In response to the first half of the question, and bowing to the contemporary wisdom that anything can be reduced to the length of a tweet, I offer up this definition: American liberalism is belief system that combines egalitarian impulses with a conviction that markets often fail and that the government should seek to address these failures. (Actually, that’s about one and a half tweets, but never mind.)
Now to how liberalism is faring. If you’ve been reading some of the articles out of Washington in recent weeks, you may have received the impression that it’s an endangered creed, and that the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act might just about finish it off. I’m not just referring to the coverage in conservative outlets like the National Review, theWeekly Standard, and the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal, which have been publishing obituaries of liberalism for decades. In mainstream and even liberal publications, some of the best columnists in Washington have expressed worries that the problems afflicting healthcare.gov amount to such a political disaster that they endanger the very idea of activist government, which lies at heart of progressivism.


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