View 749 Wednesday, November 07, 2012
The Morning After
I had actually thought that it would not be close: that Mr. Obama had made it clear that this was a key election which would have a real effect on coming policies. That, I thought, would be enough to galvanize those who understood it, and there would be far more who found it terrifying than who found it hopeful. We tried hope and change.
I was clearly wrong. Apparently a number of people did take Mr. Obama seriously, and found something threatening in that.
The odd part is that a majority of those voting believes that government is too large. I don’t know what that means.
Ben Stein’s commentary this morning is well worth your time: http://spectator.org/archives/2012/11/07/a-painful-night
California seems to have a majority of people challenged in both ethics and simple intelligence. The tax raise was sold on a ‘soak the rich’ ‘Robin Hood’ tax that would fall only on the rich, and was necessary because without it there would be these drastic cuts in schools. Of course the same budget spent more money than the tax would raise on raises in pensions and salaries for commissions and other additional needless spending: there was never an offer to vote to reject those and apply the money to the schools.
So. Rob the rich to pay for the schools and pay the pensions. That’s the ethical decision. And ignore the fact that the rich have the option of leaving the state, and many already have. More will. Meanwhile, most of the money the new ‘temporary’ taxes will be from increased sales taxes, and many of those will fall on those who thought they were soaking the rich. That’s the intelligence test.
The public employees and teacher unions turned out as expected. They understood the stakes.
The American people, narrowly, voted for Free Stuff. They won’t get much of it, and they’ll pay for it; but that’s for the future. Of course the new taxes will not generate the expected revenue.
Despair is a sin.
"Free stuff" and the election
I agree with the "Free Stuff" diagnosis, but am mystified by the attribution of it to Mr. Obama specifically, or Democrats generally.
The Democrats have made it plain that taxes need to be raised to pay for Stuff; the Republicans keep saying, "No, no, tax cuts will pay for everything." The strange thing is, this appears to rely on a repeal of supply and demand. Mr. Norquist keeps having Congresscritters toe his line about cutting government services to low, LOW discount prices, yet strangely he doesn’t appear to believe demand for those services won’t rise given the "ON SALE" banner the GOP keeps insisting on flying.
No, let’s face it… The great irony is, the Republican Party has fallen prey to the Iron Law. The goal of party internal cohesion and institutional groupthink has come to far outweigh such seemingly trivial concerns like governing responsibly, or winning elections.
The only difference between the Republicans and the Libertarians these days is one of scale — neither of them have real world concerns.
And voters have picked up on that. It’s a good chunk of why, as of now, the GOP has lost the popular vote in 5 of the past 6 presidential elections, and hasn’t run a ticket that’s won the popular vote on their first try since 1988.
Your own comments deriding Mr. Obama’s promotion of "hope and change" help paint the picture as well. The GOP has become all about fear, and promoting the idea of hopeless despair where nothing ever changes — at least, not for the better. Even if one is genuinely concerned about the future, it’s not the kind of vision to which people willingly devote blood, sweat, toil, tears, and votes. The contrast with the sunny optimism of Ronald Reagan couldn’t be more stark.
Even if one disagrees with him on policy, Mr. Obama has always recognized that optimism sells. Just as Mr. Reagan did. The substance may be different, but the more Reaganesque candidate in presentation won last night. And that too is ironic.
Hoping this finds you well,
An interesting observation. I think it rests on the wrong interpretation of Mr. Obama’s actions, but perhaps not. As to Republicans and the Republican Establishment having succumbed to the Iron Law, that has always been true. It happened in Congress during the Reagan Administration, which is why Newt Gingrich was so upsetting to them, making his speeches in the empty chambers and attacking the Democrats. He actually got along better with Clinton than George H W Bush – at least that’s my observation and I was there.
I invite comments on your other observations.
I will note that I wasn’t the only one who was fairly certain that Mr. Romney would win. The market clearly bet that way, which is why it has fallen so rapidly today.
And I just heard that neither Romney nor Obama ran ahead of legalization of marijuana where they were on the ballot. I do not have the details, but that sounds interesting.
I posted this on Monday night, perhaps under a premonition of how things would turn out:
The introduction to this post links back to a posting of the same poem (sans photos) four years earlier, which in turn links to your posting of the poem on your blog back in 2003 (http://www.jerrypournelle.com/archives2/archives2mail/mail269.html#copybook).
In any case, the photos underscore how painfully relevant and current the poem remains nearly a century later.
Bruce F. Webster
© 2012, jerrypournelle. All rights reserved.