The Current Crisis

The Election… The Election of 2014

Stupid or not, it's still going to be the economy.

By 11.8.12

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WASHINGTON -- Jimmy Carter is redeemed! The grinning dunce of yesteryear, who grew into the anile doddering figure of today lecturing the civilized on all manner of statecraft, has been replaced by the saturnine gaunt prophet, Barack Obama. His sorry performance these past four years he lays to the administration of George W. Bush. The next four years will be a replay of the last four years, and an even graver crisis will confront us then with the domestic economy in a funk and foreign potentates all laughing at us.

The Prophet Obama has demonstrated that you can preside over a wobbly economy and be reelected. Apparently it is not "the economy, stupid," as James Carville told us. You can suffer a foreign policy disaster (and in the midst of a campaign) and it will be ignored. Jimmy could have been reelected in 1980 if it were not for the miracle of Ronald Reagan. Had the Republicans nominated a perfectly nice man, say a successful businessman who earned a fortune as large as John F. Kennedy or Franklin D. Roosevelt inherited, Jimmy would have won reelection and the economy would have continued to founder in stagflation and he would have been sending helicopters out into the desert to be destroyed; possibly he would be sending the fleet to be destroyed.

Our President has offered us nothing during this election that is different from the past four years. That is amazing. He sees trillion-dollar debt for as far as the eye can see. The debt will be 20 trillion dollars when he leaves office and still climbing. Then it will be someone else's problem. Yet President Obama will not be inert. He will raise taxes and other costs on the rich. It will not affect the deficits much. It will slow growth. Yet he will be delivering on his message to the embittered in his coalition that he has made the rich pay more, the rich that already pay 59 percent of the income tax. Withal he will institutionalize the portion of the GDP that the federal government accounts for at some 25 percent. The norm prior to his arrival at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue had been closer to 18 percent. He is bringing the efficiencies of the post office to mainstream American life.

Michael Barone, writing in the Washington Examiner, says America is now "two countries, not on speaking terms." He writes, "One America tends to be traditionally religious, personally charitable, appreciative of entrepreneurs and suspicious of government. The other tends to be secular or only mildly religious, less charitable on average, skeptical of business and supportive of government as an instrument to advance liberal causes." This was an election that pitted these two cultures against one another.

There is another element that I would factor into Barone's calculation. The second America is rampant with hypocrisy. Its components have given me something to laugh at for years. For instance, there are the delusional women (usually single) who apparently see themselves as luscious targets of libidinous ecstasy from the male of the species and occasionally from the female of the species. They must have, as a matter of rights (thitherto overlooked in the Bill of Rights), free contraception devices of all kinds. It is a very serious matter. In fact, it is a matter of national security. Then there are the cultural liberals. What enthusiasm they are advancing today is a matter of no particular blueprint or scheme of any kind. They are sometimes for freedom, say, legalization of marijuana or, who knows, heroin. They are at other times for government coercion, say, cap and trade, the sale of pop in 32 oz. containers. They follow only one unvarying value with regard to their ongoing projects, disturbing their neighbors, disturbing the peace. In most criminal codes that is a misdemeanor.

There are others in this coalition that Obama brought together in this election. One is the union member, not the can-do kind of American blue-collar worker but the congenitally angry covetous type, at times the thug. Another is the college-age student. The student is among my favorite seekers of more government. All of them are going to be paying for Obama's excesses for years to come and living in an economy with slow growth. Frankly the older grayer Americans have lived prosperous lives, but these stupid youths are just setting out in life. They will pay the older citizens' Social Security and healthcare for years. It will not be very good healthcare but it will be better healthcare than stupid youths will eventually see.

That is unless in 2016 or preferably 2014 the conservative wave that we saw at the Republican convention can come in and save the economy. We have seen one of their kind on the campaign trail in 2012, Congressman Paul Ryan. Along with him will come Senator Kelly Ayotte, senator-elect Ted Cruz, Congressman Sean Duffy, Governor Nikki Haley, Governor Bobby Jindal, Governor Susana Martinez, Senator Rand Paul, Senator Marco Rubio, Congressman Tim Scott, and Governor Scott Walker. Doubtless, there are others. The talent of the oncoming Republicans is inspiring. Against them I have read that Joe Biden is in the running and Hillary Clinton. Apparently there is not much competition from the Democrats. Already the Republicans can count on 30 governorships. They have not lost a sitting governorship in five years.

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About the Author
R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is the founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is the author of The Death of Liberalism, published by Thomas Nelson Inc. His previous books include the New York Times bestseller Boy Clinton: the Political Biography; The Impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton; The Liberal Crack-Up; The Conservative Crack-Up; Public Nuisances; The Future that Doesn't Work: Social Democracy's Failure in Britain; Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House; The Clinton Crack-Up; and After the Hangover: The Conservatives' Road to Recovery.