Tyrrell's Too-Cheerful Thesis

To coin a phrase, R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. has forgotten more about politics than I’ll ever know. His familiarity with great ideas and thinkers, his personal ties to some of the most important conservatives in recent history (Ronald Reagan visited his home!), and his affable writing style — not to mention that he founded the publication I write for — give me pause when considering even a modest contradiction of the man.

Perhaps RET is much more congenitally optimistic than I am about politics, but I cannot share his counseled optimism that a renewal of the “Liberal Death Wish” may cause the left to “go the way of the dinosaurs.”

No doubt, as in all areas of human endeavor, those who feel a strong sense of power or control or popularity tend to overshoot, to overestimate the public’s desire for whatever it is they’re selling. Whether it’s Sony Betamax, New Coke, Polaroid (their too-little-too-late decision to enter the digital camera market), Enron (more about fraud than about poor marketing), or Jimmy Dean’s Chocolate Chip Pancake-wrapped Sausage on a Stick (I’m not kidding), “smart” and otherwise successful people have made decisions which caused their brands something between embarrassment, real harm, or even complete destruction.

The living disaster that is the Obama administration fits squarely into this paradigm, doing great damage to the reputation of the Democratic Party and particularly of its radical subset — perhaps the majority of the party’s elected officials — known as “Progressives.”

But when you think about the biggest mistakes made by some of the biggest corporations, few have actually been fatal — at least on their own — to those companies. Sony and Coke each survived (and thrived) following two of the biggest blunders in marketing history. True collapses caused by a single decision or at least the medium-term implementation of that single decision may be famous but they’re not particularly numerous among already-large organizations — as which the Democratic Party would surely qualify.

Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here:

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