Obama Deep Sixes the Democrats


It took George Bush six years to dismantle his own party.  Barack Obama accomplished the same feat in two.  Bush ran the GOP into the ground by governing as a liberal.  Obama performed his neat trick by administering as a leftist.  The difference between Bush and Obama is not one of quality but of degree.  Obama is Bush with his foot on the accelerator.  But there is a continuum between the two.  We can think of it as Bush-Obamaism.  There is a lesson here, especially for the new GOP controlled Congress.

Under Bush, we saw any number of standard items on the liberal wish list pursued with the ardor of any orthodox modern liberal.  That this particular liberal champion had a drawl, enjoyed clearing brush on his Texas ranch, and had a capital 'R' at the end of his name does not change that essential reality. 

Bush wrapped the Federal government's tentacles around education with "No Child Left Behind."  He added a major new unfunded Federal entitlement, the Medicare prescription plan; he signed the "McCain-Feingold" campaign finance reform bill (anathema to conservatives and reversed by the recent Citizens United case); he signed Sarbanes-Oxley with massive new financial regulations in the wake of the Enron scandal; after botching Katrina, he added the rebuilding of whole cities to the federal repertoire; he attempted to ram "amnesty" down the throat of the country, providing a path for citizenship for more than 12 million illegal aliens; he spoke of reforming an insolvent Social Security program but dropped it like a rock at the first sight of resistance; he supported affirmative action; he dramatically increased federal discretionary spending and doubled the nation's debt, leaving $10 trillion for future generations; when the mortgage crisis hit, he was the Democrat's lead man for every Keynesian bailout and stimulus package he could find; he tried "stimulus," with a $168 billion rebate that did nothing; he protected Fannie and Freddie instead of privatizing them (updated cost to taxpayers: $148 billion and still counting).  He launched the TARP program at a price tag of $750 billion.  Along the way, he found time to bailout Bear Stearns, AIG, Citigroup, IndyMac, GMAC, Bank of America, GM and Chrysler. 

Obama and the Democrats simply picked up where Bush left off.  The fiscal hemorrhaging has by now attained mythic status: the big three, of course, are "Stimulus" ($800 billion), cap and trade (did not pass the Senate, but will be implemented by EPA mandate), and Obamacare ($2 trillion and probably much more), a massive new program even as our other three major entitlements teeter on insolvency. 

But there has been much more: the costly and intrusive financial regulatory overhaul ("Dodd-Frank"); the extension of unemployment benefits to 99 weeks; "cash for clunkers"; "cash for caulkers"; "cash for lawnmowers"; "green" subsidies; large structural increases in domestic spending that all but assure massive new tax increases; billions more for Fanny and Freddy; government takeovers of student loans, the automakers, and the mortgage industry: cash for first time home buyers; loan modification programs; FHA loans for risky borrowers (F&F redux).  Trillion dollar plus annual deficits, and no end in sight. 

Obama and the Democrats (no different than his predecessor) threw the whole Keynesian playbook at the recession with little to show for it other than a tidy $3 trillion of new debt: the Bush-Obama continuum.

For its trouble, the Democrats and Obama were treated to a massive "shellacking," as the President put it, not unlike the "thumping" (Bush's word) the Republicans received in 2006; sixty plus congressional seats switched hands and a powerful, new Republican majority has emerged, representing the largest GOP House turnover since 1938, greater than the Republican "tsunami" of 1994, when the party added 54 House seats. 

Republicans have officially won 239 seats  (up from 178) with 218 seats needed for a majority.  Democrats fell from 257 to 185 with several races still contended.  Republicans added six Senate seats, although still falling short of a majority.

The GOP also picked up ten gubernatorial seats and twelve state houses giving them powerful majorities at the state level in this crucial year of redistricting, which will only make Democrat chances even dicier for years to come.  At least 29 governors will be Republican with another two possible wins.  Democrats will have at most 20 and possibly as few as 18 compared with what had been a 26-24 Democratic edge.

The GOP gained 680 state legislative seats, a historical turnover.  In the 1994 GOP "tsunami," Republicans picked up 472 state seats.  In the 1974 post Watergate election, the Democrats added 628 seats, the former record. 

The GOP acquired majorities in 14 additional state houses, with "unified" control (both chambers) in 26 state legislatures, the most since 1928. Republicans enjoy the redistricting "trifecta" (both chambers and the governor's seat) in 15 states.  

Obama and fellow Democrats offered any number of reasons for the debacle.  These include: "the economy," poor "advertising," failure of communication, bad messaging, lackluster "packaging," George Bush, Rush Limbaugh, certain shadowy conservative groups ("Americans for Prosperity"), evil corporations, "Super Pacs," undisclosed foreign donors, the GOP (the "party of no"), Citizens United, Congressman John Boehner, and the Chamber of Commerce. 

When all else failed, they blamed the American people who, as they saw it, fell victim to fear, rage, bigotry, ignorance, stupidity, racism, paranoia, and a host of other pathologies and defects. 

Nowhere in the discussion was there heard anything about the unpopularity and unsoundness of the policies themselves.  Or that the independents who elected Obama two years ago, abandoned him in droves.  Or that, in surveying the new "red-blue" map, the Democrat spheres of power and influence have collapsed down to the coasts and a few other metropolitan areas.

As yet another indication of Democrat delusion, Nancy Pelosi, who by now ranks well below George Bush at his nadir in the perceptions of Americans, was reelected to lead Congressional Democrats, only this time as minority leader.

The media too fell in line with the Democratic tropes, none of them bothering with the unpleasant task of self-reflection, to contemplate their role in deifying so deeply flawed a candidate in the previous election; their failure to properly vet the many question marks surrounding Obama or his shallow record of achievement; nor did they examine their own whiny cheer leading of the Obama agenda.

Last cycle, the Democrats ran as the anti-Bush.  This year, they ran as themselves, which is to say ultra liberals.  They exposed themselves, basically, for what they were, and even the partisan media could not save them.

The poor economy was not the reason either.  As Fred Barnes points out, in 1982, with the economy in deep recession, the GOP lost only 26 House seats (post WW II midterm average for the President's party: 24) and no Senate seats.  A prosperous economy also does not guarantee mid cycle electoral success.  In 1994, with a generally strong economy, the Republicans routed Democrats (the "tsunami').

As difficult as it is for liberals to accept, the recent drubbing of Democrats was not about the economy, talk radio, corporate money, or stupid Americans, but of Barack Obama and his agenda. 

It was a rejection particularly of the outrageous spending and deficits of the last 20 months.  But it was a rejection also of virtually the entire Obama program: cap and trade, stimulus packages, bailouts and takeovers, and, of course, Obamacare.  It was a rejection of higher taxes, structural deficits, institutionalized high unemployment (the "new norm"), inflation, and economic decline. 

It was also a more general rejection of the efforts of liberals to move the nation into a centralized, administrative state, where power resides in a small clique of political leaders and bureaucratic elitists who seek to expand government into every niche and corner of our lives: who will preside over the most mundane decisions of life: on the light bulbs we use, the cars we drive, the food we eat, the doctors we see.  It was a rejection of Obama's war against the private sector, against corporations, business, prosperity, and success. 

It was a rejection of our "post-racial" President's efforts to further balkanize the nation along racial, ethnic, gender, and economic lines; a rejection of Obama's attempt to diminish his country and convert us into a second tier power.  A rejection of an individual who seems to scorn our institutions, traditions, and history: a man content to bow and scrape before dictators and monarchs and apologize for his country at every opportunity; a Commander-in-Chief who appears enthralled with our enemies and contemptuous of our allies. 

It was a rejection basically of modern liberalism, as currently comprised.

The election was a rebuke of Obama leftism, just as the 2006 (and 2008) election was a refutation of George Bush liberalism.  Taken together, it was a repudiation of Bush-Obamaism. 

Obama campaigned as a centrist (although it was apparent to many early on that he was not), a post-partisan, post-racial candidate who would unify the country.  Once elected, he embarked on a radical and deeply polarizing legislative agenda, further dividing the country he was supposed to unify and derailing the economy he was supposed to help. 

Americans want prudent, fiscally responsible governance.  Not more programs, deficits, and class-warfare.  If Republicans deliver on this mandate they will move from strength to strength.  If not, their time in the limelight will be shortlived indeed.     






  • Harold Moss

    November 27, 2010

    my email address has changed.....I am an independent but gotta agree with you on this one...the Democrats tend to fall apart under pressure, just like the Yankees did this year, lol

    take care,

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