Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Times They Are A Changing Back

Things aren’t going well for Obama’s economic policies, and people are starting to notice. In fact, things have gone so badly that a backlash has formed and a wholesale rejection of his policies is underway. But even more than that, there seems to be a serious attitude shift in the public.

How Bad Is The Obamaconomy?
After three years bankrupting the country with futile “stimulus” spending and give-aways to Obama’s supporters, our economy stinks. In fact, it’s the worst economy since the Great Depression. How bad is it? Theoretically, the recession ended in 2009 and the Obama recovery began at that point. Indeed, Team Obama twice now has heralded “the recovery summer.” And yet:
● Official unemployment remains at 9.1% in August.

● Unofficial unemployment remains around 17%.

● Official black unemployment remains at 16.7%.

● Median household income is down to $49,445, below 1996 levels. In other words, fifteen years of income growth are gone.

● Inflation is officially 3.2%, but it’s really closer to 12-15%.

● There are 46.2 million people living below the poverty line ($22,314 per family). This is a record since the statistic was first kept in 1959. The poverty rate of 15.1% is also a record.

● 13.7 million Americans receive unemployment.

● 16.3% of people still have no health insurance.

● Health insurance premiums are up 9% this year, following 2010’s rise of 14%. Thanks Barack!
About Face!
In 2008, when Obama came to power, the conventional wisdom assumed the public was ready to move left and accept more government control over their lives. But that didn't last. People now see the government as the problem. Indeed, not only has the public rejected Obama's agenda, but they've moved further right than ever. Consider these numbers from Gallup (which typically shades about 5% to the left):
● 57% of Americans say the federal government has too much power and only 8% think it needs more.

● 56% of Americans say the federal government “is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and business.” Only 39% believe the government should do more.

● 56% want lower taxes and fewer services and only 16% want more taxes and more services.

● 50% think the government regulates too much. 23% think it regulates about right and 23% want more regulation.
That means 60% of the public is ready to declare an end to the Pelosi/Obama Age of Big Government (Redux). But even beyond these numbers, something else has changed.

When Reagan came to power, there was a sense the government had gone too far. But there seemed little appetite for wholesale butchering of government functions and agencies. It was still a world of “the government should be smaller, but don’t cut any of it.” The left used this dualism for years to justify continued spending, by claiming that people don’t really want cuts because they can’t identify anything they are willing to give up. That’s changed. Suddenly, people want it all cut. Questions like “what agency would you wipe out,” are now common topics for discussion and were even asked by an MSM journalist at the last debate -- in the past, this would have been considered fringe stuff.

Also, Republican governors are slashing budgets, cutting taxes, demanding an end to regulation, and ending collective bargaining right, and House Republicans are in near revolt to make similar changes. . . yet this isn't hurting them with the public. In fact, many of their poll numbers are up (some Democratic pollster recently noted to their chagrin that the Democrats are doing even worse now than they did in 2010). Moreover, we just aren't seeing a popular backlash like we've seen in the past when sacred cows were touched. Where are the million old people who flooded the Capitol switchboard when Republicans first proposed changes to Social Security in the 1990s? They're silent. Instead, all we've seen is professional protestors, whose buffoonish efforts achieved nothing. Heck, this trend is so obvious that even Democrats are starting to adopt similar rhetoric, without the substance of course.

Obama wanted to be an historic President, and he has been in many ways: his deficits are historic, he lost our credit rating, he’s the least popular President ever, and he’s headed for an historic beat down landslide in 2012. But his most historic achievement may ultimately be that he brought to life a change in belief in the United States away from slowly expanding the welfare state to ending it. . . i.e. he may complete Reagan's legacy!

The only question now is will the public turn out in large enough numbers to overcome those with a vested interest in big government? Someone said the other day that this election will be between those who work for a living and those who vote for a living. Workers of the world unite! ;-)


AndrewPrice said...

As an update to yesterday's topic, Politico has an article about Maxine Waters and Cornel West and Tavis Smiley all attacking Obama for being nasty to blacks and how this is raising questions about whether Obama is "authentically black” enough to win their support.


Tennessee Jed said...

My sense is that the worm turns our way. That said, there are lots of people who DO have a vested interest in government, So far, many of them have not been invogorated. The media and incumbancy are powerful tools, so nothing is taken for granted.

My sense is this. We will take the white house and the senate, but without a 60% super majority. That will make it a bit more difficult to dismantle the Wilson/Roosevelt/Johnson/Obama legacy.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, That's the question. Will enough people turn out to defeat the people who have a vested interest in government? I think we'll get what you say -- the House, the Senate and the White House, but not the supermajority we need in the Senate. But if the Republicans can find away around that (e.g. reconciliation) then I think they can start changing the country and doing so without fear of being tossed out.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, the idea of Obama inadvertently completing the Reagan legacy is fantastic. The best thing I can think of is for the Democratic Party to last long enough to see everything it's worked for come undone. What a great spontaneous combustion that would be.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, The really ironic thing is that I honestly think people were ready to trust the democrats after Bush. He drove people left in response to his policies. And if the Democrats had been competent and been more careful about slowly rolling out their agenda, I think the Republicans would have been doomed for a generation or two.

But they way overreached. And then their policies blew up the world.

So now it seems the public has gone back to the right.... but it's not the same right as before. The old right was K street. The new right is closer to Ron Paul Boulevard and that's where the public seems to be heading.

Ed said...

T-Rav, Could you imagine the joy of being able to go to Obama or Pelosi or Reid in 10 years and ask, "how does it feel to be the spark that pushed the country full on toward Reaganism?"

Ed said...

Andrew, That's a good point that the right isn't the same right as before. I know a lot of right wing people and their views have definitely shifted in the past several years. They no longer see big business as a friend and they aren't afraid to talk about taking the government apart.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed & T-Rav, That would be hilarious. I would honestly send them a card every year thanking them for being such a horrible leaders that they drove the country in the opposite direction!

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I think there has been a change too. BUT let's also learn from the Democrats and be careful about how we package any reforms we make. We don't want to reopen the door for these people by getting diverted by things people really don't want and by being arrogant about it.

T-Rav said...

Ed, sounds nice, but I wouldn't expect too much. If you asked it to Obama, you'd have to stand there for 30 minutes while he tried to think of a reply without his teleprompter, and as for Pelosi and Reid, those two will have completed the degeneration into galvanized corpses by then, so don't expect any snappy comebacks there, either.

AndrewPrice said...

Sure T-Rav, ruin the fun.

I'm envisioning having to visit them at a home... for the criminally insane.

And at that point, I'm going to wish immortality on Pelosi. :)

DUQ said...

Those are some horrible numbers on our economy but some great numbers on the public's attitude.

The Media said...

We knew it!! You crazy racist wingnuts are wishing death on Obama and Democrats! We will take this to the air and completely destroy your movement, ensuring continued benevolent rule by our Savior, Barack Hussein Obama, mmm-mmm...oh wait. We're supposed to be impartial still, aren't we? Er, your comments are very interesting. Would you care to talk about them more?

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, It is amazing how bad the economy is. But it is heartwarming to see Americans respond in the right way!

AndrewPrice said...

Dear Media, You might not want to read more comments from conservatives. . . they will only confuse you.

As for wishing ill to Obama, not at all... we just want him gone. He can even keep the White House dishes on the way out. . .just so he goes.

The New Media said...

Don't worry about the Media, they'll be out of jobs soon. "The Media" will become "the Slurpee Jockey Squad."

AndrewPrice said...

Oh great, a sock puppet war!

The Media said...

Not if our Goon Squad has anything to say about it! You feeling tough, New Media? Just wait until we start filming these protests that genuine outraged Americans will spontaneously hold against you and your reactionary ways, just as soon as they get their directions in the mail. You have been warned.

CrispyRice said...

I don't know whether to laugh or cry, Andrew!

I totally agree that (assuming we do indeed get power again) we need to be very careful. And I can't honestly say I have a lot of faith in the Repub party for that, either.

ScyFyterry said...

Is your title a Bob Roberts reference?

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, I think laughing and crying is best.... it will all sort itself out.

Yeah, I don't know that I have a lot of faith in the Republicans handling this well either. My sad guess is that they will vigorously pursue something incredibly stupid and will let all the important stuff fester.

AndrewPrice said...

ScyFyTerry, It is indeed. That was one of Bob Robert's songs! :)

tryanmax said...

I made the same Dylan reference in a conversation over at FreedomTorch awhile back!

I think the Tea Party is a humongous part of this. Sometimes things have to be taken apart to show how they were put together. I think the Tea Party has done that to the whole two-party system.

Think about it, if all you heard your whole life is that Democrats are liberal and Republicans are conservative but you never really knew what that meant while at the same time seeing both parties build bigger and bigger government, what conclusion would you come to?

First of all, you'd stop thinking about the meaning of those words and regard them as synonyms. Then you'd probably figure that the difference was in the parts of the government each party builds. So you might figure that, since government keeps growing anyway, may as well vote for the party that at least pays lip-service to individual rights, helping the poor, ending war, and punishing evil corporations. (Because, let's face it, the Republican party has never been good at selling that message.)

So when the Tea Party identifies itself as more conservative than the Republican Party, those who identify as liberal automatically assume that means more of the stuff they don't like about Republicans. When in reality, the Tea Party probably represents the few parts of the Republican Party that liberals do like.

But here is the upshot, the Tea Party is effectively demonstrating what real conservatism is! So except for the most blindly stubborn, the demonstration is winning over many of those who thought they were Democrats, but are realizing that "Republican" and "conservative" are not the same thing.

tryanmax said...

BTW, please engage me on that last post, because I had more concept than words. So if I'm confusing anyone, I'd love to clarify.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: We have to be careful about being as radical right as the radical left. The problem isn't business, it's megacorporations with no loyalty to the United States but plenty to Obama and the Democrats. It isn't government that's the problem, it's big, overarching, bureaucratic, Constitution-be-damned government that's the problem.

If we start damning "big business" in tune with the left, we're going to end up with four more years of Obama. The Republicans have done a terrible job for decades of getting the American people to understand that what the left calls big business is almost entirely run by Democrats, for Democrats, and fits that new term I like so much--"crony socialism."

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's an excellent thought, though I'm not sure I agree with your ultimate conclusion. Let me give you my response in sections.

1. Your diagnosis of the problem of identifying conservatism and liberalism is excellent. The Republicans have largely been Democrat-lite for so long that most people probably assume that both conservatism and liberalism seek to increase government and are only arguing about which parts to increase.

2. The Tea Party represents a genuine conservatism -- the one to which Republicans pay lip service, but have never actually subscribed. I think that's right. That's why the establishment (left and right) is so horrified by the Tea Party. They see the Tea Party as something they don't understand because it actually seems to want to apply the rhetoric literally.

3. If I'm reading you right, then I agree that the birth of the Tea Party has given conservatives a place to go, which the Republicans really never managed. I would say this has the potential of drawing in that 20% of the population that identify with conservative values but don't describe themselves as conservatives.


AndrewPrice said...

5. That leaves the big conclusion... should liberals like the Tea Party?

On the one hand, it is very different from the Republicans. So the dynamic which has locked liberals and Republicans in a "death struggle" is not the same.

And since the Tea Party does not represent the things liberals hate about the Republicans, it would seem there is a reason liberals should be able to find common cause with conservatives.

BUT.... BUT.... that won't work because the Tea Party is a much greater threat to liberals than Republicans ever were.

Republicans merely wanted to divert new spending from liberal causes to Republican causes. Liberals would still get whatever they'd grabbed before, they just wouldn't get anything new. In effect, they would get no raises under Republican administrations.

But the Republicans never actually tried to take away what liberals were getting. That's what the Tea Party is doing. It wants to stop liberals from living off the government. That is an existential threat to liberal lifestyles.

So I think liberals will truly hate and fear the Tea Party more than they ever hated the Republicans.

Assuming I read your point correctly?

New Media said...

Bring it on journo-boy! Your goons will never find us. You people couldn't find a mountain with a map.

We control information. The future is ours.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. tryanmax, Feel free to disagree.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I agree. The Republicans/conservatives really need to be careful in how they act and how they explain why they are acting. Too often (read: always) they are very bad at explaining what they are trying to achieve and why. And that lets the Democrats best them over and over.

Of course, part of this is honestly that the Republicans have accepted some untenable things which they aren't willing to shed. One example is their incestuousness with Big Business because that's where they get their money. So they spend a lot of timing doing things they know they shouldn't be doing and lying about it.

This is what we need to drill into Republicans: It is time for a clean break from politics as usual. If you can't say what you believe proudly, then you shouldn't believe it. And if you don't believe it, then you shouldn't act according to it.

Now... what do you believe?

T-Rav said...

On the point tryanmax made, I think what has to be emphasized about the Tea Party is its full willingness to take on the GOP as well as Democrats on spending issues. I remember when the first events were held in the spring of '09, our Congresswoman, who has always been a mainstream conservative Republican and who I like a great deal and have worked for before, did not dare to show up at the local gathering or send any of her people except to observe. They were more than happy to throw flak her direction for voting for TARP and so on.

Point is, people need to realize this is more than just a wing of the GOP, which, despite all the punditry this summer over the debt deal and so on, I don't think has been fully realized.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, That's true. I think the association with the GOP rather than the Democratic Party is because the Tea Party people think they can take over the GOP, whereas they could not take over the Democrats. If they didn't think they could take over the GOP, I suspect they would have formed their own third party.

I also think the Tea Party is not interested in a lot of "traditional conservative" ideas. I think that's why Bachmann flamed out and why Santorum will never catch on with them despite claiming to be one of them -- because they were focused on religious conservative ideas rather than economic ideas.

From what I've seen with the Tea Party people, they care almost exclusively about economic issues right now and they see the rest as a distraction. I'm not saying they don't have views on the other stuff, but I think they don't consider that important right now. And Republicans who think the Tea Party is just another platform to push single issues are sorely mistaken.

StanH said...

Anecdote: I just returned from a short vacation on the beach, and spent 4 days with my incredibly liberal brother-n-law, he’s 62. He knew that I, and my wife, his sister, are conservative, and Tea Party members, so he tracked me down trying to convince me of the era of my ways, it didn’t work. It was like having a living Huffington Poster vomiting all over my morning coffee telling me what I believed. You know, we’re racist, we want old people to die, we don’t want any government (anarchy), we want a theocracy, and my personal favorite, the Koch Bros control the Tea Party and on and on you know the rattle. Before our stay was over I think he’s going to try and attend a Tea Party meeting and see for himself, he was amazed at how many things we actually agree on, some we’ll never come to terms. That’s what I believe trynmax was getting at, he just fell into a category democrat, Republican and he spewed a line, as opposed to seeing for himself. It was instructive for him, to talk to an actual son-of-bitch live and in person, and be certain I’m no wilting flower so he came to the “right” place.

Most of my wife’s family is conservative/libertarian, and we all swore we’d not talk politics with Billy, best laid plans huh.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, That's interesting. I have known for a long time that left and right actually have similar complaints -- they just want completely different solutions.

I wonder if you're going to be able to sway your brother-in-law over?

StanH said...

Well I don’t think I converted him into a conservative, but I did get him to question what he had heard about the Tea Party. And review the un-kept promises of Barry, which are many, even in liberal la-la land. He was a hippie in the ‘60s went to Woodstock and all that, so he’s been gone for a while, not drugs or anything, but politically.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I know what you mean. Some people have simply walked down that road so far that they can no longer see the truth staring them in the face. Still, I wish you luck! Every little bit of enlightenment helps! :)

tryanmax said...

Andrew, your point is well taken because I wasn't entirely clear which liberals I was referring to. I wasn't meaning the ones in political office or part of the Democrat Party machine, but the run-of-the-mill, everyday liberal. The one who thinks in simple terms such as "corporations = bad" and "conservative = pro-corporation."

The Tea Party upsets those simplistic equations and gives what you might call "convince-able" liberals cause for pause. I realize that the majority of liberals are so attached to their simple equations that they probably won't give them up, ever.

I'm mainly talking about the same 20 percent that you are, the people who don't want to be called "conservative" because of the negative stereotypes attached to the word (warmongering, bigoted, etc.) By no means do I mean to credit the Tea Party with more than has actually occurred.

tryanmax said...

In a way, the Tea Party is like the hippie movement. Not in the "tune in, turn on, drop out" sense, but in the sense that they (we) truly are the counter-culture. Maybe anti-hippie movement is more accurate, since our values are pretty much opposite hippie values and we are trying to take over the opposite party.

Stan seems to get what I was trying to express. Like I said, more concept than words. The Tea Party offers a launching point for conversation about real conservatism. It gives a reason for those who "could never vote Republican" to drop their guard, because you're not trying to convince someone to consider a Republican, you're asking them to consider the Tea Party.

I think the average person, even the average liberal, is able to understand that the Tea Party is not a wing of the Republican Party in spite of what the Legacy Media says.

AndrewPrice said...

Tea Party as counter-culture, very interesting thought!

Ok, I get you now and I do think you're right. I think we'll never get the group that lives off the government. They are beyond hope.

But in the wider swath of liberaldom, there seems to be a lot of discontent with how things have gone and much of that discontent sounds very similar to Tea Party concerns.

So I think you're right that this group should be reachable by the Tea Party since the Tea Party is offering a very different plan than Republicans have in the past, specifically a plan that doesn't include all the things that have angered liberals so much.

The true progressives won't listen because they want Marxism, but both populist liberals and conservative democrats should listen because the Tea Party message is right up their alley -- they just need to have their eyes opened so they stop listening to the MSM message.

This really is an interesting thought -- the chance to band together about 60% of the population from the right and left, against the 40% in the center who've had their way for decades now.


AndrewPrice said...

P.S. Legacy Media is a good term too -- it implies an end to their time.

DUQ said...

I like the idea of the Tea Party as counter culture a lot. It's got an interesting sense of irony since it's really the American culture fighting back.

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