October 5, 2009

As The Economy Goes, So Go The Democrats

As the economy goes, so go the fortunes of the Democrats, and of the President. Far be it from me to cheer against a recovery, the country needs to get back on the right footing as quickly as possible. But the double-edged sword of the recovery is that it will inevitably inflate the public's perception of the party in power.  Right now, that would be the Democrats.  Ironically, the Democrats acted as the Invisible Hand in the fermentation of this crisis.  The recovery however, could very well let them all be heralded as the saviors of the economic mess the country, indeed the world, is continuing to face. 

Many conservatives, be they espousing a third party, or like myself, decrying the need for unity under a non-liberal banner (at least for the time being), see the events of this past summer as heralding an awakening.  Sadly, it isn't so.  Yes, the conservative base has been mobilized.  Yes, independents have in significant numbers seen the false hope and empty promises and steep liberal bent they didn't believe would become reality under the new post-partisan President.  And it is not insignificant that there has never before been such a multitude of anti-liberal demonstration...EVER.  But it is not an awakening. 

There have been no hoards of people reading the Federalist Papers or even reviewing the Constitution.  There have not been backlashes of people concerned about an artificial expansion of the money supply.  There have not been, expectedly, any MSM television shows dedicated to questioning the policies of the White House.  It isn't an awakening.  It's more of a stirring.  Those who never would have wanted the government to be expanded and to become as intrusive as it seems to be becoming, have spoken.  They have become concerned that their fears may be justified.  But it is no paradigm shift, so much as a growing absence of apathy.  That may not be enough to stop health care or cap and trade, because it is not yet an unrelenting pressure.  The summer of our discontent is over.  The Democrats are doing the smart thing and lying low.

They have started to play the waiting game.  The economy seems to be moving in the right direction, if you accept the wisdom of the stock markets.  And if that wisdom bears out (pardon the pun), then the Democrats may not be poised for as great a set of losses as one might have expected a few short weeks ago.  Rasmussen and Gallup both have the President's approval ratings stabilizing.  Yes, it's in (or near) negative territory - barely.  A fat lot of good that does anyone right now.  If the economy improves, those approval numbers will start to pick up.  As they pick up, the Democrats will be re-emboldened into action.  Liberal action.

On the other hand, if the current recovery trajectory turns out to be a bear bounce or the ironically named "w" recovery, the Democrats current pause and Obama's current pause in the ratings decline, will be just that - a pause.

Does that mean that conservatives should cheer for a continued recession?  No.  If, as expected by many, the unemployment rate remains a lagging factor in the recovery, the electoral hit may be strong enough anyway.  And unlike the Democrats, the Republicans cannot afford to have their success become connected to national failure. Unlike when the Democrats did it, the mainstream media will not turn a blind eye to the fact.

The GOP has to take a, dare I say it, Reaganesque approach to the country's economic malaise.  They MUST, unequivocally, espouse a message of hope.  They must convey their faith in the power of the people to lift the economy by their own energies.  They must make clear that with freedom, with equality of opportunity, with a competitive environment, the economy will rebound with stunning strength.  The nation's economy is the most dynamic in the history of mankind.  It is not felled so easily as a trillion dollar spending boondoggle.  Yes, it was a body blow.  As would be cap and trade and a flawed national health care solution.  But Americans deserve better and America can do better.  The government can do better by stepping aside and letting "freedom reign".  That's a positive message, and the country can always use that message.

That the GOP failed to completely captialize on the discontent of the summer is no shock.  The same old tired dogs tried the same old tired moves or were too lazy or unknowing to capitalize on the stirring of the no longer silent majority.  Had their been a true awakening, the GOP would have known.  They would have been there in full force. Survival would have compelled it.

For those of you espousing a third party, don't miss this as your opportunity.  There is indeed energy in your conservatism. That energy is potent but it must be marshalled in a way that is most effective.  The primaries are an opportunity for real boldness.  If you are facing a Republocrat in your district, use that energy to unseat them in the primary battle.  Take the GOP back for conservatism, don't dilute your power by abandoning the principle of strength in numbers.  One half of an Obama term, with a supermajority will not destroy America.  One full term, or perish the thought, two, just might. 

Rush Limbaugh often argues that liberals do things thinking with their hearts, conservatives with their heads.  He's argued that liberals value the effort, conservatives the result.  He's right, and it applies equally here.  Too many conservatives are acting like spurned lovers by the GOP.  It may be true, but the unintended consequences of a third party are far more dire than another GOP resurgence that includes some bad seeds.  Now is not the time for conservatives, angry with the GOP for frequent stupidity to set on fire the bus they are currently riding on.  There's no other bus around right now.

Why all this focus on conservative voters in a post about the economy dictating the fate of the elections?  Because continued wheel spinning is just time wasting - the economy is poised to recover.  The timing of the recovery may just propel the Democrats to gains or at least standing their grounds.  The economic recovery may be a fragile thing.  It may, because of the money supply issue, lapse into a state of strong inflation.  But even if that's the case, there may be a brief period of levelling out that coincides with the electoral cycle.

What's my recommendation to conservatives?  Stop arguing over whether Romney or Palin or Pawlenty is the best pick for 2012.  Stop focusing on a third party for 2010.  There's mo time for that.  Find a candidate you can support and puch for them - very hard, from now through November 2010.  You may not feel confident in the GOP.  You may have worries about the recovery and it's impact on you and the election.  You can't count on any of that, and as a conservative, you shouldn't.  You should only worry about what you can control - you.  You can make a difference.  You need to make a difference.  So make a difference - and make it a meaningful one.

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