This column by ACRU General Counsel and Senior Fellow for the Carleson Center for Public Policy (CCPP) Peter Ferrara was published September 28, 2011 on The American Spectator website.
Barack Obama is on a far worse political trajectory than Jimmy Carter was. First, the Democrats lost Sen. Ted Kennedy’s seat to a Republican in ultraliberal Massachusetts who campaigned against Kennedy’s signature issue of national health insurance. Nothing that dramatic happened while Carter was President.
Then Democrats suffered historic, grievous losses in the 2010 midterm elections, with a New Deal size loss in the House of 63 seats, and a loss of 6 seats in the Senate. In Jimmy Carter’s 1978 midterms, Democrats lost only 15 seats in the House and 3 seats in the Senate.
Now in the recent special election in New York City, Democrats have begun to lose seats they haven’t lost since before the New Deal.
That is so fitting, because President Obama is not an anomaly in today’s Democrat party. Quite to the contrary, he represents the party’s heart and soul today, which is well to the Left now even of George McGovern in 1972. Witness the reelection of Far Left San Francisco Democrat Nancy Pelosi as House Democrat leader even after the historic voter repudiation of the Pelosi Democrat House majority in 2010. Witness the choice of Far Left screamer Debbie Wasserman Schultz as leader of the Democratic National Committee. Witness Obama EPA Chief Lisa Jackson, Obama Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, and the numerous similar, utterly clueless, ideologically rigid, far left appointees throughout the Obama Administration.
That is also so well deserved, because of what the Democrats are doing to our nation, even as their power starts to wane. Historically, for the American economy, the deeper the recession the stronger the recovery. Based on that historical record, we should be nearing the end of the second year of a booming recovery by now.
But almost four years after the last recession started, there still has been no real recovery. Unemployment is stuck over 9%, with unemployment among African-Americans, Hispanics, and teenagers at depression level double-digit rates for at least 2 years now. Real wages and incomes are falling, back to levels last seen over 30 years ago. Poverty is soaring to new records as well, with more Americans suffering in poverty than any time since the Census Bureau started keeping records over 50 years ago.
As a result, we are on track now for an historic conservative victory in 2012, far bigger even than in 1980.
The Do-Nothing Senate
In the Democrat majority-controlled Senate, 23 Democrat seats are subject to elections in 2012, with 6 of those open seats involving a retiring incumbent. Only 10 Republican seats are subject to election, with only two retirements from safe seats in Texas and Arizona. Let’s compare the record of this Democrat-controlled Senate with the record of what the Republican-controlled House has already accomplished this year.
The first act of the Republican House was to pass repeal of Obamacare, reducing future taxes and spending by trillions. The Senate has failed to act on this at all.
The Republican House passed the budget proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, which would cut federal spending by $6.2 trillion over the first 10 years alone, and permanently balances the budget soon after that, as scored by CBO. Government spending as a percent of GDP would ultimately be reduced by 40% from current levels.
The Democrat-controlled Senate has failed to pass any budget at all, as required by law, for the second consecutive year now. At least they had the good sense to vote down Obama’s proposed runaway budget, 97-0. But the failure to pass any budget leaves the government subject to possible shutdown this fall.
The Democrat Senate has also fought tooth and nail against every spending cut. They even threatened to shut down the entire government last week because the House Republicans funded emergency FEMA disaster relief spending with $1.5 billion in offsetting spending cuts, half of one thousandth of the entire federal budget. The cuts were to a Department of Energy corporate welfare loan program, like the program that just lost half a billion in taxpayer funds in the Solyndra bankruptcy scandal. Senate Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid said this microscopic spending cut to a program with no valid justification was “not an honest effort at compromise,” as quoted in USA Today on Monday. The shutdown was averted only because FEMA decided it didn’t need the emergency funding after all, meaning the Senate Democrats were successful in nullifying the negligible spending cut.
The House also passed a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which would eliminate the government’s power to run a deficit and increase the national debt. The Democrat-controlled Senate has failed to pass it.
To restore the creation of new jobs, the House passed the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act, which would stop the imposition of federal regulatory burdens on farmers and small businesses that would impede job creation. The Democrat-controlled Senate has failed to do anything to stop the runaway regulatory burdens of the Obama Administration, killing jobs and the economy.
The House has also passed the Energy Tax Prevention Act, prohibiting any federal agency from imposing a national energy tax, which would only further destroy jobs and shortcircuit economic recovery. But the Democrat-controlled Senate has failed to act on it.
To restore the production of American energy, creating new high paying jobs and producing increased federal revenues from the resulting increased economic growth, the House has passed the Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act, the Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act, the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act, and the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act. The House has also passed the North American-Made Energy Security Act, which would require the federal government to determine by a date certain whether to allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline bringing Canadian oil to America’s Gulf refineries. That would produce tens of thousands of new jobs and billions in increased federal revenues, but approval has been pending for the entire nearly 3 years of the Obama Administration.
But the Democrat-controlled Senate has failed to act on any of these bills either.
The House has also passed The Consumer Financial Protection and Soundness Improvement Act, which would restrict the new unelected Consumer Financial Protection Bureau adopted in Obama’s Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill from imposing any regulations that hurt job growth. Once again, no action from the Democrat-controlled Senate.
Obama, now campaigning for reelection non-stop around the country, is already trying to blame a Do-Nothing Congress for his failures. But the Republican-controlled House has already been quite active in passing legislation to address the nation’s problems. It is the Do-Nothing Democrat-controlled Senate that has failed to act on any of the House’s accomplishments or even pass a budget as required by law, effectively failing to show up for work.
It is the 23 Democrats whose seats are up for election this year, almost half of all Senate Democrats, that make this Senate record possible, fighting to the bitter end even the smallest budget cut. Make sure your friends, neighbors and relatives know that by the time the election rolls around next year. Make sure they don’t get fooled again by candidates claiming they are different, and not Obamanistas.
Keeping Faith with the Voters, to Their Political Risk
House Republicans, indeed, fought bravely and successfully in insisting this past summer on spending cuts equal to the debt limit increase, forcing some major spending cuts on President Obama and Senate Democrats. But the Republicans have suffered in the polls for doing so. How dare they demand such spending cuts instead of just routinely approving the debt increase as in the past?
But the House Republican majority was elected precisely to end business as usual in Washington in regard to spending, deficits and debt. What they did during the debt limit fight only kept faith with the voters that overwhelmingly elected them in 2010.
The Washington Post, however, reported on September 24, “Polls showed that voters were appalled by what they viewed as a naked display of political brinkmanship that risked destabilizing the U.S. economy.” GOP pollster Bill McInturff was cited as concluding that “Voters lost faith [during the debt limit fight] in the ability of both President Obama and Congressional Republicans to ‘make the right decisions about the economy.'” But McInturff said, “congressional Republicans had taken the bigger hit…with 81 percent of those surveyed saying they had little or no confidence in the judgment of the GOP.”
The Post also cited veteran political analyst Charlie Cook as saying over the debt limit fight that “if lawmakers continue down this path, the 2012 election could bring the biggest, broadest anti-incumbent year of postwar history, with voters indiscriminately tossing out lawmakers in both parties.” Cook is quoted as saying, “I don’t know what these guys think they’re doing, but it looks like they’re committing political suicide.”
Even some libertarians I know who have condemned Republicans in the past for failing to cut spending think they went too far in demanding spending cuts in the debt limit fight. Yet some Tea Party grassroots activists condemn House Republicans for too easily giving in without getting enough in spending cuts.
A Paul Revere Moment: America at Risk
This raises an important, fundamental question. Is the Right becoming too fractured to hold together to give Obama and the Democrats the beating in 2012 they have so richly earned? The decentralized Tea Party has so far been mostly brilliant in maintaining political effectiveness while not breaking apart the opposition to Obama. Libertarians have to recognize as well we are dealing with a new, mortal danger to the nation in the Obamanistas. Every patriot has to think through how to be most effective politically in reversing the Left’s so far soft authoritarian coup in Obama’s Democrat party.
House Speaker John Boehner and his House majority need to stop being so passive in taking the verbal broadsides of Obama and the Democrat-controlled media. They have one unexploited advantage. They each have home districts all across the country where they are all well known and have thorough access to the media. They need to pursue a more aggressive campaign mode media strategy in getting the word out now on their record and the issues to their local districts. They need to recognize Obama has started campaign 2012 now and start competing on the issues.
The voters have a responsibility too not to be so easily misled by the Democrat-controlled media, and to help spread the word locally to those who are not paying enough attention. This is a Paul Revere moment. America is fundamentally at risk. Patriots need to act now with effective, organizing political action to save the country from an ongoing Marxist takeover.
A crucial battle is going on right now in the Republican presidential race, which the conservatives are presently losing. Too many conservatives in the race are dividing up the conservative vote and leaving the lead to the more moderate. Republicans need to nominate an articulate leader who can take on Obama in debate, and who will make the most of the sweeping conservative victory in store, like Reagan did. We need to have more focus both on who is credible in taking on Obama, and who has the principled spirit and experienced effectiveness in making the most of the coming historic victory with New Deal-sized Republican Congressional majorities.
Grassroots patriots also need to take the battle to the enablers. Publicly challenge and hold accountable the Obama corporate cronies funding the Obama campaign in return for taxpayer funded payoffs. Locally challenge and hold accountable the brain dead Obamanista supporters who so fundamentally misunderstand the roots of American prosperity that they would vote for a Marxist takeover that would mean the decline and fall of America.
Most fundamentally, blame the entire Democrat party for Obama and what he is doing to America. Don’t let your friends, neighbors and relatives fall for shysters claiming that they are different from Obama and the other Democrats. If they are different, let them run as independents or Republicans, and be part of the solution rather than part of the gravely threatening problem.