In the end, the battle for the Republican nomination will be between the favorite of the conservatives/Tea Party types and Mitt Romney. Who is the favorite? First it was Michele Bachmann. Then Rick Perry. Then it was Herman Cain. Now it appears to be Newt Gingrich. These are the candidates favored by Republicans who favor a restoration of more limited government, as opposed to merely window dressing and keeping the status quo as it is. Romney is the candidate of “don’t rock the boat.” Candidate X — Gingrich, at the moment — is the candidate of, “Rock that socialist boat, at least a little.”
It’s impossible to predict who will win. It’s probable that Romney will emerge the victor, more by default. Conservatives keep finding flaws with their favorites of the moment, and those flaws are real — even from a conservative or Tea Party point-of-view. Liberals and moderates ask, “How could a highly conservative candidate win?” But this isn’t the biggest concern of the conservatives. One of their kind could win this year, just like Ronald Reagan won in 1980, because the economy now (as then) is worsening and the man in office has nothing to offer but blame. Jimmy Carter, in 1980, said the country was in “malaise.” Barack Obama, in 2012, is saying that Americans are lazy.
Lazy? Now isn’t that ironic. Talk about the pot calling the kettle — oops, I don’t want to be guilty of racism here. But you get the idea. Obama is the poster child for the liberal welfare state. There cannot be enough wealth transfers, according to him and his kind. But these wealth transfers, in essence, pay people not to work. There are actually lots of people on welfare, or on Medicaid, who want to work. But government will take their benefits away the moment they do so. The built-in incentive of government programs is to keep people dependent on them. But this dependence is at odds with the things we would call the opposite of laziness: thrift, effort, thought and self-responsibility.
So the reason the economy is bad is that Americans are lazy. Yet Obama, the one calling us lazy, is also the one ensuring that more and more of us are practically forced to become that way, forever.
So the real concern for conservatives is not so much getting elected, as finding a candidate who’s actually in favor of limited government, or even conservatism as we’ve known it. Will Gingrich be it? Very likely not. But after the sorry performances of the previous “one hit” wonders, he might seem superior by comparison. We’ll just have to see.
Obama is right about one thing. The American people are the biggest problem. You can’t have liberty and security at the same time. But people insist on it. It’s surprising, because decades of “government security” has not made things more secure. On the contrary, the thriving capitalist economy of the 19th century turned into a boom-bust economy after the New Deal of the 1930s. Now, since 2008 or so, the economy seems to have turned into a total bust. If government guaranteed “security,” such as Medicare and Social Security, along with greater taxation and regulation, are supposed to be such great things — then why is everyone less secure, and getting more economically insecure all the time? Shouldn’t things have at least stayed frozen in place?
No answer is given because, you guessed it…the question is never asked. Asking the question is threatening. It implies that maybe we’ve been going in the wrong direction completely. That Bush, Obama, Clinton — they’ve all been socialists or liberals to one degree or another, and the accumulation of their policies has led us to practically being ruined. Isn’t there a complete course reversal that’s required?
Mitt Romney will not go there, and neither will Newt Gingrich. Nor will any of the others, other than in the context of meaningless generalities. When it comes time to specifics, nobody wants to hear anything other than … less Big Government, in theory, while simultaneously having more of the goodies of Big Government, in practice. “Am I against Big Government? You bet I am. But don’t you dare even TALK about touching my Medicare.”
If you ask me, this isn’t laziness so much as stupidity. Or a better word for it might be: Evasion. Evasion is like denial. America is in one big denial-fest, propped up, psychologically, by the false belief that economic regression “cannot happen here.”
Societies are like individual people. Some of them just have to learn the hard way.