Dec 31 2010
The best review of 2010 I have seen so far from a political standpoint comes from RCP:
“The biggest mystery of 2010 may be Democrats’ failure to explain and sell their landmark health law, and the public’s sustained resistance to it despite the popularity of many of its components.”
The mystery is why it’s still such a mystery. About 85 percent of Americans had healthcare. Polls showed Americans were largely pleased with the status of that care. The one consensus complaint was cost. But Democrats sought to address everything but cost.
Democrats’ top priority was healthcare when the nation’s top priority was the economic crisis.
There was a major but subtle political realignment in 2010. It comprised two simultaneous shifts. First was the Democrat Party’s fall off the left fringe of the political spectrum. Once Pelosi, Reid and Obama (Jarret) were in control there was no way the far left would ever allow the moderate left control of the party again. To lose control of the Democrat Party would relegate the liberal/progressive movement to long term marginal status. While they are marginal in reality, their egos cannot grasp this reality – so they will distill the Democrat Party down to nothing in a few short years.
On the GOP side the social conservatives have run out of gas and support. Attack someone for being a Christian, try and silence their right to pray in public or wear symbols of their religion and the conservative movement will still rally to protect freedom of religion. But if anyone thinks government will be used to dictate social ‘norms’ they have not learned the lesson of 2010. The era of big government is over.
I was not a big fan of DADT being repealed, but the truth is it has been repealed – so be it. The world did not end and our military is above and beyond pettiness and insecurity. Our brave men and women in uniform have struggled through a lot worse hardships than this. What it also means is we can now stop obsessing about sex. The public square needs to go back to being G or PG rated (no PG-13). Adults have plenty of freedom and private spaces to do whatever silliness they want to do – just keep it out of sight and hearing of families with young kids. This is not hard to fathom folks. Just as we have exercised the ghosts of slavery and racism with the election of a black president, the end of DADT should be signal the end of homo-hetero wars. Give the everyone the right to civil unions, reserb=ve ‘marriage’ to be the label used to refer to hetero-unions and be done with this madness.
But the political center of gravity has finally been moved to the center around libertarian concepts. Right now the populist political message is the Tea Party’s minimal government mantra. As RCP put it:
The media went from underestimating the tea party movement in 2009 to obsessing over it in 2010. Yet the establishment press still undervalued this movement’s appeal. A New York Times-CBS poll reported last spring that one-fifth of Americans identify themselves as tea party supporters. But Election Day exit polls found that two-fifths of voters considered themselves “supporters” of the movement.
The Republican establishment rode that tiger to the ballot box. Tea party activists rallied around deficit issues
The new path has not even begun yet. We have the House of Representative seeded with a lot of Tea Party libertarians, but with the Senate still in left-wing hands, as well as the White House, we now embark on a 2 year education and political learning process to expose who much federal government we can (and have previously) lived without. We need to show what a minimal FCC and FAA would look like, why we can live without either DoE, how science and technology research that spans DoEnergy, USGS, NASA, NOAA and others should be combined into one organization to streamline overhead, create consistency in results and prioritize our investments in science and technology.
We need to see how not only the deficits go down, but industry can replace needless and endless paperwork with productivity and results. We need to stop Obamacare from destroying our health care system.
All of this will take two years to find the steps and pace Americans are ready to travel down a libertarian path. We don’t need petulant impatience and ridiculous goals. We need well thought out leadership (like that seen in NJ and VA) that tackles the problems in order and with the support of the people.
We can make this work if we stop worrying about what divides us and focus on what joins us in common cause.