Republican legislators are slowly, slowly uncurling from their fetal positions after the re-election of Barack Obama. The shock is wearing off even though not one strong voice has yet emerged from Washington, D.C. to lead the millions of Americans who are also in shock.
These legislators, like almost half the country, simply could not believe (see: Karl Rove on Fox News on election night) that so many Americans would just ignore the facts defining our country under Barack Obama: the highest and longest lasting unemployment rate in 70 years, enough new debt to choke a horse and an American ambassador murdered on the anniversary of 9/11 at an all but undefended post in Benghazi.
Theories abound on the historic re-election of Mr. Obama. Was it the TV strategy? An outdated get-out-the-vote effort by Republicans? Was it the self-inflicted wounds of the candidate himself? Maybe it was Candy Crowley who forgot her non-aligned debate moderator role in favor of being candidate Obama’s validator on the key question of whether he misled the American people about Benghazi.
Not mentioned much (except in the leaked and excoriated Romney video) are the extraordinary levels of social welfare spending under Barack Obama’s administration. Free cells phones, redistributive tax policies, AFDC, exempted welfare/work rules, liberalized disability eligibility, historic food stamp levels and extended and extended again unemployment benefits, among others. Mr. Romney was vilified by Mr. Obama’s loving media for suggesting it, but it’s true—47% of the American public pay no income taxes and they get a lot of government goodies.
This is the Achilles Heel of any government built on democracy—the people can vote themselves spending out of the Treasury. In this case, Barack Obama and Senate Democrats have concluded that as long as they spend freely (even with borrowed money), votes will be bought. Combine that with effective class warfare arguments and a talent for deflecting responsibility for anything that goes wrong (like Solyndra, “Fast and Furious” guns to Mexican drug cartels and the Keystone Pipeline delayed for five years running), and candidate Obama found a winning, even if irresponsible, strategy. Think Tammany Hall.
After the election the fiscal cliff loomed almost immediately. As long as the Senate continued to be invisible on the federal budget the Republican House could be blamed for everything. That worked, too, so Republicans caved in on new taxes.
Now Republican leaders seem to be getting wise to Mr. Obama’s con-man slick public relations tactics. He will say anything to win his political goals and the shock that much of what he says is simply untrue, but believed, has begun to wear off. Susan Rice was denied Secretary of State. Chuck Hagel has rightly seen real resistance forming to his appointment as Secretary of Defense after a truly disastrous nomination hearing. As importantly, the House is not falling for Mr. Obama’s “end of the world” sequester scare tactics.
No, for the most part the mainstream media (who have abandoned any pretense of acting as a “watchdog” with this President) are not giving the President credit for the very idea of meat-axe sequesters. No, they avoid mentioning that the White House now insists on new taxes even though the fiscal cliff deal included an understanding that new taxes would not be sought by the White House to avoid the sequester. Despite the fact that Republicans, with the help of Mr. Obama’s media protectors, may take some blame they seem willing to hold the line on modestly cutting federal spending even if it lands harder than anyone would want on defense spending or other priorities.
It’s a start. This year will see the beginning of Obamacare’s implementation. Expect the shock of the reality of Obamacare to shift to those who supported it. Unions are already begging for more exceptions. Hours are being cut now at businesses; 14 million seniors will see the Medicare Advantage Program either become disastrously more expensive or collapse; and sooner rather than later at least seven million Americans will lose their employer-based healthcare coverage. Mr. Obama’s “signature issue” may, fittingly, be the very thing that wakes America up to the truth.