Democrats are wondering how the pendulum could have swung so quickly in two years. The premise underlying this wonderment is wrong. They perceived a pendulum swing to the Left, only because they managed to run an election that hid from the voters the fact that they were electing an exceptionally left leaning government. As Rich Lowry says,
Just as Obama was taking office, public opinion was shifting to the right. In July of 2009, Gallup found that by a two-to-one margin people said they’d become more conservative in recent years. Gallup noted that “the results are conspicuously incongruous with the results of the 2008 elections.”
In that regard, Gallup’s remark about “incongruity” is just as wrong as the Democrat befuddlement now. You see, Americans never elected the liberal agenda, because it was never sold to them. What was sold to them was a beautiful black man who allegedly communicated well. They liked that. It was the feel good election, where they’d paint magical unicorns dancing across receding waters, all backed by delicately cloud-dappled skies.
The Dems and the media, working together, made damn sure that Americans had no idea what the actual Obama/Dem agenda entailed. Oh, the goals were good — universal harmony, Gan Eden nature, and the promise that all of our children would be above average — but, as with sausage, the voters never got a look see at the insides of these promises.
A few Cassandras, mostly bloggers, hollered out “Ayers,” “Wright,” “ACORN,” etc., but, in true Cassandra fashion, they were roundly and soundly ignored.
This time around, Americans have elected an agenda. I know it’s popular to say that the election was a repudiation of Democrats, but that’s too vague. It wasn’t a vote that said, “we have no idea what we don’t like, but we don’t like it.” (That would be the mirror image of the 2008 election, which had voters saying, “we have no idea what you’re selling, but we’re buying”). In this case, Republicans ran on an explicit anti-Obama platform. No dancing unicorns here. It was strictly along the lines of “We will repeal healthcare; we will strengthen our national security; we will bring federal spending under control; we will lower taxes.”
The Republicans said what they would do, and the electorate will expect them to do it. While people had no idea what they were voting for in 2008, they have a very good idea what they voted against in 2010. All of which is to say that the coming two years are not a time for compromise on the fundamental promises Republican candidates made to the American people. Bringing federal spending half under control is just as bad as not bringing it under control. Weakening the military only half as much as Bawny Fwank originally planned still means a military too weak to defend a nation under siege.
One thing I hope will make the Republicans’ task easier is that I think that, finally, Republicans will no longer be cowed by PC epithets. In the years leading up to this election, you could stop Republicans in their tracks by accusing them of engaging in legislation that would offend the victim group. With the true victims of Obama’s policies being all Americans, those disabling insults should be defanged forever.