Skip to comments.The Winter of Conservative Discontent
Posted on 12/11/2012 6:16:54 AM PST by Kaslin
As the white flag rises above Republican redoubts, offering a surrender on taxes, the mind goes back to what seemed a worse time for conservatives: December 1964.
Barry Goldwater had suffered a defeat not seen since Alf Landon. Republicans held less than one-third of the House and Senate and only 17 governorships. The Warren Court was remaking America.
In the arts, academic and entertainment communities, and national press corps, conservatives were rarely seen or heard. It was Liberalism's Hour, with America awash in misty memories of Camelot and great expectations of the Great Society to come in 1965.
That year, however, saw escalation in Vietnam, campus protests, and civil disobedience against the war. That August, there exploded the worst race riot in memory in the Watts section of Los Angeles, with arson, looting, the beating of whites, and sniper attacks on cops and firemen.
A year after LBJ's triumph, black militants and white radicals were savaging the Liberal Establishment from the left, while Gov. George Wallace had come north in 1964 to win a third of the vote in the major Democratic primaries with an assault from the populist right.
Below the surface, the Democratic Party was disintegrating on ethnic, cultural and political lines. Law and order and Vietnam were the issues. Richard Nixon would see the opening and seize the opportunity to dismantle FDR's coalition and cobble together his New Majority.
Today, the GOP strength in the House, Senate and governorships is far greater than anything Republicans had in the 1960s. The difference is that, then, we could visualize a new majority of centrist Republicans, Goldwater conservatives, Northern Catholic ethnics and Southern Protestant Democrats.
And we could see the issues that might bring them into the tent: a new Supreme Court, law and order, peace with honor in Vietnam.
When the Liberal Establishment collapsed during the 1960s, unable to end the war in Vietnam or the war in the streets, national leadership passed to the party of Nixon and Ronald Reagan. From 1968 to 1988, the GOP won five of six presidential elections, two of them in 49-state landslides.
The crisis of the GOP today is demographic, cultural and political.
Demographically, people of color are nearing 40 percent of the U.S. population and 30 percent of the electorate. These folks -- 85 to 90 percent of all immigrants, legal and illegal -- are growing in number. And in 2012, people of color voted for Obama 4 to 1.
The GOP trump card -- we are the party of Reagan, who led us to victory in the Cold War -- ceased to work 20 years ago. Then, George H.W. Bush, a war hero who had presided over the fall of the Berlin Wall and dissolution of the Soviet Empire, the victor of Desert Storm, won 38 percent of the vote against a draft-evader named Bill Clinton.
Culturally, the causes of the 1960s' revolutions -- no-fault divorce, legalized drugs, "reproductive rights," teenage access to birth control, gay rights and gay marriage -- have either been embraced or become acceptable to most of America's young.
As a result of the sexual revolution promoted by the counterculture of the 1960s, the dominant culture today, 40 percent of all births in the United States are now to single moms.
With no husband, these women look to government to help feed, house, educate, medicate and provide income support for themselves and their children. For sustenance and the survival of their families, they depend on that same Big Government that Republicans denounce at their rallies.
As to the GOP's strongest appeal -- we are the party that will cut taxes -- half the country does not pay income taxes, and the GOP is about to surrender to Obama even on the tax front.
Republicans stand for bringing entitlements under control. But the primary beneficiaries of the big entitlements, Social Security and Medicare, are seniors, the party's most reliable voting bloc.
On foreign policy, the most visible Republican spokesmen are Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Both were unhappy with the withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan. Both want to intervene in Syria and Iran.
What does America want? To come home and do our nation-building here in the United States.
The bedrock values of Reagan -- work, family, faith -- still hold an appeal for tens of millions. But the faith of our fathers is dying, the family is crumbling, and work is less desirable when the social welfare state offers a cushioned existence for life.
Conservatives need to rediscover what they wish to conserve and how, in a climate every bit as hostile as 1964 -- then await the moment when the country turns again to an alternative.
As it will. For our economic course is unsustainable. And our regnant elite are more arrogant than the establishment of the 1960s, though less able to satisfy the clamors of their bawling constituencies for more and more from a country that is approaching an end of its tolerance and an inevitable crash.
Social Security and Medicare are not “entitlements”. We worked and PAID INTO THE SS SYSTEM and INCOME TAXES that paid SS and Medicare benefits for the millions of the grannies and grampas of those on FR who will skewer me for saying this. - Meantime, Al Gore (you know, “lockbox” Al Gore) and his “colleagues” in Congress basically confiscated what we paid in for all taxes and diverted the funds to buy welfare votes in order to build their “constituency”. - If we can’t get term limits, we’re sunk.
spot on Ryan
Unfortunately "going Gault" will not fix this. Those in DC in both Parties think the "status quo" will, it won't. The question is how to reassert adult leadership.
Yes, they will blame capitalism.
Yet when the government ‘controls’ food, medicine and every other means of production with the shortages that will surely follow, these same people will trade for what they need on the underground black market: free markets hiding under the governments nose.
These useful idiots will use capitalism and probably not even realize it.
I'm certain Buchanan well knows that the apt comparison to LBJ's 1964 landslide against Republican Goldwater, is Obama's 2008 landslide against Republican McCain, with similar results -- Johnson's Great Society and Obama's Nationalized Health Care.
We expected that 2012 would be another Nixon in 1968 or even (hope springs eternal), Reagan in 1980.
That these did not happen is a tribute first and foremost to Obama's media-enhanced political skills and Democrats' party discipline.
Anyone -- especially Buchanan -- who remembers those previous elections well knows that Republicans won then, at least in part, due to wide-spread Democrats' disloyalty to their party.
We expected that to happen, and it did happen again -- just not quite enough for Republican victory.
Indeed, just the opposite: while Romney received more votes than McCain in 2008, if Romney had received just as many votes as George Bush in 2004, he may have carried the election (I'm talking overall votes, not electoral state-by-state, which I don't know).
So the problem appears not only that Democrats were more loyal than expected, but also, Republican were less.
History does indeed tell us that 2014 could be a good year for Republicans, and 2016 even better.
But by then, how much of Obama's political agenda will be permanent features of America?
This is supposed to ne heartening, and it’s true we were in a deeper hole back when. New Dealers ran the country (into the ground) for 50 years prior to the Reagan “revolution.” Somehow, though, it makes me all the sadder. Just think, we claw our way out of the Old Liberal Order, win record landslides in national elections, free market economists actually win Nobel prizes of all things, the American people get to hear of such a thing as conservatism let alone take it seriously, and so forth. Where does it lead us? To thus. Here and now, and this is all we have to show for it.
What’s the point?
As always, conservatives have allowed liberals to co-opt the language. SS and Medicare ARE entitlements. Because we paid in, we are ENTITLED to reap the benefits. Those who have NOT paid in receive HAND-OUTS; they are not ENTITLED to anything.
Do you know what the word “entitlement” means? Your making an argument for wy you’re entitled to it, not why you aren’t.
Oh, and no, you did not pay into the system. There is no system. Your money is gone. For you to be paid now they have to redistribute someone else’s money. Al Gore did not confiscate anything. He spent your taxes just like they spent any other tax. If you thought it was like insurance, you are a sucker.
GOP tax policy has been corrupt for twenty years, or more.
The hypothesis of Howard Jarvis and David Stockman - that the size of government can be reduced by "starving the beast" - has been definitively falsified. The goal was never cutting taxes, per se. The target was the beast, which is now devouring us.
Taxes are the derivative of spending. High spending REQUIRES high taxes.
Most GOPers have now conceded the point, even going so far as favoring tax cuts "because that increases government revenues".
Increasing government revenues was never the point of cutting taxes. The point was both legal - taking money for unconstitutional functions is wrong - and moral - the money is ours, not the government's.
Having surrendered on both of these fundamentals, GOP tax "policy" is simply incoherent.
The Republicans, or whatever follows their liquidation, must choose. If they vote for >$3 trillion in "public" spending, then they must accept responsibility for >$3 trillion in revenues. If they vote for $2.2 trillion in revenues, then they must also vote for an immediate >$1 trillion cut in spending.
Since they will do neither, they have become irrelevant.
Paying in doesn’t entitle you to squat. Also, you didn’t pay in.
Hand-outs can be entitlements. Who says otherwise? If we live in a world where your fellowman has a moral claim on your productivity simply because wasn’t as productive as you, and we do, then he is “entitled” to your money. Anyway, it’s not about co-opting the language, really. Though the language does confuse people. They are called entitlements because the gubmint has promised to pay them out, and the law gas been put on cruise control to ensure it happens.
I guess what disheartens me the most is that Europe is way ahead of us on this road and they still haven’t come to their senses. Why should I believe/hope we will be any smarter?
Here’s the thing: the current state of fiscal affairs in the US is unsustainable. If we were funding the deficit through conventional means, the US Government probably would have gone bankrupt in 2008 or 2009. Instead, the Federal Reserve is funding the deficit with $$ created out of thin air. I am convinced there is no Plan B here, because that would involve sacrifice on someone’s part and out current generation of politicians is too cowardly to risk that.
It may take a while, but eventually this will blow up in everyone’s face. When that happens, there will be a great financial reset and a lot of pain & mayhem. It may make the Great Depression look tame. However, it will be obvious to everyone that the System has failed—that will be the next opportunity for political transformation.
Unfortunately, in the lead up to that, people will demand MORE Government help & intervention as the current System becomes increasingly unstable.
“it will be obvious to everyone that the System has failed”
Okay, but what system? Based on every other recession, depression, panic, crisis, etc. it’ll be blamed on the free market ans laissez fairer policy. Bank on it.
I remember accidentally tuning in to see the History channel explain the 08 meltdown; they were backtracking for perspective ans still (STILL!) blaming Andrew Mellon’s tax cuts for the Great Depression. They can’t be beaten.
“it will be obvious to everyone that the System has failed”
Okay, but what system? Based on every other recession, depression, panic, crisis, etc. it’ll be blamed on the free market and laissez faire policy. Bank on it.
I remember accidentally tuning in to see the History channel explain the 08 meltdown; they were backtracking for perspective and still (STILL!) blaming Andrew Mellon’s tax cuts for the Great Depression. They can’t be beaten.
“Please presume their is an objective that good men should be working towards.”
There is an objective, or severale, but I’m not sure anymore what is the point of working towards it.