I think it’s the Exodus-Joshua narrative—perhaps the most persistent narrative in the American psyche. As a liberal, I think it’s something very potent, and needs to be respected and worked with somehow. Over the past year, conservatives, by being dropped from the Bush-Cheney “Pharoah” position, have found their outsider footing again. What conservatives are now salivating to is a new Exodus-Joshua narrative: President Obama as Pharoah, and Big Government as the yoke of oppression on the land. Nevermind that Big Government was no problem for most conservatives when Bush was in office (he was one of them, afterall). Now Big Government means to rob the conservative and traditionalist working man of his money, his culture, and his dignity. Cue Andy Williams:
Liberals like me ignore this very potent narrative at our electoral peril. In American politics, I think it’s fair to say that you always want to be in the role of Moses or Joshua, never Pharoah. And as liberals, of course, we’ve always known how to be in the Moses-Joshua position. We better find it again. Fast.