Gerard Baker has a piece in the UK Times Online today that caught my attention (read it here). His thesis is one that seems to be gaining momentum as Election Day looms, one that posits that this center-right country will keep a far left president and Congress in line should Obama win. This is an argument intended to allay the worst fears of conservatives and moderates who see an Obama administration as a disaster for this country. In essence, it is an attempt to lead us “dumb and silent” to the slaughter, as Washington once said. I reject it wholeheartedly.

Baker offers that the tightness of this election signals that this country remains fundamentally conservative and is not completely sold on Obama’s brand of liberal governance. On this point, I heartily agree. But the conclusions he draws from this fact are deluded and ignore important elements of history. He seems to think that a unified Democrat government will be hamstrung by the public’s core conservatism and will stay on the well-worn path of mainstream American politics in order to keep their seats. First of all, this argument rings of hope (there’s the H-word again) rather than conviction. Secondly, it does not recall the reaction of Democrats to their re-taking of Congress in 2006, who saw that election as a referendum on the Iraq War and a mandate in their favor. How wrong they were, but it didn’t impact their left-wing agenda in the slightest. Fortunately, the Republicans held on to enough seats in Congress to block their attempts to cut off funding for the troops and a Republican president sat in the White House to veto any of the bilge that managed to get by. That will not be the case this time around. The Democrats will once again herald this as a mandate from the masses for liberalism and they will govern accordingly (if you don't believe me, see

Additionally, this sort of wishful thinking is foolish if the intent is to placate conservatives. Even if the Democrat Congressional majority is whittled down or shattered in 2010, much of the damage will have been done, as the Democrats will understand they may be living on borrowed time. They won’t squander this opportunity. Iraq War funding can be cut and troops brought home prematurely with nothing to stand in the way this time, and could happen within months, not years, of when a President Obama takes office. Health care reform is likely to be undertaken immediately after the lessons learned from the Clinton failures in the 90’s (Ted Kennedy is drafting the legislation as we speak). The Fairness Doctrine could sail through Congress and land on Obama’s desk with ease, and he’ll sign it. The revision of the tax code may take longer, which is the only silver lining I can see in this potential maelstrom. If Obama has the opportunity to appoint Supreme Court justices within his first two years, he can pick whoever he wants within the left-wing spectrum (even Hillary Clinton) and have a 99% chance of getting them confirmed. Most pundits speculate the next president will appoint two or even three justices. This would tilt the balance of power to the liberals on the Court for a generation and cause immense and irreparable damage to the fabric of this country.
Another advantage the Democrats hold is their control of the economic narrative, which an electoral victory will validate. Once the premise that conservatism is the cause of our current economic woes is established, they can justify whatever socialist policies they like. They won't get away with it every time, but even once is too much. Through the newly established powers granted to the Treasury Secretary by the Bailout (which will be the cornerstone of the American nationalization/socialization movement for decades to come), Obama would be able to extend the influence of government willy-nilly into the private sector. It would be very bleak indeed.

Do not be deluded: a unified, Democrat government is very bad news for America. Will life go on? Of course it will. But you may not recognize your country four years from now.

No comments: