In 2006 it spelled disaster for Republicans. In 2012 it will doom the Democrats.
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Think about this for a minute: There are few companies with a more iconic brand and more expertise in marketing than Coca-Cola. Since 1969, Coke usually has a new marketing slogan every one to three years. In 1969, we got the legendary “It’s the real thing.” In 1974, “Look for the real things.” In 1985, “America’s Real Choice.” In 2003, “Real.” And in 2005, “Make it Real.” There is a lesson here, one that politicians never learn, or at least never remember once in office: Americans crave “real,” with the best marketer in the world betting billions that Americans will buy their product based on its real-ness.
In 2006, and to a lesser extent in 2008, Republicans were no longer real. They were Republicans in Name Only (RINOs). They were unworthy of the support of voters, particularly of independent voters and those “Reagan Democrats” whose somewhat conservative views might occasionally allow them to vote for a Republican despite generations-long affiliation with the Democratic Party and industrial unions.
The motto of 2006: If we’re going to vote for a big spender, give me a real big spender.
But quoting the wisdom of Ted Striker, “the foot’s on the other hand now.”
It’s not big spenders the people want; it is spending-cutters. It is not bureaucratic “green” regulators people want; it is deregulators, or at least regulators who understand cost-benefit analysis and the human impact of their actions. We do not want politicians who think that government is the answer; we want politicians who know that government is much or most of the problem.
A Gallup poll released Monday substantiates of what those who are paying attention already know: “A record-high 81% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the country is being governed, adding to negativity that has been building over the past 10 years.” The chart is dramatic and instructive.
Key findings of the poll include that “57% have little or no confidence in the federal government to solve domestic problems, exceeding the previous high of 53% recorded in 2010” and “53% have little or no confidence in the men and women who seek or hold elected office.”
And here is my favorite: “49% of Americans believe the federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. In 2003, less than a third (30%) believed this.”
I hereby anticipate, accept, and stipulate to the many objections that will be made regarding how little Republicans have done in recent years to protect our fundamental rights and freedoms. Nevertheless, at least the GOP suggests an interest — and seems to be backing up that suggestion in the past two years — in thinking about the Constitution and the proper role and authority of government. This is in stark contrast to then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (whose gavel possession was perhaps the most painful outcome of the 2006 Democrat tidal wave) responding to a question about the constitutionality of the health insurance mandate in Obamacare by asking “Are you serious?” A Pelosi spokesman later reiterated their view that “that’s not a serious question.”
Yes, Nancy, we’re serious. And when half of the American public believes that government cannot solve our problems and poses a threat to our rights, the public will look for the authentic believers in limited government to put our out-of-control federal government back in its cage. We won’t look to Democrats who are magically newly respectful of the 10th Amendment (or any other Amendment), no matter how pretty their words. We won’t believe that someone of the party of the real big spenders can have an 11th hour conversion to faith in the limited government prescribed by the Founders.
All of this applies particularly to President Obama. It takes a special kind of spender to make George W. Bush and the last Republican Congress appear frugal. It takes a special kind of liar to say with a straight face, after performing that particular feat, that he now cares about deficit and debt reduction. And it takes a special kind of gullibility to believe that President Obama has, or even could have, a plan to work in that direction. Given the existence of Berkeley and Boulder, Manhattan and San Francisco, I can’t say that Barack Obama isn’t fooling anybody. He surely is fooling plenty of people. But the vast majority of American voters are fed up with ersatz politicians of all stripes. We’re ready for authentic, real budget cutters, people who have actually read (and hopefully carry) a copy of the U.S. Constitution. In 2012, and despite all their past and future failings, this means Republicans.
Americans seek and appreciate authenticity. The political mood of the nation is for real restraint of government, its cost and intrusiveness. So while they may have been the flavor of the month for some time, in 2012 the Democrats will find that they are Pepsi in a nation of voters thirsting for “the real thing.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?