While Democrats prepare for the winter of their discontent, Republicans are practicing their best end zone dance moves. As a student of history, I thought I might offer a Santayana-style caveat. Presuming November produces the electoral Waterloo the Democrats deserve, the GOP needs to remember the lessons of the past.
Let’s step into Mr. Livingston’s “Way Back” machine:
Led by an emergent Newt Gingrich, the Republican Party wrested control of Congress from the Democrat machine after 40 years of hegemony. Two years after a previously unknown governor from a previously politically unremarkable state wrested control of the White House after 12 years of Republican dominance, the GOP returned the favor.
Oh, what heady days for the right. Two years of Woodstock-in-the-White-House policies; and finally someone who wasn’t governing by acid flashback-induced hallucinations got a hand on the throttle — as opposed to a hand on a plump intern.
But the Republicans underestimated Bill Clinton’s resiliency. Unlike President Obama, Clinton wasn’t blinded by starry-eyed obedience to the teachings of Frank M. Davis, Saul Alinsky and John McKnight. Instead, Clinton was the consummate trial-lawyer/politician, interested only in winning. Following his party’s electoral stumble, Clinton and his advisors formulated a new plan: Co-opting Republican ideas and employing a supplicant media to give Clinton credit. Bolstered by sudden media interest in Clinton’s participation in the supposedly “centrist” Democrat Leadership Council, Clinton gambled on leaving his base support in the dust for “moderate” status (“moderate” in the liberal lexicon meaning: doesn’t wear old “Che” t-shirts while jogging). The Democrats traded “you wouldn’t spend it right,” and imposing taxes on imputed rental income (they actually tried it) for “I think I raised (your taxes) too much.”
The ploy – nicknamed “triangulation” by Clinton’s cronies – worked well, and two years after the Republican Revolution, Clinton squeezed through the Oval Office door — albeit without a majority of the vote against a moribund Bob Dole — for four more years.
4 years after the Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives, voters are again restless for a House Cleaning. Speaker Pelosi and her minions, voted into the majority with promises of “draining” the so-called “swamp,” have proved to be averse to their own word. Congressional corruption, tyrannical decrees and oblivious incompetence are the rules of the day. Working in concert with the hopelessly inept President Barack Obama, Democrats have forced fond memories of 1994.
Unemployment has skyrocketed into double-digits. Democrat responses to economic woes have involved disastrously harebrained schemes including propping up the union-ruined American auto industry, bailing out democrat-friendly Wall Street necktie pirates like Goldman Sachs, and protecting liberal sugar daddies through the passage of the DISCLOSE Act. However, before running back to their districts to try and save their jobs, they did manage to put a stop to one of the most fearsome threats to our national peace of mind: loud television commercials.
The stage is set for a 1994-kind of historic election day. And despite their increasingly shrill assaults on Tea Party conservatives and increasingly desperate exoneration — or willful ignorance – of their own fellow travelers’ failures, liberals are worried about a new threat: President Obama may lurch to the right “Clinton ’94” style.
On Saturday, one of the “diarists” riding the Dailykos.com intellectual short bus began shrieking:
“No matter what happens this November, we know what will be at least one aspect of the corporate media’s response: they will tell us that President Obama and the Democrats must move more to the center…”
He needn’t worry his 750cc cranium. Even if Obama wanted to emulate the Democrat-still-most-likely-to-grope-an-intern and “triangulate,” his math just isn’t good enough. Obama is a cult member, a wide-eyed aficionado of far-left Kool-Aid who’s been spoon fed by liberal sommeliers like Alinsky for decades.
They’re worried about the “corporate media” pushing Obama to the right? Which media might this be? I somehow doubt Obama is going to log onto Mr. Livingston’s Letter and suddenly realize the Reverend Wright has it wrong.
But there’s the rub. While the Democrats may not have to moonwalk backwards from an electoral Barbarossa come November, they’re going to feel the sting. And while Obama’s incompetence increasingly rivals former-worst-president-in-modern-history Jimmy Carter, I urge you to forget 1994, and consider 1980, and 2012.
In 1980, faced with the thunderous approach of Ronald Reagan, Carter barely survived an intramural coup. In 2012, the Democrats will certainly consider sending Obama to the ash heap for someone they consider a winner. And this time around, Reagan is a bittersweet memory for conservatives.
Santayana was right: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." A word to the wise should be sufficient.