Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Obama Leads Dems into the Wilderness

The original narrative for the Obama years came from Judis and Teixeira and The Emerging Democratic Majority back in 2002.  The idea was that the Dems were forming a majority coalition of minorities, women, youth and the educated, and that they'd rule for ever after.

I feared it, but not after the Obama administration got started. I feared that the Dems would incrementally move the country in a liberal direction by finding bipartisan majorities on issues the Republicans couldn't refuse. Kinda like Medicare Part D which Bush passed in part to defuse a Dem "issue."

But Obama turned out to be the wrong president to consolidate and extend the Emerging Democratic Majority, because he pursued a divisive and partisan strategy to implement as much as possible of the liberal agenda by any means possible as soon as possible. So we have the Obamacare cramdown, the endless executive orders, the revising of statute law by fiat.

He violated the Moynihan Rule, that you want a 70-30 vote in the US Senate to pass big items like Medicare.

The result of Obama has been the most Republican Congress since before the Great Depression. And huge gains for Republicans in the states.

Now comes John Kraushaar in the National Journal to argue that "Obama Changed His Party, Not the Country." He's gotten remarkable support from his base and from the Democrats in Congress. But what does it matter if he hasn't brought the country with him too?
By ignoring the electorate and steering the country in an unmistakably progressive direction his final two years in office, he's ensuring that his presidency will be more of an eight-year mirage for liberals, rather than one known for winning lasting support for policies that would move the country in a leftward direction.
And so now John B. Judis is writing about an Emerging Republican Advantage.

Back in 2012 Chief Justice Roberts was the deciding vote to allow Obamacare to proceed. You can see why he did that and angered Republicans and conservatives. He knew that for the Supreme Court to roll back Obamacare in 2012 would be dangerously divisive, and would be viciously attacked by liberals and Obama. But not any more. Obama's a lame duck and Obamacare is unpopular. My nickel goes to say that the current Obamacare issue before the Supreme Court, the question of whether subsidies can be applied in states that didn't set up their own health exchanges, Chief Justice Roberts will be on the side of those that cut Obamacare down.

And the problem with all those executive orders is that they can be reversed by the next president.

It is said that Abraham Lincoln advised us to fight only one war at a time. We might revise and extend his remarks to say that all governments look for a war to fight. But they'd better not get caught in a two-front war. Now it is clear that the war Obama is fighting is the war against conservatives and Republicans. For his and his liberal base, the real enemy is racism, sexism, homophobia. So for them the problem with Islam, or the aggression of Putin's Russia are distractions from the real war.

But conservatives and Republicans are different. We don't really want to crush our domestic political opponents; we just wish they weren't so determined to wreck America and all it stands for. Enemies, if any, can be found beyond the borders of the United States and North America. The enemy used to be the Soviet Union; now it is radical Islam.

So, from my conservative perspective, the idea that Obama has led his party into the wilderness without getting the rest of the nation to follow him is a beacon of hope. It will be much easier for the next Republican president to lead the nation to sunny uplands of economic growth and social peace if President Obama has flown the Democratic Party up a box canyon and wrecked it on the canyon wall.

But, as I have already written, I expect the Democrats to break and run before they get too far up the box canyon. Politicians are not fools; they can see the writing on the canyon walls.

But usually the rank and file in an army wait to desert until it is too late. They are only human, after all.

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