Skip to comments.Losing It All? The Democrats bet on Obama, and Obama bet the Democrats
Posted on 11/06/2012 12:49:58 PM PST by neverdem
We don’t know yet whether he will lose this election for the Democrats, but the Democrats have already lost much in their bet on Barack Obama, and will be paying for it for several years. So far, he has lost them their best chance in a generation to build a center-left coalition, lost them their chance to make government popular, and cost them also their most cherished illusions, which may be the worst blow of all. It is all very far from the 40-year liberal reign forecast by his more fervent admirers barely four years ago, and in this lies an unhappy tale.
He started his term by misreading his mandate — his first and his most crucial flaw. Hope, change, and styrofoam columns notwithstanding, Obama was actually a few points behind the McCain-Palin ticket on September 15, 2008, when the housing market collapsed, the stock market collapsed, and the fiscal system hung on the brink of implosion, tipping the presidency, with no effort on his part, into his lap. It was the move of independents and soft McCain voters to his camp that gave him his landslide, and also his danger and chance. His chance was to craft policies that would bind the independents to his base in a larger center-left coalition; his danger was that their worldview was different from his — independents were unlikely to go for much government spending — and that he and they might quickly be driven apart.
Thinking the crisis too good to waste, and believing that hard times move people toward government, he went for a far-left big-spending agenda, and drive himself and independents apart he soon did. The Tea Party, which held its first rallies early in March 2009, was the first sign of trouble. His stratospheric poll numbers soon began to fall, owing to the stimulus ($800 billion), the controversial buyout of General Motors, and especially the debut of his health-care proposal in April. The summer was marked by contentious town-hall meetings; the off-year elections, by vast swings in states that Obama had carried and that now elected Republican governors in a conscious rebuke to the president, followed by a still greater shock when Ted Kennedy’s seat in blue Massachusetts went to Scott Brown. It took less than a year for Obama to shatter his own coalition and drive his ex-voters into the arms of a resurgent Republican party, which deserves a few notes of its own.
In late 2008 it was on its back, bleeding, barely breathing, and wholly unable to pick itself up off the floor. Terrified by Obama’s advance into red states and his appeal to red voters, Republicans feared that he would preempt the center, pick up the few moderates not yet on board, and reduce the conservative base to a minor rump faction, a fringe of a fringe. Social conservatives, libertarians, and neoconservatives were at one another’s throats, screaming, facing years of painful rebuilding, uncertain of how and where to gain traction, uncertain that traction could ever be gained. How could they have dreamed that within nine months or so they would be a revived and reenergized party, with a new set of unifying issues and principles, and their differences (at least for the moment) things of the past? How could they have dreamed that Obama would present them with the gift of the Tea Party, a populist surge that would take over while they lay comatose, give them transfusions — of issues, of candidates — and apply paddles and shocks to their hearts? How could they have dreamed that Obama’s stimulus, spending, and health-care proposals would be so egregious that they would not only unite all the disparate factions of the party but drive millions of independents, including disillusioned former Obama supporters, into its welcoming arms?
And how could conservatives have dreamed that Obama himself would take an axe to one wing of his party, on the issue of health-care reform? Moderate Democrats in the Senate and House breathed a sigh of relief in January 2010 when Scott Brown won his election as the “41st vote against Obamacare.” Now they could consign that troublesome bill to the ash bin of history and get on with their lives. Imagine their grief when Obama dusted it off and tried to ram it back through the House on an arcane procedural rule, forcing them to choose between their chief and their enraged constituents. Since 2005, Democrats had labored to expand and build up the base and the scope of their party, recruiting candidates who were a good match for their right-leaning districts, and this had paid off in two wave elections, giving them both national scope and a deep bench for future national races.
By November 2010, this work of five years was lost, as they were forced into suicide votes to save the health-care legislation. Even the brave souls who voted against it were pushed out by popular rage. All the gains of the 2006 and 2008 elections were swept away in the 2010 midterms, which brought in a new wave of tea-party figures, some of them black, brown, Hispanic, or female, and on the south side of 50 — charismatic, conservative, and likely to be here for decades. As a result, the Republicans now have a deep field of potential leaders while the Democrats’ bench has been largely depleted. At the moment, their main contenders for the 2016 presidential election are Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton, who will be 70 or older by then — just the thing to inspire the young.
After the shock of Reagan’s election, progressives consoled themselves with the belief that he was an aberration: The country would eventually be restored to its LBJ settings, and history would tilt leftward once more. When this didn’t occur, there was always a reason: Their candidate was a dud; he sold out (like Bill Clinton); the time wasn’t optimal; Republicans “played on people’s fears.” This time, however, the stars were aligned: a financial collapse that could be blamed (in part) on the banks and on Wall Street; a genuine mandate; overwhelming majorities in both houses of Congress; a magical leader, “the messiah,” whose every word was pure gold.
And it still didn’t happen. A mere four months or so after the “historic” passage of the Affordable Care Act, polls showed that voters opposed both it and the stimulus package, and liberal bloggers were singing the blues. Polls showed Americans now wanted tax cuts instead of more government programs. If Obama can’t win, then whom can they win with?
Peter Beinart expressed it differently, citing the careers of Bill and Hillary Clinton, who saw Reagan emerge as a national hero while McGovern, Carter, and Mondale were crushed. “For this generation of Democrats,” Beinart explained, “being a liberal is like walking past a bear.” The bear was the conservatism of the American people, which could be attenuated but not destroyed. The Clintons startled the bear, were mauled, and learned to survive by exercising caution. Then came a generation, Obama among them, who knew not the bear. Obama poked it in the eye (2009) and it bit him. He poked it some more (2010) and it left him crippled. The bear exists. Obama has proved it. And whatever happens on November 6, it isn’t going away.
– Noemie Emery is a contributing editor of The Weekly Standard and writes a weekly column for the Washington Examiner.
I think if we do not win this election (early) tonight, we have to abandon the narrative that America is a right-of-center country. Already it's clear that most of our debate is framed in leftist terms, and we are not pusing back hard enough of the fundamental issues.
I'd love to believe what this writer believes, but when you have Ohio of all places (possibly) on a knife's edge because the government gave $80 bn+ to a private firm, screwed all the bondholders, shareholders, and non-union employees, bypassed most of the brankruptcy laws to do so, and when that same company ships all of its new production to Mexico and China as a payback, I can't help but think we are completely screwed.
If we win today, enjoy it for a week. But then we need to get back to work making America understand why the fundamental principles matter and how badly they've been subverted over the last 80 years.
If we lose, think seriously about getting out of the country, or at least having your children and grandchildren do so, before the whole thing goes down in flames.
Today, we have an opportunity to rediscover the enduring ideas and principles upon which that experiment was founded, and if we have the courage and commitment, we may be able to pass to future generations the precious gift of individual liberty.
The Miracle of America
axes and hoes to high technology;
log cabins to air-conditioned condos;
horsedrawn wagons to autos, planes, and rockets;
scarcity to abundance; &
from tyrannical government rule to individual liberty
HOW DID IT ALL BEGIN?
Most of our history books dont tell us that, in the beginning, the pilgrims established a communal economic system. Each was to produce according to his ability and contribute his production to a common storehouse from which each was to draw according to his need.
The assurance that they would be fed from the common store, regardless of their contribution to it, had a peculiarly disabling effect on the colonists. Taking property away from some and giving it to others bred discontent and retarded employment. Human nature was the same then as now, and before long, there were more consumers than there were producers, and the pilgrims were near starvation. Governor Bradford, his advisors, and the colonists agreed that in order to increase their crops, each family would be allowed to do as it pleased with whatever it produced. In other words, a free market system was established. In Governor Bradfords own words:
This had very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corne was planted than other waise would have bene by any means ye Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deall of trouble, and gave farr better contente. The women now wente willingly into ye field, and tooke their little-ons with them to set corne, which before would aledg weaknes, and inabilitie; whom to have compelled would have bene though great tiranie and oppression. . . . By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine, now God gave them plenty, and the face of things was changed. . . . and some of ye abler sort and more industrious had to spare, and sell to others, so as any generall wante or famine hath not been amongst them since this day . . . . (Wm. Bradford, Of Plimoth Plantation, original manuscript, Wright & Potter, Boston, 1901)
Those who, today, favor central government planning, common ownership and redistribution of the earnings of others are advocating a system that Americans tried and rejected over 350 years ago. Their wisdom gave birth to the great American miracle!
Are we as wise today?
You Can Do Something About This!
(This message originally published in the mid-1980s by Stedman Corporations Government Affairs & Free Enterprise Education Program a former NC textile firm. For more essays in this series, visit www.ouragelessconstitution.com )
I agree, winning today means nothing if we still have a government 4 years from now sticking our grand children with criminal levels of debt.
I'd love to believe what this writer believes, but when you have Ohio of all places (possibly) on a knife's edge
Don't let your pessimistic nature rob you of a celebration tonight. Put the chamnpagne on ice and prepare for an exciting evening.
Ohio -- and the nation -- will be Romney's. And by a substantial margin.
More like they “crapped out”...
Actually I’m neither a pessimist nor an optimist. I’m a realist by nature. And although Romney walked his remarks back, the truth is there is just slightly less than half of the country who are not only freeloaders, but indeed militantly believe they’re entitled to steal from other people as long as the government fences the booty.
If you’re thinking about moving note that there’s no place to go. We need to stand and fight fight for our country right here. Where will you go that allows guns? Where will you go that’s stable? Personally, I’m going back to Texas if Obummer wins because I think that’s the best place to make a stand.
Where will they go that allows guns?
Where will they go thats stable?
Where will they go with more ECONOMIC freedom?
Where will they go with less crime?
Just about anywhere.
Where will they go where there are no Jim Crow laws?
Somewhere outside the US.