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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Relax, The Dems Will Screw Up

It would be very easy to fall into a depression over Arlen Specter switching political parties, giving Democrats a likely filibuster-proof Senate majority. The result will be that Obama will be able to push through much of his agenda without meaningful debate.

Not that I will miss Specter personally. Specter has become a caricature of the self-interested politician who hides his need for fame behind lofty talk of principles. More than anything, I feel sorry for Specter at a personal level, because we are watching someone going through his last hurrah. And the fact that he sold out the principles he spoke about just weeks ago regarding preserving the two-party system, demonstrates how pathetic Specter has become in his quest for a legacy. Unfortunately for Specter, his legacy will not be what he thinks it will be.

It would be easy to be depressed, until you read this snippet from history, as reported by the Politico:
The last time either party had such a wide Senate margin was during the first two years of Jimmy Carter’s term in 1977-1978, when Democrats under then-Majority Leader Robert Byrd held 61 seats.
What history shows us is that a liberal, blame-America-first Democratic President, urged on by a liberal, blame-America-first Democratic Congress, is a prescription for political self-destruction. Leave Democrats to their own devices, and they will screw themselves politically, just when they are at the height of power.

We already see this phenomenon in action:

  • As to national security, Congressional Democrats are pushing for hearings and prosecutions of the authors of memos interpreting the federal anti-torture statute. These hearings will cause enormous damage to the country, reminiscent of the damage caused to intelligence agencies by the Church commission in the 1970s. We don't know when the risks to which we are exposed turn into an attack, but it will happen because, as the 9/11 commission noted, al-Qaeda is at war with us, regardless of whether we are at war with it.
  • As to foreign affairs, China, Venezuela and Iran will rise in power and influence as Democrats fulfill their dream of returning the United States to its isolationist roots. The result will be that hundreds of millions of people who yearn to live in free societies will have to defer that hope for another generation or two.
  • As to the national debt, in a year or two the nation will wake up to the fact that Democrats have mortgaged our future to the hilt, beyond what anyone could have comprehended a year ago. When the younger generations, currently smitten with the cool President, realize that they will pay this bill, there will be a backlash. And when they see mortgage rates and inflation put the good life out of their reach, the younger generation will embrace Reaganism as the cure for the Democratic disease.
  • As to human rights, in the quest for revenge against the Bush administration under the guise of obtaining justice for three high-level al-Qaeda operatives who were waterboarded, we will ensure that al-Qaeda lives on to spread true torture throughout the world. The human rights and Democratic interest groups who are silent when al-Qaeda uses teenagers or pregnant women to blow up other teenagers and pregnant women are relegating tens of thousands of people to al-Qaeda terror, without so much as a second thought. For that, we will not earn the friendship the Democrats desire, but an ignoble page in history, along with Neville Chamberlain.
  • As to government control of private industry, government control will see the final death of the American automobile industry. Those who fret that the federal government is converting its loans to voting equity on a preferential basis are missing the big picture. Government running the auto industry will be the end of the auto industry.
  • As to health care, Americans will realize that nationalized health care will be no more successful than in Canada or Britain. Americans who are upset by waiting a couple of hours in a doctor's office will go berserk over waiting weeks or months for surgical procedures. And that fury will be more pronounced than in Canada or Britain, because we will have no traditional American health care system to fall back on.
  • As to freedom of speech, the continued and obsessive use of the race card by Democrats and Hollywood elites will cause a simmering resentment which will boil over into retribution in the voting booth. The use of false accusations of racism as a political weapon to silence debate is the least understood, and by far the most corrosive, result of the 2008 election cycle.
So I'm not depressed about the long-term future of the country, although the next few years will be tough politically. The Democrats will screw up big time, as they did during the Carter years, and the damage they cause will be generational. But the clean-up is worth looking forward to, even if the mess is not.

UPDATE: The Politico reports on the details of Specter's poll-driven decision. It is not pretty, and leaves Specter with a legacy of being one of the most straight-faced liars politics has ever seen -- and that is saying a lot. While Specter preached about principles and how the Republican party had left him, in fact Specter consulted pollsters to the last minute in a calculated effort to determine whether he could win re-election as a Democrat.

Even Specter's position on card-check (the legislation to deprive employees of a secret ballot) was driven by his hope of re-nomination by the Republican Party. Only when that effort failed did Specter decide:
Specter came to McConnell’s office in the Capitol on Monday afternoon and told him he was considering becoming a Democrat and that he had a very good reason to make the move: His internal polls made it clear he was unlikely to win a GOP primary next year. Further, Specter told McConnell on Monday, and again when he shared his decision with the leader in private Tuesday, there were not enough moderate voters in Pennsylvania to survive as an independent.

So, to win, he had to jump....

Specter thought coming out against the Employee Free Choice Act — organized labor’s signature legislation — may appease his home-state Republicans. He dealt what was thought at the time to be a deathblow to the measure on March 24. But after going home for spring recess earlier this month, he found out that it had won him little goodwill with Republicans and only aggravated relations with some of the union-friendly Democrats whose support he had been counting on to win in November.
A legacy of going back on your word and lying to the public; nice work.

UPDATE No. 2: I'll respond to the many comments in this update, in random order:
  • I don't see a necessity of a "permanent majority." I think Democrats will try to obtain such a majority through illegal immigrant amnesty and give aways, but that will be concentrated in states the Democrats already win easily. It doesn't matter if the Democrats win California by a million votes or several million votes.
  • I do have a concern about Democrats engaging in chicanery to win elections, but that already happens. ACORN and others are about as pervasive as can be achieved, and again, mostly effective in states Democrats win anyway, with the exception of Ohio. So Republicans should focus their efforts on preventing fraud in several key states, and not worry about Democratic voter fraud in states like California.
  • Tax revenues will fall short, way short, and Obama will have to increase income taxes on people way below the 250k threshold. This will result naturally from the declining economy and from people deciding to take the weekend off rather than earn extra income to be taxed at high marginal rates (and other associated taxes, such as FICA, and loss of deductions). The electoral effect of raising taxes on the "middle class" will be the same as G.H.W. Bush's "read my lips."
  • Yes, Republicans screwed up themselves. G.W. Bush was great on national security and taxes, but horrible on spending. And he was non-existent in defending his policies almost his entire second term, allowing MoveOn and Media Matters to define him.
  • I'm not worried about academia. Can it get ANY worse than it now is? To the contrary, I believe that conservative academics are the next big wave (no, really, I mean it).
  • The mainstream media is so corrupt that it presents a huge challenge, but the internet and alternatives are gaining ground. The major networks could get away with rigging their coverage because of Obama's "historic" candidacy, but that excuse is over.
  • It will be hard to unring many of the bells, but not impossible. What choice is there, really, but to try?
Related Posts:
Nutroots Lied About Pandemic Preparations
Democrats Set To Devour Obama
Your Energy Future Is In Good Hands
Welcome To The Real World, Professor Obama
►The Revolt of the Kulaks Has Begun

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  1. I wouldn't be so complacent. FDRs bad economic policies made the Great Depression drag on for an additional seven years minimum and then he got us into WWII, and developed the A-bomb.. Then another democrat, Truman, dropped the A-Bomb. Yet another got us into Vietnam. Yet coming out of that period Democrats were extremely popular, and even got the reputation for being peace-niks and anti-nuclear.

    Democrats are taking Alan Greenspan’s screw ups as an opportunity to further destroy the economy and will blame it all on the Republicans, and it will stick. Why not? The Republicans are half to blame.

  2. Thanks for the pep talk, William. I am only concerned it will take a long time for this apathetic nation to wake up and by that time I hope the damage won't be irreparable.

  3. How could you not be worried, if you expect these things will happen? If our nationalization of the auto industry goes about as well as that of England 40 years ago, our industrial base is screwed. If Obama is Neville Chamberlain to Al Qaeda, we're all screwed.

  4. The NY photo-op was a good example of hypocritical arrogance: spend hundreds of thousands on a photo, release tons of CO2, scare the hell out of many, and insist that it be kept a secret. Obama is furious, but are we to think that the buck stops with the WH Defense guy? Harry Truman, we miss you!

  5. I think that the Instapundit is right: The Dems are GOING to screw up. But you Republicans and we libertarians shouldn't count on it.


  6. There's only truth to this if you assume that the Republican party won't make it's own mind-boggling mistakes. Remember that the primary reason that the Democrats are in power in the first place is basically due to the ineptness and cloistered GOP political hacks.

  7. This is an excellent blog, Mr Jacobson- I've been enjoying it greatly.

    Time is now on the GOP's side... and Obama knows it. When all this pork-n-welfare fails to produce real economic gains -but stokes inflation and crashes the dollar- the Democrats will be decimated in 2010.

    One could make the argument that he's rolling out all his radical plans as soon as possible, before the day comes when people wince at the mention of his name... sure seems like it.


  8. I went to great effort (as an American citizen) to move my family from Canada to the US last year, largely to escape the statist ideology that imprisons taxpayers in abominations such as Canada's health care system and a second-rate economy. America was the last great place.

    No longer. Canada followed me in the form of Obama and I don't see an end of it for at least eight more years. How depressing.

  9. I believe Instapundit's observation ("I wouldn't count on that though") about this view of the eventual collapse of Dem power is mistaken. I believe we can count on this. I base this in the observation that at the height of Republican power just a couple election cycles ago there was an endless stream of speculation from Right leaning Blogs predicting the permanent relegation of Left/Dem power to the wilderness. That ended. This will too - most likely for the reasons outlined above.

  10. While I don't disagree with a thing you say, and my first reaction yesterday on hearing of Specter's defection was along the same lines, I worry that a combination of a slavish and really rather stupid media, and the Democrat's genius for deflecting attention, making excuses and muddying the water, will result in the American people's being very slow to make the connection between the Democrat's being in power, and the decline of virtually everything.

    I fervently hope I am wrong.

    Jamie Irons

  11. "So I'm not depressed about the long-term future of the country, although the next few years will be tough politically."

    Add: will be tough politically, financially, culturally, scholastically, Constitutionally, legally (judiciary), environmentally, and plain old mentally.

  12. I value your opinions greatly so I hope you are right and that the One-Der Years will soon be followed by better ones.

  13. Unlike you, I am depressed, because unlike in those past situations you cited, the left has learned many new ways to consolidate power, much of it based on Alinsky's Rules for Radicals.

    The have a lock on 95% of the media, and 98% of Hollywood. With the lone exception of Fox, everytime you turn on the TV or go to a movie, you will see how the real reason everything is so bad is because of the evil Republicans. When Obama's decisions go horribly wrong, it will all be blamed on BusHitler, and everything else the left does will be distorted to look positive, regardless of reality.

    They've got the Secretary of State positions in all the swing states, where the rules are made up to favor their candidates in close elections. ACORN is set to receive a billion dollars in "bailout" funds to continue their documented get-out-the-illegal-vote fraud. Plans are already underway to twist the 2010 census to the left, and attacks on two of the best ways to disseminate information that the right has, talk radio and the internet, are underway. Obama has even attacked Fox, which may be a precursor to more of the same.

    If all that isn't bad enough, the teaching professions from K through post-graduate continue to churn out reliable leftists, which is probably the biggest reason that the younger crowd is solidly Democratic. And wait until the new mandatory "volunteer" brownshirt army gets up and running.

    The only thing Orwell got wrong was the year.

    It's enough to make a life-long atheist say "God help us all now."

  14. Yes but with today's press corp will anyone know?

  15. The question is how long will it take to get out from the crushing debt? And how long will it take to rebuild the health care industry after it has been torn down? And maybe most important of all, is the question about whether we will still have the political freedom to make the changes we want. The one things the Dems have learned since Jimmy Carter is that they cannot win elections through honest debate and a clash of ideas. They have systematically begun trying to thwart the democratic process and to insulate themselves from election results. With all the levers of power, it is feasible that they tilt the playing field so drastically that a simple change in political sentiments might not get the job done anymore. I agree with most of what you have said, I'm just not certain what options will be available to fix the problems, and how how many generations it will take to dig our way out of this mess. Some bells cannot be unrung

  16. Man, I hope you are right.

    Every day, I feel like crying when I think about the damage being done to our country right now. I wonder every day what America will look like when my children are adults.

    It scares me. What scares me even more is the fact that there are quite a few Americans who don't get it or don't care.

  17. What saved the Republicans back in the Carter years was a Ronald Reagan waiting in the wings. Where is our Reagan today? Where is the conservative leader who the party can rally behind? This is the biggest thing I've seen about the Tea Party movement; there is a real desire for a leader with the values upset middle-class voters want, and they're not finding him or her.

    The GOP lost power because Congressional Republicans abandoned conservative principles, including fiscal responsibility, in their attempt to expand their power base. If they'd governed following the principles they campaigned under, the GOP would not be nearly as marginalized. Some of the blame has to fall on Bush, though... not for his policies per se but for not fighting back against false and unfair Democrat charges, e.g., lying about Iraq, screwing up during Katrina. If your opponents paint you as an incompetent liar and you fail to respond, the public starts to believe you're an incompetent liar.

  18. I part understand the concept that 'returning to isolationist roots' by retreating and allowing societies like China to gain power and influence, limits the chances of freedom among the billions who don't know it in the world...but, isn't it a bad argument to say that American "influence," or control more likely, abroad, feeds freedom?

    The government condemns the movements of freedom anywhere in the world, when is the last time we have supported a movement of a people to overthrow their oppressive regime? The Bay of Pigs? Vietnam? I don't think so. Iraq and Afghanistan are not legitimate examples, either. After 7 years, who is the oppressor there? Who is hampering the freedom of the people to choose how to govern themselves?

    Otherwise, I think you have the domestic Stalinization down packed.

  19. Worse than that, there are quite a few Americans who cheer it.


  20. "Democrats fulfill their dream of returning the United States to its isolationist roots"

    Unfortunately, the Democrats do not want that, what they want is "Socialismo o Muerte". Given their way, they would get both.

  21. To save the country it must first be destroyed. Democrats will surely accomplish this. I wish I could be so sanguine as to believe, without a doubt, that we will return to a country of conservative values. However, given the rapidly changing voter demographics we're seeing, it is anything but clear what will emerge out of the ashes. Still, a clean start free of the toxic bleeding-heart programs that have brought us to this point will be preferred to the death-by-a-thousand-cuts we are currently experiencing.

  22. If the GOP doesn't learn from its mistakes it won't matter how fed up Americans will be with the Democrats. Tedisco should have won. He started 20 pts ahead. Coleman should have won. In Coleman's case the Dems outmaneuvered the GOP on making sure the ballot counts went their way. McCain had a good chance to win but his message wasn't clear, his aids mishandled Sarah Palin's rollout, he made that stupid trip to DC, voted for the bailout, wouldn't attack Obama .... in spite of all that and the media bias, "throw the bums out" feeling in the country, the slick Obama machine, charisma, & huge spending lead, ACORN & its ilk, and the demonization of Palin... McCain got 48%. That's a lot of people who in spite of everything disliked Obama so much they voted GOP anyway.

    2010 should fall into the GOP's lap IF they don't screw it up. Right now I see no sign they won't screw it up.

    At this point I blame McCain and the GOP for the shape this country is in now. Historians will look back and see our incompetence as the pivotal element in cementing the permanent Dem majority.

  23. I've responded to your various comments as an update to the post.

  24. The breakdown of Liberal/Conservative voting records by Senators puts the lie to Spector's position that the Republican Party has lately left him for the Far Right. Voting scorecards (I used National Journal but they all show the same thing) show a completely polarized pattern of ideology and voting. At the mid point of Liberal/Conservative ALL Democrats are more Liberal and ALL Republicans are more Conservative. While Spector is at the midpoint and can legitimately claim to be Moderate, he is at the extreme Liberal end of the Republican scale - just as he is at the extreme Conservative end of the Liberal scale. It isn't that the Republicans overnight have gone Far Right. ALL Republicans trend far more Conservative than him and have for some time. His move to the Democrats makes no sense for the reasons he gave as by his logic he doesn't fit there either since they are far to the Left of him. He is simply a career politician who has sold out Conservatives for his own benefit and he’ll do the same to Democrats when it suits him.

  25. Not so simple. Without a good proportion of the Hispanic Votes Republicans can´t win(Put New York, Illinois, the States of New England and the states where Hispanics are more than 30% of the population and you have more than 270 votes). There is also the problem of the industrial Mideast, that requires an economic discourse not aligned with most Republicans preach.

    There are others problems, like the poor shape of the State Republican Parties even in states like Montana and Kansas.