It has been amusing to witness the left side of the blogosphere over the three days of hearings before the Supreme Court. By and large they were absolutely certain that it was smooth sailing for ObamaCare at the Supreme Court prior to the hearings and were dismayed when arguments against ObamaCare that seemed to gain traction were made in the oral arguments. John Podhoretz today in the New York Post captures the surprise on the Left well:
The panicked reception in the mainstream media of the three-day Supreme Court health-care marathon is a delightful reminder of the nearly impenetrable parochialism of American liberals.
They’re so convinced of their own correctness — and so determined to believe conservatives are either a) corrupt, b) stupid or c) deluded — that they find themselves repeatedly astonished to discover conservatives are in fact capable of a) advancing and defending their own powerful arguments, b) effectively countering weak liberal arguments and c) exposing the soft underbelly of liberal self-satisfaction as they do so.
This came as a startling shock to the liberals who write about the court.
Go here to read the rest. Much of the surprise I think is due to the ability of liberals to cocoon themselves from conservative ideas if they wish, and a great many of them do. They go to colleges and universities that overwhelmingly support their political prejudices. They read the Mainstream Media that almost uniformly reinforce their worldview. The entertainment media likewise share their beliefs and, for their amusement, portray conservatives as reactionary nitwits or boogeymen who might as well carry signs saying “Villain”. Thus when they come up against real life conservatives who are intelligent, articulate and challenge beliefs that they thought were unassailable, their reaction tends to be shock and stunned disbelief. Conservatives are not able to cocoon themselves from liberal ideas. The same sources that allow liberals to cocoon themselves if they wish, academia, the mainstream media and the entertainment industry, force conservatives each day to confront opposing ideas. Short term such dominance of the culture is an advantage to liberals; longterm it is a severe detriment to them as they lack the constant engagement to ideas that they oppose which is the daily lot of conservatives.
Update I: Jay Cost in the Weekly Standard made a similar agument of liberal cocooning in reference to the oral aruments on ObamaCare:
The problem for the left is that they do not have a lot of interaction with conservatives, whose intellects are often disparaged, ideas are openly mocked, and intentions regularly questioned. Conservative ideas rarely make it onto the pages of most middle- and high-brow publications of news and opinion the left frequents. So, liberals regularly find themselves surprised when their ideas face pushback.
I think that is exactly what happened with Obamacare. The attitude of President Obama (a former con law lecturer at the University of Chicago, no less!), Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid was very much that they are doing big, important things to help the American people, why wouldn’t that be constitutional? No less an important Democratic leader as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee cited the (nonexistent) “good and welfare clause” to justify the mandate.
Having no intellectual sympathy for the conservative criticism of this view, they rarely encountered it on the news programs they watch, the newspapers they read every day, or the journals they peruse over the weekends. Instead, they encountered a steady drumbeat of fellow liberals echoing Kagan’s attitude: it’s a boatload of money, what the heck is the problem?