“Hating the government finally goes mainstream”
The Washington Examiner’s Chris Stirewalt:
[…] there’s no doubt that hating the government and the powerful interests that pull Washington’s strings has gone from the radical precincts of the Right and Left to the mainstream.
It turns out that watching Goldman Sachs, the United Auto Workers, public employee unions and a raft of other vampires drain the treasury at America’s weakest moment in a generation will make a person pretty hacked off.
After Barack Obama’s election, Democrats assumed that the American people were battered, bruised and ready for a morphine drip of European-style socialism. Republicans, shocked by their stunning reversals, figured the Democrats were right and started looking for technocrats of their own.
And in a political system fueled by special-interest money, it was hard for the leaders of major parties to imagine anything other than an activist government. After all, if you pay for someone to get elected, you don’t expect him to just sit there.
Just 18 months ago the leaders of both parties were quite sure that Obama would be the popular, transformative president he aspires to be. The Republicans who emerged from the wreckage of November were certain to look a lot more like Charlie Crist and Mitt Romney than Marco Rubio and Ron Paul.
But Crist’s embrace of Obamanomics seems to have utterly destroyed his chances at a Senate seat that was once his for the taking. Romney, considered a near lock for the 2012 Republican nomination, has seen his candidacy badly damaged by a populist revolt against the passage of a national health care plan that looks like the one he designed for Massachusetts.
Obama, who said that passage of his health plan proved that Washington could still do big things, finds himself deeply at odds with an electorate that is not confident of government’s ability to do anything at all.
His election has turned out to be not the result of a national lurch toward government intervention but his own skill at disguising his policies, the failures of the Republican Party and the bursting of the lending bubble.
To take it one step further, it is no surprise to me at all that Obama was elected in large part because of the historical nature of his candidacy, with many Americans viewing his victory as a positive symbol — a repudiation of the entrenched racism they’d been taught to accept was a matter of (always contemporary) fact, with Obama as the figure of that cultural repudiation. Coupled with the long hard slog of war, a growing financial crises, the years of beatings Bush took from the mainstream press, and the remarkably unappealing quality of the candidate Republicans ran against him, Obama’s candidacy was given every opportunity to succeed. But his victory, though very real, has always seemed ethereal: built on “hope” and “change,” it was itself the mark of a growing distrust of government; and progressives seem to have realized this, deciding to go all in while they have the power to do so not because they believe they were given a mandate, but rather because they know they were not — with Obama having acted as their Trojan Horse.
A generous reading of the political opportunism we’re witnessing would be that most progressives seem to believe that what they are doing is both for our own good and some greater good — and that once their agenda has been implemented, the American people will recognize the wisdom of progressivism, even if now they protest. If this is the case, progressives are guilty of but fraud and hubris.
An ungenerous reading? Cloward-Piven. In which case their guilt runs far deeper.
A year ago, the tea parties caught most everyone by surprise.
It was a conservative flash mob and hundreds of thousands of Americans took to the streets.
Republicans scrambled to get to the head of the parade and Democrats claimed that it was all a put-up job by their enemies in the special interest wars. The press tried to treat what had been a spontaneous outburst as if it were a traditional political party and asked all the questions they teach in journalism school: Who’s in charge? Who are they opposed to? Is it racist?
This year, the political parties and the press will not be caught off guard. Republican politicians will address tea party rallies, Democrats will denounce the supposed puppeteers of the movement and the press will look for hate speech.
But few will glean the real meaning of the protests or the booming support for Ron and Rand Paul.
It’s not about the Pauls themselves or the guys with the “Don’t tread on me” flags It’s about the people at home who might not be willing to march in the park or join the next Paul money bomb, but who don’t blame the folks who do.
Libertarian sentiment has finally gone mainstream.
Well, I’d call it classical liberalism, because it seems to me that most Americans are not averse to a small measure of government intrusion as a kind of necessary evil. But that’s really just nitpicking at this point.
A movement that said that people should do whatever they wanted as long as it didn’t hurt anyone else couldn’t compete during the culture wars that began in the 1960s.
But after two wars, a $12 trillion debt, a financial crisis and the most politically tone-deaf president in modern history, Americans may have finally given up on big government.
Me, I’m of the opinion they were trying to signal just that with the election of Obama. They were just simply misled by a left-leaning press who not only didn’t do its due diligence, but in fact actively campaigned for Obama’s presidency.
And historic it will be. Just not for the reasons they’d hoped.