In his essay, Tomasky diagnoses the problem with politics today as the left’s failure to defend government and allow the right’s criticism of government to go unchallenged. This failure to act explains why the liberals fail to advance their policies and continue to lose ground to conservatives in every election cycle, even when they win. Tomasky explains:
Every election season, liberals sit around and say to one another: Why are things the way they are? Why is the progressive candidate bragging about cutting taxes and reducing the size of the federal budget, as Obama will inevitably do? There are many answers to these questions, but the main one is this: Neither Obama nor any politician can stand before the American people and make a case for investing and spending as long as most Americans think the mechanism of that investing and spending is incompetent or evil or both.
You can read the essay at the Utne Reader.