The Obama Watch

2010

Next year's elections are going to produce a political earthquake.

By 7.15.09

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Next year's elections are going to produce a political earthquake. That is because we currently suffer the most left-wing government in our nation's history. After just 6 months in office, the flower children that rule Washington in overwhelming numbers are already smashing through all records regarding federal taxes, spending, deficits, and debt. Obama and his ultra-left Democrats adopted a so-called stimulus bill raising spending a trillion dollars that never had a prayer of actually creating jobs and promoting long-term economic growth, because it was based entirely on old-fashioned, brain dead, proven to fail, Keynesian economics. Though we would have to double federal taxes to finance the entitlement promises we have already made, the ruling Washington Democrats completely ignore that and focus instead on adopting yet another entitlement -- national health insurance -- that would be the biggest of all.

Global atmospheric temperatures are down over the last 11 years, and temperature trends during the 20th century were consistent with natural causes such as varying ocean current temperatures and solar activity, and not with the theory of manmade global warming and carbon dioxide emissions. Yet the left wing extremists that run Washington insist on adopting the largest tax increase in world history to reduce the use of oil, natural gas, and coal by 83%, which would effectively repeal the Industrial Revolution. Mandating high cost energy is only going to trash the economy for no good reason.

Meanwhile, Obama is explicitly pursuing nuclear disarmament with the full support of Congressional Democrats on the openly expressed, child-like theory that if we get rid of our nukes our enemies will get rid of theirs. While North Korea is conducting nuclear tests and shooting missiles in the direction of our homeland, and Iran is openly building nuclear weapons and threatening to wipe our allies off the face of the Earth, Obama and Congressional Democrats are cutting missile defense and planning to cancel the Airborne Laser system capable of shooting down enemy missiles from planes hundreds of miles away. These are not the policies of serious people committed to our national defense.

After just 6 months, Obama has also already forgotten his pledge not to increase taxes on those making less than $250,000 per year, a promise he cynically used to lie his way into office. He fully supports the cap and trade tax bill, which would sharply raise the prices of electricity, gasoline, home heating oil, and every product or service that uses energy for its production or transportation, including food, particularly meat, cheese, eggs, milk, and other dairy products that require refrigeration. Moreover, his Democrat Congressional allies are developing a new value added tax (VAT) that would further sharply increase the prices of all goods and services, not to mention a new tax on health benefits and increases in payroll and other taxes.

Remember George Bush Senior was booted out of office for violating his campaign pledge not to raise taxes. Maybe this is the right precedent for Obama's violation of his central campaign pledge. Obama's poll numbers are certainly starting to reflect that distinct possibility. The latest Rasmussen daily Presidential tracking poll shows that only 28% of voters now strongly approve of Obama's performance as President, while 36% strongly disapprove, a negative 8% margin. Rasmussen focuses on those who strongly approve or disapprove because these are the people who have made a decision regarding Obama and his policies. Obama's numbers have been plummeting on this measure. Obama's overall approval rating is down to 53% in Rasmussen's polling, while 46% overall disapprove, a poor showing for so early in his term.

Rasmussen's polling also shows that only 30% now trust Obama on the economy, which 84% say is the most important issue. A large majority, 61%, believes America is on the wrong track. The GOP leads the generic Congressional Ballot by 3%, while only 18% rate the Democrat-controlled Congress as good or excellent. These numbers will only get worse for Democrats as Congress adopts mega tax increases and other ultraliberal policies, portending a GOP takeover of the House next year. A plurality of Americans also now oppose the Obama/Democrat takeover of health care 49% to 46%.

Barack Obama makes Franklin Roosevelt look like a conservative. But that should not have been a surprise given his record in Congress as the most liberal Senator of all, more liberal than Teddy Kennedy, or Hillary Clinton, or John Kerry. The media parroted Obama's propaganda that his ultraliberal voting record didn't mean that he was liberal, and those labels don't mean anything any more. Now we can see too late that such propaganda was silly.

But it is not just Barack Obama. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from San Francisco is just as far left, and seems to be even more dreamy and unrealistic on national defense. Barney Frank from Boston is equally loony left, yet serves as Chairman of the House Banking Committee, where he continues to promote the same easy mortgage credit policies that caused the financial crisis. Henry Waxman, the Congressman from Hollywood, is another left-wing extremist, serving as Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where he wrote the unjustifiable cap and trade tax legislation.

Charley Rangel, the Congressman from Harlem, serves as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, where he is preparing tax increases that will cause capital flight from our economy, befitting a banana republic. John Conyers, Congressman from Detroit, is so far left he has flirted in the past with the Communist Party USA. Yet, he serves as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, where he regularly calls for prosecution of former Bush Administration officials.

Many Democrats in Congress ran and won as conservatives in their districts back home. But it is these so-called Blue Dog Democrats who keep all the above left-wing extremists in their lofty positions of power. Many of these so-called conservative Democrats voted for the ineffective stimulus package based on outdated, liberal, Keynesian economics, and then voted for the Obama budget with its record spending, deficits, taxes, and debt. Tell them these are not conservative votes, and true conservatives would not be supporting San Francisco ultraliberal Nancy Pelosi as Speaker and keeping all the above ultraliberal left Committee Chairmen in power.

These Blue Dog Democrats posing as conservatives provide the margin for the Democrat majority in the House. They are the most vulnerable to defeat in 2010. But it is not just them. A lot of liberal warhorses seemingly invincible today will go down in next year's elections. Challengers should especially check out the opportunities in wealthy limousine liberal districts that have been sending left-wing extremists to Washington for far too long. Some shocking surprises will quite likely come from those districts next year, given how they have been targeted for punitive tax increases and suffer greatly from the failing Obama/Democrat economic policies.

One specific target of opportunity for next year is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, where 62% of voters are telling pollsters they want someone other than Reid as their Senator next year. Not yet known in Washington is the emerging powerhouse candidacy of Chuck Kozak, who will be running next year against Reid on an optional 15% flat income tax, with taxpayers free to choose that system or the deductions and credits of the current system. He will also be running on reducing the current 35% federal corporate tax rate, second highest in the industrialized world, to 15% as well. Kozak recognizes that capital gains taxes kill jobs and entrepreneurship, so he proposes reducing the corporate capital gains rate from 35% to 15%, and keeping individual cap gains at 15%.

Kozak pledges to stop Congress from continuing to raid the Social Security trust funds, and to allow workers the freedom to choose personal savings and investment accounts for Social Security, which would begin to replace the payroll tax. He wants to restore Federalism by sending the 85 remaining means tested federal welfare programs back to the states, with each state free to establish an entirely new safety net system based on work instead of handouts. And he wants to free the marketplace to produce new energy, including the traditional, known, reliable sources such as oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear power, as well as the newer alternative energy sources such as wind and solar. This would assure a reliable, low cost energy supply to boost the economy. Kozak's powerful agenda would produce another long-term economic boom, just as Reaganomics did over 25 years ago.

Turncoat Arlen Specter from Pennsylvania will also be retired next year, when he will find that an 80-year-old opportunist, RINO Republican is not going to appeal to Democrat primary voters any more than to Republican primary voters. Specter's craven lust for power over any principle reflects all that is wrong with our politics. Primed to win that Senate race next year is conservative former Congressman Pat Toomey, another star equal to Kozak.

But it is not just elections at the federal level that present blazing, white hot, political opportunities next year. If California voters do not recognize next year that the liberal Democrats they keep electing to the state legislature are destroying that state, they will prove themselves incapable of self-government. Look for Republican Ebay CEO Meg Whitman to win the California Governor's race next year, and for Republicans to win at least one house of the California legislature.

Ditto that for New York State, where Republican majorities may well take over the entire legislature next year. Liberal Democrats have made state government there dysfunctional. Michigan may well at this point qualify as a failed state, like Somalia or Afghanistan. Governor Jennifer Granholm and other ultraliberal Democrats have so thoroughly trashed that state it may never recover. Detroit has fallen from a population of 1.8 million with the highest per capita income of any big city to less than 900,000 ranking 62nd in per capita income. Half the city's housing stock is now vacant and serves only to drag down the value of the remaining occupied homes. Fewer than half of all Detroit youth graduate from high school. This is all the fault of the liberal-left Democrats who have uniformly ruled that city for decades. Expect a new Governor to be elected next year, and another possible Republican takeover of the legislature.

Other promising races for next year are John Kasich running for Governor of Ohio and former conservative Congressman Mark Neumann running for Governor of Wisconsin. After next year, Republicans will probably once again have a strong majority among the nation's governors.

Next year would be a Republican year just because it is a midterm election with a Democrat in the White House. But because federal, state and local Democrats have been so extreme left, that is why this time the election is likely to be an earthquake. Normally, people who are unhappy with the incumbent President come out to vote in droves during midterms, while people who are happy are not as motivated because they think all is fixed by the reigning President who is not even on the ballot during midterms. But these effects are going to be so greatly exaggerated this time for several reasons.

Democrat ultra-left policies are going to motivate even more disaffection and voter anger than usual in a midterm. This is why Rasmussen's focus on strongly disapprove versus strongly approve is so important. Obama is already 8 points down on this calculus and dropping fast just 6 months into his first term. Where is it going to be after another 16 months?

Moreover, the conservative Republican vote was down in the last election because these voters were so disaffected by the moderate liberal Republican standard bearer John McCain. But these folks are going to be ultramotivated to vote next year, and probably contribute and volunteer as well, because of the prevailing Democrat ultraleftism that so alienates them. At the same time, Obama inspired a maximum left-wing vote last year. But a lot of those voters are going to be unmotivated next year when they realize after two years that Obama did not show up to pay their house and car payments, or arrive at their door to deliver new kitchen appliances and cabinets at taxpayer expense.

Potential candidates need to start planning to run now. Races that seemed unwinnable last year are going to be shockingly in play by this time next year. Don't sell yourself short. There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune, omitted all of life is spent in misery, as Shakespeare told us.

But it is not just potential candidates that need to start organizing now. Conservatives need more grassroots political activism. This should be focused on ideology rather than party. All you need to do to become a local political force is find out which of your friends and neighbors share enough of your beliefs to work with you. Collect their names, addresses, emails, phone numbers. Call regular meetings to discuss particular issues of interest. Study up on the issue and lead a discussion on it, or invite speakers to do that.

If you can get just 20 people to come to regular meetings, biweekly or monthly, you are a local political force, particularly if you are collecting all the contact information of everyone who comes to every meeting. Candidates will come to your meetings to make their case. Study the federal, state and local candidates for your area, and inform your group at these meetings on their records, what they have they been for and against. Decide which of these candidates sufficiently share your values and actively support them with fundraising and volunteers.

But it is not just Republican candidates and activism that will enjoy exciting opportunities next year. In districts that have been drawn to be overwhelmingly Democrat, unexpected opportunities will arise next year for Democrat primary challenges against old, liberal left warhorses. There is opportunity for candidates that will ask voters in these districts if they really are as left-wing as some of the loony left incumbents, like Waxman or Frank or others. America desperately needs black challengers in African-American districts to campaign on new ideas and solutions, like school vouchers that would bring freedom of choice and competition for the poor in education. African-American small businessmen in these districts are being driven out of business by wildly unrealistic liberal-left policies such as excessive taxation, the threat of cap and trade high energy costs, and the threat of forced unionism under the proposed card check legislation.

African Americans would benefit the most from empowering policies such as personal accounts for Social Security that would allow their families to accumulate their own savings and capital over a lifetime. They would benefit the most from realistic policies to produce general prosperity such as low taxes, and reduced federal spending, deficits and debt. They would benefit the most from a new welfare system based on work rather than dependency. Altogether, this comprises a new anti-poverty, civil rights agenda, and America needs candidates in the black inner city to pick up and run with this flag.

Unfortunately, America is headed for some bad crashes under the current flower child policies of left-wing extremism, on foreign policy and national defense concerns as well as domestic and economic policy. Next year's campaigns will involve a crusade to restore policies to rebuild traditional American freedom and prosperity. Where will you be during that crusade?

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About the Author
Peter Ferrara is Director of Entitlement and Budget Policy at the Heartland Institute, General Counsel of the American Civil Rights Union, Senior Fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, and Senior Policy Advisor on Entitlements and Budget Policy at the National Tax Limitation Foundation. He served in the White House Office of Policy Development under President Reagan, and as Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States under President George H.W. Bush.