Thursday, April 28, 2011

On Cue

In the wake of its success, senior CBS news anchor Bob Schieffer denounced Donald Trump's campaign forcing President Obama to produce his birth certificate as, are you ready?, racist.  With friends like this in the media, does Obama really need a campaign manager for 2012.

By the way, did you notice how quickly the media went from derisory to indignant once Obama called a press conference and released a copy of the certificate?  If the "birthers" were worth mocking before, why not now?  Apparently, this latest episode really got to them, the media and the Obama White House, that is.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


At long last, President Obama has released his birth certificate for public inspection.  (And, no doubt, the beginning of yet a whole new line of scepticism as well.)

Why now?  Why not three years ago when the controversy first erupted?

Some think it's a ploy, an attempt to make Donald Trump the hero of the "birthers" and thereby saddle the GOP with him as the Party's presumptive favorite.

I don't think they're that smart.  (Notice I didn't say "devious".)

How's this for a simpler explanation?:  There was a poll released just yesterday or the day before in which something like 38% of those asked were at least sympathetic to the "birther" challenge.  I suspect it occurred to the White House, as it occurred to me, that increasing numbers of people were puzzled by Obama's refusal to produce the actual certificate, even if they didn't share the "birther" suspicion that he wasn't actually native born.  That stubborn refusal was beginning to seem as weird as the "birthers'" demands.  With a weak economic recovery (if that), debt as far as the eye can see, anger over Obamacare, confusion over an inconsistent foreign policy, and a host of other non-accomplishments, "weird" was not a word the Obama Campaign needed attached to their candidate as things begin to heat up for the 2012 race.

Wish I'd Written That

In this "ode" to his good friend Christopher Hitchens, novelist Martin Amis describes him as a "rebel" rather than a mere "contrarian", a label one often finds attached to Hitchens.  In the course of making that distinction clear, Amis writes:
Most of us shakily preside over a chaos of vestigial prejudices and pieties, of semi-subliminal inhibitions, taboos and herd instincts, some of them ancient, some of them spryly contemporary (like moral relativism and the ardent xenophilia which, in Europe at least, always excludes Israelis).
I love that sentence and am extremely jealous of the facility with the English language that can produce it.

Anyway, read the entire piece.  That sentence is not the only part well written and it's interesting and insightful to boot.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sign Her Up!

Check out this catch.

I'm humbled, and if you know me, that's saying something.

Stick a Fork in Him

He's done.  Obama, that is.

Or so thinks The American Spectator's Jeffrey Lord. 

Why?  Inflation.

Using the prices of grocery store items as a measure, Lord points out that a gallon of milk, for example, has climbed 28 cents in less than four months.  Why is this indicator different than the intricacies and extravagances of TARP, the stimulus package, buying GM, raising the debt limit, the threat of government shutdowns, etc.?  Because everyone, because everyone can see it, feel it, and understand it, whether they're politically aware or not.

While I'm eager to cheer, I'm afraid I'm not so sanguine.

Unemployment under FDR remained north of 15% for almost the whole of the 1930s and he was not only elected, but reelected, and then reelected again.  (And again as well, but that was during the War.)  If ever there was a chance for the GOP to make political hay, surely that was the decade.  But it didn't happen.

The truism, because it's true, is that you can't beat something with nothing and in politics the choice always depends on the alternative.  While The Sage would vote for almost any Republican alternative, including (pardon me while I cough) Donald Trump, I'm not sure a plurality of my fellow Americans feel the same way.
So, we'll have to wait...and pray.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Reflection

This week, Holy Week, we Christians remember and celebrate the death and resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ.  Even now, after over two-hundred years of sustained secular attack, with a helping hand from liberal theology, in which the story has been either debunked altogether or reduced to mere metaphor, millions still stubbornly cling to and express their core belief that Jesus Chrtist is indeed Lord, that he, literally, "...was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead..."

We do this in spite of our uncountable sins and shaming hypocrisies.  How so?

Among the surest signs of genuine faith is an attendant confession that even that faith, most especially that faith, is itself a gift from God.  As the prophet Jonah cried from the dark, consuming belly of the beast, the beast that had swallowed him whole, "Salvation is of the Lord."

Happy Easter everyone!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Vision Thing

It is comments like these at a fundraiser in San Fancisco that make me question not only the judgment, but also the patriotism, yes, the patriotism, of President Obama and the liberal elite of which he is almost perfectly representative:
"No matter who you are. No matter where you can came from. No matter what you look like. No matter whether your ancestors landed here on Ellis Island or came here on slave ships or came across the Rio Grande, we are all connected. We will rise and fall together. That's the vision of America I've got, that's the idea of the heart of America,...That's the idea at the heart of our campaign."
An America where we cannot make common-sense distinctions about who is and who is not a citizen, is no America at all.  And no America at all is, I'm increasingly convinced, what they are ultimately after.  

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Huh?  Same thing I said when I came across this encouraging essay written by him for The Atlantic where he serves as a senior editor.  It's about the meaning of Malcolm X, both for himself personally as a black man, and for America at large.  Those of you who read more widely than I may have already heard of him as a few years back he penned a memoir of some note titled, The Beautiful Struggle.   

The piece is a little long, but, to my mind, the writing superb and, as a I say, encouraging.  Give it a read if you have a few moments.

Why "encouraging"?  I suspect that Ta-Nehisi Coates' politics and mine couldn't be farther apart.  (Although I can't say for sure.)  But aside from its immediate subject, his essay communicates, to me anyway, something important about the beguiling charm and magnetic power of the idea, the original idea, that is this great country of ours.  If the ruminations of this man are a fair indicator, we can take heart that those qualities have endured.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Even Steven

Over at The American Spectator, W. James Antle, III has a piece arguing that the jig may finally be up on the era of bipartisan hypocrisy with respect to taxes and spending.

Don't worry, he still places the lion's share of the current blame squarely on the Democrats (precisely where it should be placed) and praises the seriousness of the Republican 2012 budget proposal.  But what I liked most was this paragraph:
George W. Bush simultaneously splurged on guns and butter in a feast not seen since Lyndon Johnson was in the White House. He launched two wars, created a new entitlement program, and presided over a vast increase in non-defense discretionary spending, all completely unfunded. While regularly tut-tutting the mess his predecessor has left him, Obama followed up with a spending binge that made Bush look like Calvin Coolidge by comparison.
Now that's the kind of "fair and balanced" editorializing I can live with.

Let's Not Waste a Serious Crisis

Taking their cue from the President himself, the Democrats have decided to attack Rep. Paul Ryan's 2012 Budget Plan, as well as any and all conservative Republican budgeting principles, with the same tired strategy they've employed since FDR was in office.  That is, GOP policies will harm the helpless, the poor, the elderly, the infirm, women and children, minorities, blah, blah, blah....  As this strategy has almost always worked for them before, they see no reason to change it now.

Anyway, as predictable as this all is, we still have to fight back and not allow them to establish the terms of the debate.  It's taken a crisis to do it and, as we have been instructed by no less than the serving Mayor of Chicago, "we shouldn't let a serious crisis go to waste":  For the first time in a long time, I think a solid majority of the American people are prepared to listen to an alternative.

How should we go about this?

1.  I suggested awhile back that we should use the admittedly non-focus-group-tested, but still quite solid word "irresponsible" every time we mention how the Democrats have managed our fiscal policy.  Well, I've decided we need to beef it up a bit by adding the word "childishly" to the front of it.  As in, "Even when the Democrats controlled all the elected branches of the government, they were childishly irresponsible for not passing at all a budget for 2011."

2.  Another word, two words actually, we should discipline ourselves to employ, and dismissively so, are "not serious".  As in, "The budget proposed by the President demonstrates that he is not serious about getting our fiscal house in order."

3.  I mentioned before that the Dems are using the "as we know it" phrase quite a bit in order to frighten people and thereby undermine Republican plans to deal with the so-called entitlement programs of Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.  As in, "The Ryan Plan will destroy Medicare as we know it."  Again, the easiest response is something like, "Medicare as we know it is on the verge of bankruptcy.  We have to do something, and soon, or it won't exist at all."

4.  Another phrase I've noticed them using of late is: "We're not broke."  I suspect they realize they're vulnerable on this point because almost everyone in America now believes that we in fact are broke.  Gee, I wonder how they got such a crazy notion?  Oh, I don't know, how about because we are untold trillions of dollars in debt!  A debt that continues to grow rapidly even as I speak/type!  For heaven's sake. Try this as a comeback:  "If we're not broke then why are we running such huge and growing deficits?  Unless you mean to tell me that if a man has no cash, has no money in the bank, has nothing in fact but a high-interest credit card that is fast approaching its limit, he's not broke?  Get serious, will ya?"  (See #2 above)

5.  "Tax cuts for the rich"  Another golden oldie from the Democrat Party.  How about this retort: "While we want the tax code to treat everyone equally, the Democrats want the tax code to make everyone equal.  Equally poor!  Lower rates benefit everyone because they help fuel economic growth.  Economic growth means more job creation and thereby more tax revenues, and especially so from the rich!  More tax revenues means less debt and less debt means the at least near-term salvation of the currently doomed entitlement programs."

6.  That's enough for now.  Practice them regularly and then use them on your Democrat friends...if you still have any, that is.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Stuck on Stupid

In what was supposed to be a private meeting with campaign donors, President Obama revealed what he really thought about the budget negotiations with Republican congressional leaders last week:
"I said, 'You want to repeal health care? Go at it. We'll have that debate. You're not going to be able to do that by nickel-and-diming me in the budget. You think we're stupid?'"
Whatever you may think about the tone and substance of that kind of language coming from a President of the entire United States, it does show, as if we needed further proof, that for Obama, that for all  Democrats, this is not simply an honest disagreement.  Rather, it is a war, a war they intend to win.

Do we?

Trouble at the Top?

It turns out last Friday's budget deal was a fraud.  Even the editors of National Review felt compelled to take back their initial support for it.  When it was finally voted on, a fourth of the House GOP caucus, either sensing, knowing, or learning that it was a bad deal, voted against it. What does this say about Speaker Boehner, about all the Republican congressional leaders?

Something, but not everything.  As The American Spectator's Quin Hillyer reminds us, Obama and the Democrats are the real enemy, not John Boehner.

The other day my post was titled "Good Cop, Bad Cop".  My intention was to suggest that there might be something useful for Boehner and the rest of the GOP leadership about having the Tea Party Republicans looking over their collective shoulders.  That is, they could use that adamantine presence (we pray) as leverage when bargaining with Obama and the Democrats over spending, over taxes, over everything.  I was wrong.  I was wrong to even try to start thinking tactically like some DC insider.

First, I'm not smart enough to play those kinds of games.  But, second, I am smart enough to know that the days of thinking of our national politics as some kind of game are over.  The stakes are simply too high.

John Boehner strikes me as a good guy, maybe even the right guy.  He's been in Washington long enough to have absorbed its corrupt culture inspite of himself.  But, I think, I hope, he can learn.  That fifty-nine of his fellow Republican House members voted against the deal he struggled to broker was an embarrassing lesson for him.  Let's see if he can remember the key points.        

Restoring Our Liberty

Need reminding about the real source of our liberty?  Check out this essay by Anthony Esolen published in this month's edition of First Things.  It's perfect, and fairly short too.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Speech...again

Sorry, but one more thing from the President's speech yesterday.

Tax increases are now "spending reductions in the tax code."

Are we reading from Orwell's Animal Farm now, or what?  If this weren't so ridiculous, it would be insulting, or frightening even.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Doobie Doobie Doo

There was a report a few years back about a conflict between two neighbors out west.  When the one guy planted redwood trees in his yard some years earlier, all the left-wing Greenies cheered.  Later, when his neighbor installed solar panels to save on energy costs, they applauded again.  But, several years later, when the redwoods grew large enough to block the sunlight from the solar panels, a big fight erupted between them.  Which should go?  The redwoods or the solar panels?

I loved it.

Now, in California (where else?), liberals face a similar dilemma.  It seems that the growing of marijuana contributes to global warming.  What's a Lefty to do?

I love it.

"As we know it"

I keep hearing this no doubt focus group-tested phrase from Democrats, presumably as a way to intimidate GOP legislators and frighten prospective voters.  As in, "With their, the Republican's, proposals, they'll abandon Social Security/Medicare as we know it." 

The all-too-easy GOP response is:  "Well, I certainly hope so.  As things stand, both programs will be bankrupt, along with the country, in very short order."

Same As It Ever Was

President Obama finally responded to Rep. Paul Ryan and the Republicans with a 2012 budget proposal of his own.  Well, sort of.  Actually what he did was give a speech, perhaps the most disappointing, but predictable, of his political career.  I won't bore you with the details as you've heard exactly the same speech or one very like it from every liberal Democrat demagogue since FDR.

I do want to highlight one line, however, as it captures perfectly the differences between us:  "Rather, it is a basic reflection of our belief that those who have benefited most from our way of life can afford to give a bit more back."

Why not, instead, look at the successful in America and say: "those who have contributed most to our way of life"?  Because he can't.  The disgusting ideology he embraces and represents simply won't allow it.  

As I've said before, envy is the organizing principle of the Democrat Party and the fruit it bears is even uglier than the seed.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"The Country We Once Knew"

If last week's budget deal, coupled with last fall's ballot victories has you enthused about ascendant conservatism, check out NRO's Rich Lowry for a sobering piece about the current and future state of the nation.  He presents the latest from the American Enterprise Institute's Charles Murray, "The State of White America", and it's not a pretty picture about the growing class divide in America and what it portends.

A couple of thoughts:

First, the two "classes" that Murray compares are the upper-middle and the working and while material well-being is how he differentiates them, it is not how he distinguishes them.  Rather, he distinguishes them by comparing them in three categories: marriage, industriousness, and religiosity. 

This is significant because while it is usually the Left that frets about the growing class divide in America, they both define it, and seek to remedy it, as an almost entirely material problem.  That is, they imagine that if the material distance between the upper-middle and the working classes can be reduced, then all will be well, or at least better.  This is far too simplistic, serving chiefly only to justify an expanded and expanding welfare state.

Second, and related, Lowry ends the piece with this sentence: "When it comes to saving the American way, balancing the budget is the easy part."

While I think he's right about that, I think it important to point out as well that to distinguish too easily between our budgetary problems and our general moral decline is to fall victim to the same simplistic thinking that characterizes that coming from the Left.  As Mark Steyn likes to say, if Bill Gates were to write a check tomorrow covering all of the stimulus package and Obamacare, and let me add national debt as well, it would still be wrong to pursue these policies.  They are not wrong simply because we can't afford them.  They're wrong because they are un-American, unconstitutional, unethical, and ineffective.

Our budgetary woes are fundamentally a moral problem. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Good Cop, Bad Cop

Even with a day or two to think about it, I'm still of a double mind about whether the budget deal Speaker Boehner managed to cut with President Obama and the congressional Democrats was a good thing or not.  It certainly feels like we should have pushed it further.  Yes, even to the point of a government shutdown.  I fear that by not forcing one now, to demonstrate resolve, we'll end up in exactly the same place again, faced with exactly the same dilemmas, only several hundred billion dollars more in debt.  We'll see.

One thing I do know, however:  But for the stubborn presence of the so-called Tea Party Republicans, no meaningful deal of any kind would have been brokered.  We are witnessing the sure death of the reach-across-the-aisle, stick-it-to-your-own, McCain/Ladies of Maine wing of the Republican Party and if only that was accomplished, it was a pretty good week for the GOP...and for the country. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hamilton's America

Please read this wonderful review by Michael Knox Beran of a new documentary film about the American founder, Alexander Hamilton.  Read it for what it tells you about the film, but even more so for what it tells you about America.

Beran begins with this sentence:
T.S. Eliot, in his essay on Kipling, said that the outsider, if he happens to be “alarmingly intelligent,” has a “peculiar detachment and remoteness” that enables him to see the places through which he passes more clearly than the natives do.
As you would expect, Beran attributes that unique degree of intelligence and detachment to Hamilton himself, but, as I witnessed in person recently, these qualities remain available and apparent today in even more humble personages.

A couple of weeks ago, I was stuck (that's the right word) for eights days in Bogota, Colombia.  The circumstances of my stay there lead to a dinner one night with, among others, two working-class men, a native Colombian who spoke good English and who was interested in all things American, as well as a Cuban American who had come to the US from Castro's Cuba in 1969 when he was 12 years old.

At one point during the dinner conversation, the Colombian said something that revealed not only his intense admiration for, and envy of, the broad opportunities easily available to every American, but also his fundamental inability either to quite comprehend or even believe that such opportunity was possible for a working-class man like himself.  I remarked that, in the US, a kid reared solely within the material circumstances afforded by nothing more than a welfare check could nevertheless tell you that he would someday be president and no American would for that reason alone dismiss out of hand as impossible his intention.  At this, the working-class Cuban American, who shared a Latin heritage with the Colombian and who had experienced, personally, the non-American side of that heritage in Cuba as a boy, nodded at me in knowing agreement.

I think this Cuban American, like many insightful immigrants, shared with Alexander Hamilton an appreciation of America that might not be fully available to a native, a richer appreciation of not only what it is, but also of how different it is, exceptionally different.

To Hamilton's credit, he sensed the difference, or, better, the possibility of the difference, and then, along with many other great men and women, set about the hard work of making it so.  God bless him for it.

Compare and Contrast

From POLITICO on January 24, 2009 after meeting between President Obama and congressional Republicans over his proposed stimulus package:
President Obama listened to Republican gripes about his stimulus package during a meeting with congressional leaders Friday morning - but he also left no doubt about who's in charge of these negotiations. "I won," Obama noted matter-of-factly, according to sources familiar with the conversation.

From POLITICO on April 5, 2011 after meeting between President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner over a deal to avoid a government shutdown:
“We don’t have time for games,” the president said at one juncture, and later: ”What we can’t do is have a ‘my way or the highway’ approach to this problem....If we start applying that approach, where I’ve got to get 110 percent of everything I want or else I’m going to shut down the government, we’re not going to get anything done this year, and the American people are going to be the ones that suffer.”

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


From yesterday's hastily called press briefing after failing to reach a budget agreement with Speaker of the House John Boehner to avoid a government shutdown this Friday, President Obama:
"But it would be inexcusable for us to not be able to take care of last year’s business — keep in mind we’re dealing with a budget that could have gotten done three months ago, could have gotten done two months ago, could have gotten done last month — when we are this close simply because of politics."
This coming from the leader of the party that controlled every branch of the government last fall when the budget for fiscal year 2011 should have been passed.

Instead of sounding like he's playing defense when he says he refuses to be "put in a box" by the threat of a government shutdown, Speaker Boehner, indeed all Republicans, should instead go on the attack by exploding with something like:
""Inexcusable!!??"  Are you kidding me?  What's inexcusable and irresponsible was President Obama and the congressional Democrats not passing a budget for 2011 in the first place.  Even the possibility of a shutdown rests squarely on their shoulders.  We're the one's trying to clean up not only their mess, but their unfinished business as well."
Hardball, Speaker Boehner, you gotta play hardball.    

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Serious Man

As promised, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released his 2012 budget plan today and by the tone and substance of it, all Americans, not just Republicans, not just conservatives, but all Americans should rally around it.

Meanwhile, the budget meeting between Speaker of the House John Boehner and the President apparently broke down without an agreement over this year's budget.  As a result, the looming government shutdown seems increasingly unavoidable.

A serious man, a serious plan, a serious party, and, we pray, a serious nation.

The Great Reckoning continues.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Round One

The devil's in the details, to be sure, but when I heard this from House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) on Fox News Sunday yesterday previewing his 2012 budget proposal, I was heartened:
“We are giving them (Democrats) a political weapon to go against us...But they will have to lie and demagogue to make it a weapon…Shame on them if they do that.”
As everyone knows, from either the Left or the Right, this is a fight that simply must be fought.  The time is now.  The result will not be anything like a 100% - 0%, first-round KO.  Nor will it a 75%-25% TKO.  Nor even a 60% - 40% unanimous decision.  It'll likely be something more on the order of a 55% - 45% (or closer still) split decision. 

But a win's a win and, if I may switch metaphors for a moment, the fruit will not be found in the victory itself, but, rather, in the fruit the victory will bear.

Seconds out!  (back to boxing)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Real Money

Millions, billions, trillions.  Unfortunately, in the on-going budget debate, these words fail to represent anything like real money for the average American.  Heck, even as just words they've simply become  synonyms for "a lot".

My favorite way of helping someone get their minds around the incredible numbers routinely and nonchalantly thrown around in Washington is to ask them whether or not they can imagine spending one-thousand dollars a day.  That's still a good deal of money for most people (me too), but they can at least imagine it.  I ask them to imagine further that I gave them one-million dollars cash and instructed them to spend one-thousand of it each day.  How long will the million last?  One-thousand per day means 365-thousand per year.  So, a little less than three years.  Correct.  I then ask them to try imagining me giving them one-billion dollars instead.  Spending at the same rate of one-thousand dollars a day, how long will the billion last?  Most people freeze here.  The answer, of course, is a little less than 3,000 years.  3,000 years!!??  Yep, 3,000 years.

The numbers currently being argued over are a $3.7 trillion-dollar budget and $61 billion-dollars worth of Republican proposed cuts.  Trillions, billions?  They're just words that mean "a lot".

Let's go the other direction and try to get our minds around how small these cuts are actually are.

If the $3.7 trillion dollar annual budget was instead an average Joe's $37,000-a-year salary, how much cutting are the Republicans actually proposing?  Are you ready?  $610.  That's right, six-hundred and ten dollars per year.  Now, if that same average Joe is maxed out on his credit cards and overdrawn at his bank, would you consider a $610-a-year, belt-tightening fix, "extreme"?  For heaven's sake, that's less than $12 bucks a week.  He probably spends that much on beer and cigarettes alone.

Real money I tell ya.     

"The False-Choice Dodge"

Before wandering into some nonsense about the Bush tax cuts and deficit spending (she just couldn't help herself, I guess), Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus writes some very useful, and surprisingly honest, things about the rhetorical tactic of presenting and then rejecting "false choices".  Do check it out.

A Slow and Steady Boil

OK, now that I've taken a shot at all the pantywaisted politicians and pundits afraid to fight for fiscal sanity from Washington, may I offer a bit of advice to the still-boiling Tea Partiers both in and out of government?

Stop talking about a possible government shutdown as if you're almost eager for it!  This is bad politics, foolish even.  I'm afraid that the very same quality that makes the GOP base relatively independent of its party, makes them also, at least sometimes, very poor practitioners of the art of politics.

The oft-repeated "truth" is that just as the Republicans were blamed for the government shutdown in 1995, so will they be in 2011 if it comes down to it.  That's what Howard Dean thinks anyway.  But this is not necessarily so.  I'm as convinced now as I was in 1995 that the GOP failed to make the case sufficiently that Bill Clinton was the real culprit in the government shutdown.  Heck, they hardly even tried.  The same dynamic is at work today.

The first words out of every GOP leader's mouth every time he's in front of a camera should be something like this:  "We're struggling mightily to avoid a government shutdown and restore reason to our budgeting process.  But the Obama Administration and the congressional Democrats are fighting us at every turn.  Their fiscal irresponsibility over the past two years when they controlled all of the government has lead to this mess, and their stubborn obstructionism now is continuing it.  If they persist in this irresponsible behavior, they will force a government shutdown, and worse, much worse, we fear.  We're doing everything we can to avoid this calamity, but we need the help of the American people.  Please call or write your congressman..."

Will it be tedious to do this?  Sure, but as someone once said, "Politics is a strong and slow boring of hard boards." (Look it up.)  In politics, only very rarely can you convince anyone immediately of much of anything, much less can you expect an overnight epiphany on their part that the fiscal path we've been on for 75 years now is headed for a cliff.

But headed for a cliff we are, and convince them we must.  So, a slow and steady boil is what is most necessary now.

That, and to start blaming the looming shutdown on the Dems!  

Simmer Down

That's the admonition I'm hearing more and more often from GOP professionals and many otherwise conservative DC pundits about the budget-cutting preoccupations of the Tea Partiers.  It's also a prediction about their tenacity.

Two years of Obama-Pelosi-Reid policies brought them to a boil in 2010 and the mid-terms erased overnight the Democrats' huge governing advantage.  Hurray for us!  But, the Wise Men now counsel, they must drop this singular focus on the country's immediate budget problems lest the rest of America lose patience with them and they do real harm to the Party's prospects for 2012.  No matter, they continue, feigning sotto voce, when the budget cuts effect them personally, that is, when their Social Security and Medicare benefits are reduced, their hot water will cool quickly indeed.

I'm not so sure.

The constituencies of the parties are not two sides of the same coin.  As the Democrat Party is the party of big and ever-bigger government, their base, as you would expect, is comprised chiefly of people who favor big and ever-bigger government.  Increasingly, it's made up of people who depend on governemt as well.  Witness all the public-sector union uprisings over the most modest of cuts or restrictions.  That dependency is key for it means that, ultimately, the Party owns the base and not the other way around.  No matter how much the Democrat Party disappoints them, where else do they have to go?

The base of the Republican Party is different.  As the GOP is the party of relatively smaller government (Sadly, I've given up looking for a party of actually small government), its constituents are people who think similarly.  As they want little or nothing from government, or from the Party even save to keep the government off their backs, they are more, much more, independent than the average Democrat voter.  They can, if they wish, own the Party.

They can also walk away from it.

This is all a long way of saying that I think the GOP professionals and DC pundits are dead wrong about the Tea Partiers.  If the Republicans remain focused on cutting the budget, both near and long term, they may well lose the next election.  But if they don't, they will most certainly lose.