Short months ago, on that historic night in November 2008, liberals dared to dream that their intention to reshape the country in the image of the modern Democratic Party would soon come to fruition. While blithely surveying the very blue electoral map, they peered into the future and envisioned a two-term president gifted with long-lived majorities in both houses of Congress. Not content with their overwhelming victory, they arrogantly proclaimed the death of the conservatism and joyfully danced on the grave of Ronald Wilson Reagan.
They looked forward to decades of legislative dominance with which to fulfill their goal of pushing America toward the socialist utopia of their dreams, and salivated at the chance to reshape the Supreme Court in order to keep it that way. And it all would be so easy, now that the country had finally been won over to their side.
And they dove right in with the confidence of a movement that was convinced they had won a large and lingering mandate for change. From risky stimulus packages to the nationalization of the healthcare industry; with plans to implement cap and trade and even to “slow the rising of the oceans,” they came to save America from itself.
But when the light of day shone on the details of their agenda and all the wheeling and dealing behind it became apparent, support for the president and his plans came crashing down and with it, their aura of invincibility, as evidenced by the Massachusetts rebellion. So, what happened? What can account for the change in the attitudes of even Bay State voters? Who are these people?
History has struggled to identify these voters for decades; ever since the left started making bold yet covert moves to draw our country into the socialist web woven by FDR and fomented by the radical 1960s. Nixon called them “the silent majority,” but under the failed presidency of Jimmy Carter, they were dubbed “Reagan Democrats.”
Yet now that the White House is occupied by a man who, rather than delivering on a new message of hope and change to the nation, instead seeks to deliver the same old socialist menu served up by his progressive predecessors, they are branded as “tea partiers.” But they are what they have always been: Americans who — although sometimes lead astray by one lustrous personality or another — value our personal liberty and intrinsically understand what has made this country great.
And so there was no death of Reaganism; not only did it not die, it was never really born. It has grown organically since the days when our forefathers developed the notion that man might be able to live free from government tyranny and control. If anything, it awakens when that sense of personal liberty is at risk.
What has happened then is simply that America has come back to her senses; she has no stomach for the coddling of terrorists, disdains government control of private industry and is generally suspicious of big government and the high taxes and spending that accompany it. That may sound like the agenda of conservatives, but it’s really only a description of Americans from 1776 onward.
My favorite line of the Declaration of Independence is this accusation of King George: “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.” This country never has, and hopefully never will swallow the idea that our money should be fodder for the hungry maws of big-government bureaucrats.
It’s ironic then that a major theme of President Obama’s address will not be the saving of whales, recalling all U.S. troops or even the further bankrupting of filthy rich capitalists. No, the advertised highlight of the speech will not focus on these or any other such lofty rhetoric dear to the ears of his worshipful minions; it will be his shameless effort to recast himself as a deficit hawk. Welcome home, America.