Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Mad Dog or Plain Vanilla?

In the aftermath of President Obama's 2016 budget of more spending and more complex taxes, and a veiled challenge to shut the government down, Scott McKay recommends going big:
Stop wasting time and pass a flat tax in the House and Senate. Pass gigantic block grants dissolving entire federal agencies (Department of Education, EPA, Department of Energy) and moving their funding and powers back down to the states.
But the strategy developed by congressional leaders McConnell and Boehner is to flood the zone with vanilla changes to the president's budget and insert a couple of items for veto bait, to be compromised away to as to keep the meat of the changes. You might call this "leading from behind."

Jonah Goldberg also likes the value of vanilla, as in Scott Walker for president. The point is that about half Republican voters want an anti-establishment candidate, and the other half want a safe establishment candidate.
Walker is in the golden spot. He can, like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day listening to Andie MacDowell explain the perfect man, reply “that’s me” to almost everything Republicans say they want. Executive experience? Challenge conventional thinking? Anti-establishment fighter? “Me, me, me.” 
Yeah. He's anti-establishment without being aggressive about it. The extraordinary thing about Walker's three campaigns for governor of Wisconsin in in four years in the teeth of a national liberal campaign against him was that he kept his cool. Liberals were foaming at the mouth, occupying the state Capitol, singing "Solidarity Forever" while getting arrested, threatening Walker's family and kids, but Walker stayed mild-mannered and "pragmatic." Then he drew the sting of compulsory paycheck deductions for state government employee union dues.

On the other hand here's Ted Cruz saying the Senate should hold up the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be Attorney General until Obama compromises on immigration. Yeah! Sock it to 'em, Ted!

Of course, even Ted Cruz, the mad dog, takes care to sound eminently cool and reasonable when he performs on TV. Yet Scott Walker, speaking at the Iowa Freedom Summit, came out from behind the lecturn to walk the stage and appear animated. Even so, the Daily Beast blasted "that Scott Walker speech" as "shallow, tedious, and wrong." Or vanilla. (My takeaway from the Walker speech is that he's going to get a lot of mileage out of protesters showing up at his house. Distaff voters don't like that sort of thing.)

Ultimately, Republicans need to be true to their center, and that is the culture of responsible individualism. Republicans believe that we need less government because people can and should be responsible for their own. Democrats believe that only protest and activism and government force can roll back the injustice of the age.

It's up to Republicans to make the case that it's pretty remarkable that the Democratic over-under coalition has any business protesting injustice, when most of the injustice in today's America is the consequence of the unjust power of the present liberal, Democrat, ruling class.

Every insurgent group forms out of the chaos of injustice meted out by the current ruling class. The only question is strategy: should we be mad dogs foaming at the mouth for justice, or should be just be mild-mannered vanilla eaters proposing a few mild-mannered reforms?

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