It Meets Factory Specs
Michael Ubaldi, September 8, 2003.
Will Bush lose his base? Not a chance: most people gripe about decent circumstances while accepting, deep down, that no one can be everything to them - least of all a politician. Back in early 2000, I saw a rural woman on television who'd obviously replaced the John Davidson posters on her wall with John McCain campaign banners. "I really want McCain as president," she said, "so if he doesn't win the nomination I'll hold my nose and vote for Gore, then try again in 2004." She didn't look quite right, as it were, and I imagine that her ambition is rare on both sides of politics. Another quality we can attribute to "most people" is an aversion to betting their shirts on four years of the country's executive office run by the opposition party. When events don't turn your way, it's cathartic to work up a little scorched-earth, "If I can't love her, no one will!" speech, tweaking an imaginary handlebar moustache as you tie an effigy of your uncooperative public official to train tracks. Or threaten to stay home from the ballots, the electoral equivalent of a five-year-old refusing supper.
Lileks, of course, says it best:
What part of “Compassionate Conservatism” was unclear from the start? As for the tax cut, I’m extremely grateful for it, even though I plan to do nothing with it but bury it in the backyard. Can’t let it get out into the economy, you know. I’m glad I already bought a shovel. Take that, you shovel-merchants who want to drain my bulging coffers! Screw you! Anyway, look at the reaction to a big-spending, big-government Republican: horror, apoplexy, the endless litany of disasters both close and distant. The Administration makes a few peeps about allowing a certain segment of post-boomer workforce actually have some control over a wee portion of their Social Security money, and you’d think they’d demanded we strip Granny of her flesh and toss her in a vat of lemon juice.
Reagan raised a few taxes himself, mind you. Part of the trick to defending against the modern left's accusations of Draconian, Miserly VillainryTM is establishing most or all of them as lies. Look: square-jawed politics comes to me about as naturally as extracting oxygen from seawater, but I recognize that the country had a president named FDR who expanded government services and received a permanent halo around his head with a policy patent alongside it. At least two generations follow the same principles and none will likely let go. Mine, I suspect, doesn't subscribe, and the libertarian squeaks and whistles from those younger than me herald a true reversal in public spirit. Big government isn't a black hole. For now, we settle.