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Bitter Sweet

November 10, 2010

Well now that it’s over, it’s taken me several days to let the historic mid-term elections sink in a bit.  I think the best way to describe the mix of thoughts and feelings I have at this point is “bitter sweet”.

First the sweet.  Not since 1948 has so great a political swing been witnessed.  A total of 67 Congressional seats with the potential of 7 more were surrendered by Democrats across the country in one of the largest repudiations of a President’s policies in a century.  And then there was and is the Tea Party–Thank God.  As Michael Novak stated, “What is most striking about this election is the rising up of a huge popular movement with virtually no visible national leader — a movement spontaneously arising out of the refusal to lose the country our Founding Fathers (Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and the others) built solidly on certain fixed, eternal principles: firm principles about the dignity and responsibility before God of every woman and man, about the freedom of the economy from State management (but not from necessary State regulation), and about the universal opportunity of every citizen to rise as far as their talents and hard work will take them.” First they said it was insignificant; then they said it was racist; then it couldn’t win a primary; and it absolutely couldn’t win a General election.    Well those insignificant, racist, hate-filled, rednecks, “clinging to their guns and religion”, who didn’t even exist two years ago, delivered multiple candidates to the steps of Capitol Hill.  The famous line from Verizon Wireless comes to mind, “Can you hear me now?”  Yes, Mr. President, can you hear us now?

The Obama agenda, along with the majority of Democrats that supported it, has been summarily rejected.  No, Mr. President, it wasn’t solely about the economy that you ignored for almost two years in your blind pursuit of ObamaCare.  It wasn’t that we just felt like there was a huge expansion of government, there in fact has been. It’s not because you didn’t explain it right or that we just didn’t notice all your hard work on your golf game, I mean, saving the country.  No, it has nothing to do with George Bush, although you’d like us to think so.  And no, it wasn’t Wall Street, or Bankers, or corporate greed—although that contributed to the mess—or the oil spill, or a myriad of other things you wish we would understand.  After all you’ve been mopping up for over two years now and we still don’t seem to get it—maybe a wet vac is in order.  While you may remain tone deaf, Mr. President, America has only finished the first stanza in a long song.

I watched some of the pundits on the Sunday news shows opine about the reason being the “economy stupid” as well.  If only President Obama would have focused a bit more on the economy and unemployment would have been slightly lower, Americans would have gladly embraced big government and the road to serfdom that we are now on.  Why they’re not concerned about ObamaCare, no.  Nor are they worried about their children’s future, not at all.  It’s only that so many are without a job, yes, that’s it—as they wave their hands across the screen like Obi Wan Kenobi saying “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”

Charles Krauthammer wrote that, “Tuesday was the electorate’s first opportunity to render a national verdict on this manner of governance. The rejection was stunning. As a result, President Obama’s agenda is dead. And not just now. No future Democratic president will try to revive it — and if he does, no Congress will follow him, in view of the carnage visited upon Democrats on Tuesday.”  From your pen, to God’s eyes Charles.  Maybe Americans can take a deep breath and gain a good night’s rest…for the moment, because I’m not quite as confident as Charles’ is.   Obama’s agenda is and was not his alone.  Powerful people for more than a century have been steadily advancing the ideology and policies of Progressivism.  They have not given up, nor will they.  So rest for now America, but we can never slumber again.

And why the bitter?  It mostly has to do with my state, Illinois.  At the local and state level, Governor Quinn escaped the red tide, along with a majority of Democrats that will return to the Legislature.  On the promise to raise taxes, increase spending for Education and Medicaid, and generally continue the disastrous policies and practices that have plunged us into an economic abyss, I’ve begun to contemplate greener pastures, both financially and physically, for the first time in my 25 years here.   I’ll probably get over it, but I’m wondering if my parents’ basement could be converted…nah, just kidding Mom and Dad.

I had a friend email me with this response, “It never occurred to me that things would change much in Illinois. I equate Illinois with California except in one state everyone is on the dole and in the other everyone is on the take.  Net effect is the same.”  How true and how sad.

Speaking of California, it is often said that the states are the laboratories of our Republic, I believe we will now see that adage dramatically played out in two of our largest states—California and Illinois.  Both have been under Democratic dominance for over a decade, both are in a race to the bottom fiscally, and both have re-elected the same party that put them there.  I believe both will attempt to take steps to try and avert the disaster which is looming, unfortunately, I suspect the lust of their patronage armies which have kept and returned them to power will be decidedly unwilling to negotiate “austerity” measures of any kind.  Taxation, regulation, and fees will have to grow; the exodus of both business and those who have the means of mobility will continue; their debt will metastasize unabated; and we will witness, possibly for the first time in our Nation’s history, the bankruptcy of a sovereign state.

I believe Illinois clings to the hope that their “native son” will not abandon them in their time of greatest need for government largess.  I can only hope that the newly minted Republican majority in the House has the resolve to say “no more”.   The potential and potent loss of social cohesion—“riots” for us common folk—can be a powerful political motivator.  Unfortunately there exists no more road to kick the can down, and I believe unrest is inevitable.  The question is not who will be affected, but how many.  I hope I am wrong, but you cannot violate the fundamental principles of finance for long without paying a price, and we have gone on far too long.

To those who have said that Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady lost the race because of his “pro-life” stance, l say “poppycock!”  I’m in full agreement with Tom Roeser and his four reasons, especially number four, “…if pro-abortion were all that potent an issue it didn’t take but pro-life did in many governorships where pro-lifers replaced pro-aborts up and down the map.”  Besides to those Republicans who seem to think we need to call a “truce on so-called social issues,” I have some news for you, the Democrats don’t see it that way.  So buck up boys and girls, the American kulturkampf is long from over.  And one final note, which seems semipedantical, but it’s our social beliefs that guide our economic actions, not the other way around.  Just a thought.

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