The Momentum of History
posted at 12:04 am on October 27, 2009 by Doctor Zero
The hotly-contested 2009 races, especially the three-way congressional special election in New York, are the distant thunder of the storm approaching in 2010. The 2010 elections are not merely about gaining temporary political advantage for the Republican Party. The task ahead for American voters is nothing less than reversing the momentum of history. This will not be an easy task… and it will not be simple.
There is no question that the momentum of history has swung to the left, ever since the days of Wilson and Roosevelt. The New Deal promise of modest taxation, to pay crucial benefits to the most desperate among the poor, became first a lie, then a joke. No one on the Left even bothers pretending their agenda consists of selfless dedication to the poor any longer. It’s all about desperate grabs for gigantic amounts of power over an increasingly impoverished and dominated middle class.
The madness of launching new trillion-dollar programs on top of a madly inflating deficit has become accepted as reasonable discourse. When Nancy Pelosi made her infamous comment that the constitutionality of individual health insurance mandates was not a “serious” question, she was committing a horrible offense against her office, but also providing an accurate description of the current atmosphere in Washington. We’re twenty years past the point where such an outrageous statement could even shift the tracks beneath the Crazy Train of her political career.
Many factors combined to bring us to this moment. One of the most important is the blend of pragmatism and romanticism which characterizes the moderate American voter. They are easily excited by heady talk of “change” and “new ideas,” but they don’t want to be swept up into ideological crusades, or suffer any of that “change” within their own lives. They don’t want to take risks with their jobs, or the financial future of their families, but they want to be told they’re part of a bold new initiative that’s changing the world.
The allure of New Deal liberalism does not lie in collective economics – most voters are not eager to view themselves as living off the government dole. The allure lies within collective morality. People love the idea of buying a slice of high-flying, big-spending government virtue for the low, low price of one little vote. After they cast that vote, they can go home and relax in front of the TV, while the latest out-of-control progressive spending program is quietly extracted from their paycheck… and their employers’ bank account. For many voters, the punitive class warfare of liberal politics is one of its benefits, not part of its cost.
The leftward drift of American politics has continued through decades of prosperity, and the occasional sour little puddle of Carter malaise, because it has been possible for the Left to play its game without causing sudden or radical damage to the middle class it hates. The quality of American life continued to improve, even as a few more freedoms were clipped away, or another gigantic spending program was broken into millions of pieces, and piled carefully on our shoulders. It’s no wonder that Barack Obama was able to sell people on “hope and change,” even though he’s never had an original thought in his life, and his domestic agenda is shrouded in dusty liberal cobwebs. His constituency loves to buy the same scratchy old record, year after year, as long as it comes with a flashy new album cover.
A truly transformational moment is upon us. The old game is over. The mad spending spree of 2009 has left America mortgaged to the hilt. The money is all gone. There are no more ways to pinch a few billion more out of the upper class, without destroying the middle class lifestyle. The Right has always been correct in its belief that tax-and-spend liberalism would not work. Every available dollar has been taxed and spent, and not one single problem the Left demanded the sacrifice of our wealth and freedom to address has been resolved. Not one of their programs has worked, and none of their cost estimates have been accurate, to within an order of magnitude. Tax-and-spend is over. The new coin of the realm will be control. A swarm of czars is already hard at work, minting these coins… and behind them, the momentum of history pushes a pendulum that has become a wrecking ball.
How do we reverse that terrible motion? We certainly won’t do it by slipping Dede Scozzafava into a district that was Doug Hoffman’s to win. We don’t have time for twenty-year “big-tent” strategies that promise a 60% chance of reversing 70% of the damage Barack Obama has done in nine months. We also cannot afford to let any more socialists walk away with elections, just to teach the clueless GOP, and errant American voters, another painful lesson. We don’t have enough blood left to endure those kinds of lessons.
I don’t think the answer lies in confronting Republican candidates with non-negotiable lists of positions they must vow to uphold. The problem with this approach is that it focuses too much energy on compelling politicians, instead of persuading voters. There are places where the GOP falls down so badly that a third-party candidate makes sense, but we should also keep in mind that the Republican Party has money and influence that can be very useful to the conservative cause, and we won’t get it by scowling at them and making throat-slitting gestures. The promising young conservative politicians of the moment combine a wonderful degree of confidence and determination with an affable, welcoming style. Doug Hoffman doesn’t seem interested in burning the Republican house to the ground, despite the party’s many offenses against him. The energetic captain of the Millennium Palin doesn’t waste a lot of time talking about who she’d like to shove out the airlock.
If the Right can get the voters on board, most of the squishier politicians will begin sliding to starboard. The voters can be reached. A review of recent polls, the soaring ratings of Fox News, and the popularity of outspoken critics of the Left, such as Glenn Beck, tells us that people know something is terribly wrong. They don’t see the Democrats’ diagnoses as accurate, or their solutions as effective. They’re waiting to hear a coherent explanation from the political leadership of the opposition. It’s not enough to give Americans someone to applaud… they need someone to vote for.
How do you reverse the momentum of history? You can’t do it by eking out a narrow win in a few congressional races, or even the presidency. You need the help of the American people, who have the power to correct much that is wrong with their country, very quickly… if they choose to use it. They should understand that inertia will guarantee the destruction of their lifestyle, as the economic doomsday machines cranked into high gear by Barack Obama complete terrible programs written seventy years ago. The days of purchasing easy grace, by supporting an avalanche of clever little spending programs funded by invisible taxes and antiseptic deficit spending, are over. The people who brought our country to this perilous hour must be stripped of the authority to decide what options are unthinkable, and which beliefs are mandatory.
The leader who emerges from the crucible of 2010, and begins the race for 2012, will be someone who relishes a job that is neither easy, nor simple.