The way things are going in Washington these days with greater government intervention in all areas of American life, some conservatives may now looking back more fondly on the Clinton years.

Victor Davis Hanson calls Clinton a “centrist pragmatist”, and takes readers on a brief walk through the modern trajectories of presidential politics.

The old progressive dream of electing a genuine leftist president was rendered quixotic by the disastrous campaigns of Northern liberals like George McGovern, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, and John Kerry.

All this is not to say that statism did not make advances. By 2008, almost 40 percent of the population was either entirely, or in large part, dependent on some sort of government handout, entitlement, or redistributive check. The size of government, the annual deficit, and the aggregate debt continued — no matter who was president — to reach unprecedented highs.

And then came President Barack Obama.

Nonetheless, until now we had not in the postwar era seen a true man of the Left who was committed to changing America into a truly liberal state.

And here’s a key snip:

Indeed, had Barack Obama run on the agenda he actually implemented during his first year in office — “Elect me and I shall appoint worthies like Craig Becker, Anita Dunn, and Van Jones; stimulate the economy through a $1.7-trillion annual deficit; take over health care, the auto industry, student loans, and insurance; push for amnesty for illegal aliens and cap-and-trade; and reach out to Iran, Russia, Syria, and Venezuela” — he would have been laughed out of Iowa.

But ’hope and change’ was enough, along with some raise the roof rhetoric, and what he did say he’d do he has not yet done…..practice bipartisanship, insist on transparency, end congressional bickering, keep federal funding for abortion out of his healthcare plan….among other things.

So is it political satire to suggest we’re becoming the ‘once great’ nation known as the American experiment? Is Mark Steyn’s scenario just more of Steyn’s particular brand of humor? “Is America set for decline?” he asks. ”It’s been a grand run…”

What happens when the policies that brought ruin to Detroit and sclerosis to California become the basis for the nation at large? Strictly on the numbers, the United States is in the express lane to Declinistan: unsustainable entitlements, the remorseless governmentalization of the economy and individual liberty, and a centralization of power that will cripple a nation of this size. Decline is the way to bet. But what will ensure it is if the American people accept decline as a price worth paying for European social democracy.

The American people overwhelmingly opposed the healthcare legislation just passed by Congress and signed by Obama. The representatives are not listening to the republic that elected them. And the newest poll numbers show it.

One place we know we’re heading is for a November election.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....