - blame yourselves - you should have never, ever even considered voting for Obama. I understand that the democrats were looking for an alternative to Hillary - but to run into the arms of someone with no qualifications and no experience is silly.

The democrats did this to themselves.

Hey - NO more government programs, don't you get it. Shut down the democratic party - no one wants any more government programs - so your reason for being has ceased to exist.


Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 2, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

luca, your grasp of economics is really impressive. Do you know what investment means? Do you know which party invented and then abused deficit spending?

Stupid wanker.

Posted by: BGinCHI | September 2, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

"Liberal Overreach"

Take a look at the Federal budget and all those democratic government programs - tell me if that isn't "overreach."

Take a look at the State budgets - CRAMMED with democratic government programs - and tell me that isn't "overreach."

Take a look at local governments - JAMMED with Union contracts - expensive resulting in high property taxes - and tell me that isn't "overreach."

The democratic party has REACHED its logical END -

The American People say NO MORE.


Too bad the American People ARE STUCK WITH THE DEBT from the government programs of the democratic party.


Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 2, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse


That's assuming that Obama is even legally President.

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 2, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse


I'm starting to think Fox News favors GOP candidates.

Posted by: BGinCHI | September 2, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Adam Serwer -- and Greg Sargant -- were members of Ezra Klein's Journ-O-list leftist cheerleading squad. I will be right back with the full list.

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 2, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

BG, I think I can make it to 2012, but if this thing doesn't turn around I'm definitely retiring from politics. Republicans, with the aid of their corporate bankrollers and BFF's, are going to kill whatever baby steps we've accomplished if they take over.

I'll just have to let my kids continue the fight for the middle class at that point. Forty years is long enough. My husband and I are among the fortunate almost seniors, we have our business, our retirement and our health. My kids are all really well educated and successful so they're on their own.

Posted by: lmsinca | September 2, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm waiting for the real conservative overreach by their telegraphing numerous hearings and shutting down the gov't.

But for the real pain a shutdown would cause average folks, I'd love to see them try it. Lots 'o fun watching that political trainwreck.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | September 2, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Hey Adam!

Around here we like our Liberals silent and blame-ready. Get with the program, Dude.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 2, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Hey Jake: Do you think maybe you could combine your various posts into one or two for each topic? It's not right to have one person make so many comments when everyone else is just making one or two.

And STR: Can you lose the double spacing between paragraphs?

Posted by: sbj3 | September 2, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

lms, how's the daughter doing at CSM?

Posted by: BGinCHI | September 2, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

So, the liberals are going to say that this isn't being done with Obama's OK -

Obama should denounce this and put a stop to it - this is Obama's attack machine doing its work

The civil rights group has partnered with three liberal media Web sites to form a "tea party tracker" intent on monitoring "racism and other forms of extremism" within the tea party movement.

The online project, which was developed and branded by the NAACP's new media staff, has already drawn strong criticism from tea party supporters, who have said repeatedly that racism plays no role in their movement.


I have a few rocks they can look under if they want.


Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 2, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse


I read in the Conservative handbook that liberals really get annoyed by double-spacing - it makes them blink three times as fast and squirm in their seats.

Liberals also get an itchy feeling all over themselves when they see double-spacing.

Why do you think that is ?


Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 2, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse


But this is perfect description of what ails the country and animates the Modern Conservative movement:

"For the majority of contemporary Americans, the essence of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness centers on a relentless personal quest to acquire, to consume, to indulge, and to shed whatever constraints might interfere with those endeavors."

Andrew Bacevich, “The Limits of Power,” p.16

Posted by: wbgonne | September 2, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

BG, thanks for asking. She's inundated with work and travel both but loving it. It's definitely going to be a challenge though it's a really tough program. We're heading out there in early November if the weather holds. She goes to France in two weeks and then every weekend after in the field, San Diego, Utah and CO, until November. We'll head down to SD to see her of course.

Posted by: lmsinca | September 2, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse


As if the following never donated their "free" time, effort, print space and TV time to the Democrats?

Spencer Ackerman
Thomas Adcock
Ben Adler
Mike Allen
Eric Alterman
Marc Ambinder
Greg Anrig
Ryan Avent
Dean Baker
Nick Baumann
Josh Bearman
Steven Benen
Ari Berman
Jared Bernstein
Michael Berube
Brian Beutler
Lindsay Beyerstein
Joel Bleifuss
John Blevins
Eric Boehlert
Sam Boyd
Ben Brandzel
Shannon Brownlee
Rich Byrne
Kevin Carey
Jonathan Chait
Lakshmi Chaudry
Isaac Chotiner
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Michael Cohen
Jonathan Cohn
Joe Conason
Lark Corbeil
David Corn
Daniel Davies
David Dayen
Brad DeLong
Ryan Donmoyer
Adam Doster
Kevin Drum
Matt Duss
Gerald Dworkin
Eve Fairbanks
James Fallows
Henry Farrell
Tim Fernholz
Dan Froomkin
Jason Furman
James Galbraith
Kathleen Geier
Todd Gitlin
Ilan Goldenberg
Arthur Goldhammer
Dana Goldstein
Andrew Golis
Jaana Goodrich
Merrill Goozner
David Greenberg
Robert Greenwald
Chris Hayes
Don Hazen
Jeet Heer
Jeff Hauser
Michael Hirsh
James Johnson
John Judis
Michael Kazin
Ed Kilgore
Richard Kim
Charlie Kireker
Mark Kleiman
Ezra Klein
Joe Klein
Robert Kuttner
Paul Krugman
Lisa Lerer
Daniel Levy
Ralph Luker
Annie Lowrey (Klein's girlfriend)
Robert Mackey
Mike Madden
Maggie Mahar
Amanda Marcotte
Dylan Matthews
Alec McGillis
Scott McLemee
Sara Mead
Ari Melber
David Meyer
Seth Michaels
Luke Mitchell
Gautham Nagesh
Suzanne Nossel
Josh Orton
Rick Perlstein
Nico Pitney
Katha Pollitt
Ari Rabin-Havt
Joy-Ann Reid
David Roberts
Lamar Robertson
Sara Robinson
Alyssa Rosenberg
Alex Rossmiller
Michael Roston
Laura Rozen
Felix Salmon
Thomas Schaller
Noam Scheiber
Michael Scherer
Mark Schmitt
Nancy Scola
Rinku Sen
Walter Shapiro
Kate Sheppard
Micah Sifry
Nate Silver
Jesse Singal
Ann-Marie Slaughter
Ben Smith
Kay Steiger
Jonathan Stein
Sam Stein
Matt Steinglass
James Surowiecki
Michael Tomasky
Jeffrey Toobin
Rebecca Traister
Karen Tumulty
Kai Wright
Holly Yeager
Rich Yeselson
Matthew Yglesias
Jonathan Zasloff
Julian Zelizer
Avi Zenilman

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 2, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

lms, that's really exciting and I bet she's loving it. You've got some good kids there.

Posted by: BGinCHI | September 2, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse


No. Next question?

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 2, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

sbj, hey nice try, it won't work though. Best just to try and ignore them. They're purposely trying to shut us down and Jake isn't quite sure he's ready to assassinate anyone yet, and we don't know who. STR thinks it's a good idea to shoot illegals crossing the border from the comfort of his own home. Hence, they're not worthy of our consideration or attention.

Posted by: lmsinca | September 2, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse


Is it possible that we could divide up the comments so it is even between the two sides ???

Liberals can get so many - and the Conservatives get an equal number.

Otherwise under your system, if there are many more liberals, then they get so many more comments.

The liberals can divide up the comments among themselves - and we will just try to keep up - how about that ?


Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 2, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse


If you have no more questions for me, that would be GREAT : )

More time for Jeopardy!

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 2, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse


Sounds like a good plan ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 2, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

lmsinca at 640

I can see you like to attack - and ignore

Is that bipartisanship ? Is that what your great leader Obama promised the nation?

What is worthy of your time ?

- Creating another government program

- Wasting Stimulus dollars

- Increasing government debt ??

- Making false charges of racism.

go ahead - tell us what is worthy of your time

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 2, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

STR's own words from yesterday.

From Sept. 1
STR @ 10:44pm

"Not exactly sure what to say - but tolerance is important, especially on the blogs."

STR @ 2:38pm


"I have the best solution for the southern border.

All we need to do is set up machine guns with camaeras at various points - linked to the internet.

We can charge people to log onto the website for each gun and see the surrounding area.

This way, we don't even have to pay for border guards - we can take care of the border from the comfort of our own homes.
Quite a deterrent - huh ? I think after a while, they will stop coming.

What do you think ???"

Posted by: lmsinca | September 2, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse


What part of "tolerance is important for blogs" vs. "punishment is important for criminals" are you having trouble understanding?

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 2, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey Jake and STR: I have a question for you.


No, wait. I don't.

Posted by: sbj3 | September 2, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

lmsinca | September 2, 2010 7:04 PM

If you knew that was happening, would you TRY to cross the border?

It's called deterrence.

No one has to be shot - just the monitoring would be enough.


Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 2, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

"No one has to be shot - just the monitoring would be enough."

Uh huh, except that's not what you said. What part of murdering people in cold blood don't you understand? Words have consequences. I have your quote on my desk top and will show it everyday for you as a reminder.

Posted by: lmsinca | September 2, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

The "false 'liberal overreach' narrative" is a tough one to pin down because what constitutes "overreach" is something very subjective. It's human nature to be at least somewhat distrustful of change of any kind but the streak runs stronger in some people than others. It can't really be argued though, that there haven't been some pretty big changes since president Obama took office, regardless of whether you think they've been too big, not big enough or just about right.

The more risk- and change averse someone is the more conservative they tend to in their politics. And we're mostly liberals on this bus so chances are we're going to find the notion that Democrats have gone too far since Obama took office to be a little silly. Most of us in fact think they haven't gone far enough, some of us to the point of rather routinely calling them some pretty nasty names for it.

But wherever you may land on the question personally and however silly you find the idea that Democrats may have overreached, it's sillier still to argue that there aren't people who are completely serious about it, some to the point of being scared s***less. In fact statistically there could very well be more of them than there are of us, since conservatives generally outnumber liberals and hard economic times tend to make people more risk-averse in general.

And of course as silly as ~that~ argument would be, it's worth noting that there are actually people who honestly believe that Democrats' problems in places like Indiana, Ohio and Arkansas actually stem from not having delivered on ~enough~ of the things that left wanted -- to the point of rooting for them to lose elections and believing that would validate their case and/or somehow advance their cause. And that I think crosses the line from silliness right on into delusional.

Posted by: CalD | September 2, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

And for good measure, I'm going to go find Jake's assassination quote for my desktop as another reminder for us all.

Posted by: lmsinca | September 2, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse


Please do.



Posted by: JakeD2 | September 2, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse


I think that's a fair point, I don't doubt that a lot of people think liberals overreached. But I'm not arguing if the Dems had passed everything on the liberal wish-list people would have liked the dems more, I'm arguing that 1. The real points of leverage on recent legislation were on the center right and 2. The economy is the most decisive factor here, and had there been a bigger stimulus, employment would be down farther and thus poll numbers would be better.

Posted by: Adam Serwer | September 2, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Not sure what that has to do with "The false (or TRUE) 'liberal overreach' narrative" but who am I to stop "off topic" postings?

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 2, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Adam. My previous post was to Imsinca and sbj3 : )

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 2, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

"I'm not arguing if the Dems had passed everything on the liberal wish-list people would have liked the dems more"

Well, Adam, you SHOULD be arguing that because it is absolutely true. And we can go through particular items one-by-one if the general truth isn't persuasive.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 2, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

@ Adam Serwer | September 2, 2010 7:48 PM:

Well again, I am really not interested in arguing whether government attempts at economic stimulus have been stimulating enough or healthcare reform was reformative enough or whether Wall Street reform was tough enough -- I have my own opinions about all those things that may differ from yours in some cases, probably not so much in others, but in all cases they would be completely beside the point that I was trying to make.

You want to argue that perceptions in some quarters that Democrats have may have overreached have no basis in reality. My point was that this is a case where perception ~is~ reality. If you believe it's hogwash that liberals have gotten too much of what we wanted, it is. And for what it's worth I'd agree. But if someone else believes that liberals have gotten too much of what we wanted then that's also true. Subjective question don't have a single right answer. That's what makes them subjective.

We could argue all day about how much is too much and that just happens to be exactly what a lot of people are doing right now. But at the end of the day, even if there were a single right answer to ~that~ question, subjective perceptions can often prove extremely resistant to even the most potent and seemingly unquestionable objective facts. And on top of that, nothing much having to do with economics, a field wherein the most learned authorities routinely argue and rehash even the most basic principles and the mechanics and implications of things that happened 100 years ago remain subjects of intense debate, actually qualifies as unquestionable, objective fact. So good luck with that.

Posted by: CalD | September 2, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

SBJ -- JakeD2 is a an OCD WaPo commenter who drives other people off threads. Been at it for years. Considerably diluted/polluted the comment threats here.

Posted by: KathleenHusseininMaine | September 2, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Kathleen, have you seen my comments on the next thread. Do you think I should just ignore them or pursue my aggressive stance? Jake and STR have both said some pretty outrageous and aggressive things and I think it's best to call them on it or otherwise ignore them, what do you think?

Posted by: lmsinca | September 2, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse


Nice job filling in.

I would like to point out though, that by my lights, the liberal self-identification metric is basically worthless.

Otherwise, I think you're right on. It's not that the Dem trifecta has been too "liberal," it's that it's been too "meh." It indulged fantasies about what elected GOPers were up to, and failed to mobilize the (arguably) winning coalition that is basically waiting in the wings. Persuadables mainly value results -- the tepid economic "recovery" is Exhibit A here -- and to a lesser degree confidence, something too many on our side lack.

The House was always going to be a little rough. But we could have emerged with a better group at the end of it all and a solid majority. There are enough majority making seats that can be held by progressive/populist/mainstream Dems if lack of economic security isn't devastating the party. In this case, the so-called "centrists" prevented necessary action on the economy, and in doing so, dealt a terrible blow to the very majority they claim to make possible.

On the Senate side, IN,ND (sans Dorgan), and AR would have been rough, but CO,MO,PA,OH,NH, and NC, let alone Boxer and Feingold, would be in much better shape if Team I Love The 90's hadn't worked its magic... and by magic, I mean incompetence.

Posted by: michael_conrad | September 2, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

"this is a case where perception ~is~ reality"

Perception may substitute for reality but they are not the same. Perceptions can be managed and manipulated. This point is the key to the GOP's War On Reality. The Democrats' failure to separate the two concepts -- and to understand that perception can be altered -- has contributed mightily to their undoing.

More importantly, mistaking perception for reality will cause the Democrats to compound their errors by repeating and magnifying them. If the Democratic Party has -- as appears likely -- internalized the view that the have been "too Liberal," they will become more Conservative in response. If the thesis is incorrect, acting upon it will make matters worse.

In other words, Obama and the Democrats are suffering politically because they have rejected all ideas and policies that smack even faintly of Liberalism, whether or not those policies were superior practically or politically. That was the GOP's strategy from the outset. It has worked so far and the Democrats, by learning the wrong lessons, will guarantee their own failure.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 3, 2010 7:24 AM | Report abuse


Thank you in advance for not "ignoring" me.


Did YOU think that my posts were "threats" against the President?

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 3, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

"Obamacare is NOT liberal overreach"

Posted by: JakeD2


There you have it folks. The troll has spoken. You read it here first.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | September 3, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse


Doesn't a "troll" try to take the discussion off topic? I am not a troll, especially since the QUESTION MARK that you deleted from that post is clearly "on topic". Nice try though.

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 3, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

@ wbgonne | September 3, 2010 7:24 AM:

OK, one more time, real slow. There is no objective criterion for what constitutes and over-reach. This isn't complicated. The definition of overreaching in the context of politics is trying to lead people someplace they're not ready to go. A lot of factors come into play in where each person draws that line but for every person, wherever they draw it, if you cross that line then for them you've overreached. Ergo, perception is in fact reality.

Posted by: CalD | September 3, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Each person individually may have a "subjective" test for overreaching, but I would argue that the AMERICAN VOTERS (as a whole) will be the ultimate arbiter of whether there was 'liberal overreach' or not. That's the very definition of "objective" criterion.

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 3, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

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