Nothing In Moderation
posted at 12:59 am on June 22, 2010 by Doctor Zero
British papers have an odd habit of hooking up with utterly clueless American correspondents, to obtain preposterous reports on the rapidly changing American political scene. Back in February, the Guardian passed over the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have actually seen a Tea Party rally to publish the tedious fantasies of Joe Queenan. Now the Telegraph brings us a dispatch from David Frum, submitted by spooky remote-controlled typewriter from a strange alternate universe where Prime Minister David Cameron is a political success story to be studied and emulated.
My crystal ball doesn’t work better than anyone else’s, and we’ve still got a long way to go until the 2010 elections, so I won’t dwell on Frum’s electoral predictions… other than to marvel that he sees the future of the Republican Party in Mark Kirk, currently running neck-to-neck against a bailout profiteer with mob connections and a goon squad that beats up photographers. He goes on to dismiss Sharron Angle’s 11-point lead over the utterly reviled Harry Reid as an “excruciatingly near thing,” and damns the Tea Party for “throwing away” the race. Teams of quantum physicists are working around the clock to parse his logic in suggesting the defeat of notorious RINO footstool Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary was a horrible mistake by conservative Republican Pat Toomey. Of course, polls can change, but right now Frum reads like a talky drunk at a Vegas blackjack table, loudly explaining why it’s always a good idea to hit on nineteen.
More interesting is the round hole of theory Frum is trying to pound the square peg of reality into:
It’s difficult for a political party to think strategically after a political defeat as severe as 2008’s. But the Tea Party elevated the inability to think strategically into a fundamental conservative principle. Its militants denounce those Republicans who have resisted the movement as ideological traitors: “Republicans in name only” or even (charmingly) as “Vichy Republicans”. In fact, the unthinking rejectionism of the Tea Party has strengthened Obama’s political position. Now it threatens to deplete Republican strength in Congress, losing races that could have been won.
David Cameron’s Conservatism responds to local British conditions. It’s not an export product. But there is at least one big lesson that Americans could learn from him when the Tea Party finally ends: yes, a party must champion the values of the voters it already has. But it must also speak to the voters it still needs to win.
Let us remember that “David Cameron’s Conservatism” barely managed to capture sixty percent of a voter rebellion against the Labour Party, producing a government essentially run by the parties his electorate votedagainst. Instead of sounding the trumpets for a charge against the utter failure of Democrat Party socialism, Frum wants the Republicans to toot on a vuvuzela, and rally a confused pack of moderate housecats with the mumbled promise of fifty-fifty odds to win a pointless victory.
Instead of chasing moderates around with a plastic smile and a stack of business cards, Frum should face the unpleasant truth: there are no moderates any more. The Democrat Party nuked them into the Stone Age with ObamaCare, and it’s planning to blow away the ashes with cap-and-trade, massive tax increases, and a hundred other aggressive expansions of the State. What Frum views as sensible moderation is actually passive capitulation to radicalism. He’s talking about building a toll booth from popsicle sticks and waving a carefully printed fee schedule at the approaching eighteen-wheeler of the Obama super-State, which is coming down the left lane at a hundred miles per hour… and it doesn’t have any brakes.
Obama is hopelessly corrupt and incompetent. He’s totally useless in the face of foreign aggression, or a domestic crisis like the Gulf oil spill. His behavior has led state governors to the same conclusion as the passengers on the Underwear Bomber flight: if you want to survive, forget he exists and fend for yourself. His incompetence is partially a result of his single-minded focus on what he views as his true mission: increasing the power of the State, without reason or purpose, discussion or accountability. It will take a spectacular President, following a disciplined Republican Congress, to undo the damage Obama has done… and we need them to do more than that. We need them to address the systemic flaws that would have detonated our unsustainable entitlement state only a few years later, if Obama had never come along.
This is a job for leaders with vision, and the passion to convey it to a frightened and confused electorate, who will need to pull media wet towels off their faces to vote against the Lightworker. It will require a level of motivated support you can’t get by stalking disinterested moderates and flattering them until they pause their iPods and sigh, “Okay, David, what-eveeeerrr, I’ll go to the prom with you, but one dance and then I’m out of there. Now go take a cold shower or something.”
The Tea Party is composed of people who have no desire to reach a reasonable accommodation with comprehensive ruin. They have accepted the difficult responsibility of showing their fellow citizens that the Big Government narrative of the past four generations is a fraud heading into a devastating collapse. They understand that justice and prosperity require the elevation of reason over emotion, which will require an electorate composed of adults. They believe the American people deserve to be addressed as adults. Only the people David Frum keeps sneering at can give such an address.
Cross-posted at www.doczero.org.
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